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Episodes of incivility between subordinates and supervisors: Examining the role of self-control and time with an interaction-record diary study

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Meier Laurenz L., Gross Sven,
Project Examining the Effect of Well-being on Work Stressors
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Organizational Behavior
Volume (Issue) 36
Page(s) 1096 - 1113
Title of proceedings Journal of Organizational Behavior
DOI 10.1002/job.2013

Abstract

Scholars have hypothesized that experiencing incivility not only negatively affects well-being, but may even trigger further antisocial behavior. Previous research, however, has focused mainly on the relation between incivility and well-being. Thus, little is known about the behavioral consequences of incivility. With this in mind, we conducted an interaction-record diary study to examine whether supervisor incivility causes retaliatory incivility against the supervisor. Using the self-control strength model as a framework, we further examined whether the target’s trait (trait self-control) and state (exhaustion) self-regulatory capacities moderate this effect. In addition, we examined the role of time by testing the duration of the effect. When we analyzed the full data set, we found no support for our hypotheses. However, using a subset of the data in which the subsequent interaction happened on the same day as the prior interaction, our results showed that experiencing incivility predicted incivility in the subsequent interaction, but only when the time lag between the two interactions was short. Furthermore, in line with the assumption that self-regulatory capacities are required to restrain a target from retaliatory responses, the effect was stronger when individuals were exhausted. In contrast to our assumption, trait self-control had no effect on instigated incivility.
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