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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reducing the harmful influence of workplace aggression : an integrative review, a meta-analysis, and an empirical study Zhong, Rui


Workplace aggression is a prevalent and costly issue in the organization. As such, it is imperative to find ways to reduce the harmful influence of experienced workplace aggression on target employees. This dissertation comprises three studies that aim to address this issue. The first study is a narrative review that summarizes existing research on moderators of the harmful effects of workplace aggression on employees. This study identifies five broad perspectives in existing research: resource-depletion, social-relational, appraisal, self-regulation, and social-influence perspectives. This study also summarizes previous findings organized around three categories of individual moderators—trait-based, intrapersonal, and coping-based—and three categories of contextual moderators—collective, interpersonal, and job-based. The second study is a cross-cultural meta-analytic investigation of mediating mechanisms linking workplace aggression to job performance, including social exchange, justice, emotional, stress, and self-evaluation mechanisms. This study reveals the incremental effects of each mediating mechanism over and above other mechanisms, compares their effects in mediating the impact of workplace aggression on each performance outcome, and examines their cross-cultural differences. The third study shifts the focus to reducing the harm of workplace aggression at the team level by examining how leader-targeted negative team gossip—as a critical social coping behavior—buffers the detrimental team consequences of abusive supervision climate. Findings from a field study of 111 work teams show that leader-targeted negative team gossip weakens 1) the indirect negative relationship between abusive supervision climate and team performance through team aggressive behavior and 2) the indirect positive relationship between abusive supervision climate and team voluntary turnover through team affective trust. Together, this dissertation offers integrative and novel insights into reducing the harmful influence of workplace aggression.

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