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«UNDERSTANDING EMPLOYEES’ BEHAVIORAL REACTIONS TO AGGRESSION IN ORGANIZATIONS by MARIE S. MITCHELL B.S., George Mason University, 1993 M.A.H.R., ...»

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Example items are “Tried to convince the person to reassess the problem” and “Tried to reconcile with the person I was having trouble with.” Withdrawal. Withdrawal was assessed by adapting Rusbult, Farrell, Rogers, and Mainous’ (1988) Neglect measure. The 8-item measure asked respondents to indicate the frequency they engaged in withdrawal behaviors involving the tasks they perform for the job over the course of the past year (1=never, 2=once a year, 3=twice a year, 4=several times a year, 5=monthly, 6=weekly, 7=daily) (alpha=.88). Example items include “I lost motivation to do my assigned job duties well” and “I avoided tasks and assignments.” Controls. Because aggression promotes aggression (Berkowitz, 2001), it is important to control for non-supervisor sources of aggression. Therefore, I controlled for perceived coworker and customer aggression. Items from the reduced abusive supervision measure (Tepper, 2000) and Schat, Desmarais and Kelloway’s (2005) Workplace Aggression Questionnaire (WAQ) were used to assess perceived coworker and customer aggression. Relevant items were identified for each source, producing an 8-item measure of coworker aggression (alpha=.88) and an 8-item measure of customer aggression (alpha=.89). Both measures were pretested on a separate sample of 85 individuals called for jury duty. The average age of this sample was 40.9 (SD=12.64); the average company tenure was 7.9 years (SD=7.79). Approximately 54.8% were non-management, 58.8% were female, and 72.9% were white (16.5% were Hispanic, 4.7% were Black). The purpose of the pretest was to conduct an exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis on the adapted items. The results suggest the items of the measures fell on their representative constructs, and all measures held robust reliabilities. (See Appendix B for details of the pretest results.) Further, consistent with previous aggression research, other variables were used as controls. Age was controlled for because research suggests younger individuals are more likely to engage in aggression (e.g., Aquino & Douglas, 2003). Research also provides evidence that men hold more favorable attitudes toward retaliation than women (Stuckless & Goranson, 1992), and therefore gender was used as a control (0=female). Research also suggests an employee’s tenure with their organization influences reactions toward supervisors (Bauer & Green, 1996;

Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997). Thus, tenure with the organization was controlled for in years.

Lastly, research suggests that individuals are less than forthcoming about their own destructive behaviors (e.g., aggression). Therefore, social desirability in the responses was controlled for with the 18-item short version of the Pauhlus (1993) social desirability measure (alpha=.73).

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Measurement Model Results Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA), with maximum likelihood estimation, was conducted to examine the distinctness of the variables. The measurement model consisted of 12 factors: perceived supervisor aggression, fear of retaliation, supervisor aggressive modeling, coworker aggressive modeling, trait anger, need for social approval, retaliatory aggression, organization displaced aggression, coworker displaced aggression, customer displaced aggression, constructive problem-solving, and withdrawal. The results indicate the 12-factor model provided a good fit to the data (Χ2 = 9324.06; df = 4211, p.001); the fit indices were RMSEA =.06, NNFI =.92, and CFI =.93. RMSEA scores below.08 (Hu & Bentler, 1999) and NNFI and CFI scores above.90 (Bentler & Bonnett, 1990) indicate an acceptable fit. The 12factor model was compared to an 8-factor model (Χ2=10725.38, df=4249; RMSEA=.08;

NNFI=.91, CFI=.91) and to a 1-factor model (Χ2=17358.52, df=4277; RMSEA=.13; NNFI=.81, CFI=.82). The 8-factor model combined both types of aggressive modeling behaviors into one factor and all aggression dependent variables into one factor. The results suggest the 12-factor model produces a significant improvement in fit in the data than the 8-factor model (Χ2 difference = 1401.32, df=38, p.001) and 1-factor model (Χ2 difference = 8034.46, df=66, p.001), suggesting the measurement model is a better fit than the alternative models (Schumacker & Lomax, 1996).

Moderated Multiple Regression Results Moderated multiple regression was used to assess the hypotheses. Following the recommendation of Cohen, Cohen, West, and Aiken (2003), predictor variables were meancentered to reduce multicollinearity. Variance inflation factor (VIF) scores were assessed for the predictive variables; all were well below the 10.0 standard (Ryan, 1997), suggesting multicollinearity did not present a biasing problem.

Variable means, standard deviations, and correlations are reported in Table 1. Regression results are provided in Table 2. Plotted interactions are shown in Figures 2 through 14. For all interaction plots, values representing plus or minus one standard deviation from the mean were used to generate the plotted regression lines (Cohen et al., 2003). To provide a more detailed understanding of the interactions, t-tests of the simple slopes were conducted (Aiken & West, 1991). Unless otherwise noted, the t-test results reveal the slopes are significantly different from zero. Appendix C provides a summary of the results for all hypothesized relationships. The regression results are discussed in detail below.





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(.93).11 (.88)

-.11 -.11 ––

-.03 -.01.05 ––.07.08.42.02 ––.30.04 -.30.19 -.06 (.73).44.26 -.12.03.14.22 (.88).14.15 -.16.01 -.02.15.36 (.89)

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The Moderating Effects of Situational Factors Fear of retaliation. Hypotheses 1(a) and 1(b) predict similar moderation effects for fear of retaliation such that the positive relationships between perceived supervisor aggression and (H1a) displaced aggression (organization, coworker, and customer displaced aggression) and (H1b) withdrawal will be stronger when fear of retaliation is high than low. The fear of retaliation x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was significantly related to all forms of displaced aggression (organization, coworker and customer displaced aggression). Figures 2 through 4 illustrate the pattern of the interactions for the displaced aggression variables.

Figure 2 shows that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and organization displaced aggression was negative when fear of retaliation was high, such that as perceived supervisor aggression increased, organization displaced aggression decreased. In contrast, the relationship was not significant when fear of retaliation was low (t =.38, n.s.).

Figure 3 shows that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and coworker displaced aggression was also negative when fear of retaliation was high. However, for low fear of retaliation, the relationship was positive, as perceived supervisor aggression increased, coworker displaced aggression increased. Lastly, Figure 4 shows that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and customer displaced aggression was not significant when fear of retaliation was high (t = -.14, n.s.), but the relationship was positive when fear of retaliation was low. Overall, the patterns do not support the prediction that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and displaced aggression was stronger when fear of retaliation is high than low. Therefore, Hypothesis 1(a) is not supported.

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The results show the fear of retaliation x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was not significantly related to withdrawal. Therefore, Hypothesis 1(b) is not supported.

Hypotheses 1(c) and 1(d) predict similar moderation effects for fear of retaliation such that the positive relationships between perceived supervisor aggression and (H1c) retaliatory aggression and (H1d) constructive problem-solving will be stronger when fear of retaliation is low than high. The fear of retaliation x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was significantly related to retaliatory aggression. As predicted, Figure 5 shows that the positive relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and retaliatory aggression was stronger when fear of retaliation was low than high. Therefore, Hypothesis 1(c) is supported.

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The fear of retaliation x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was significantly related to constructive problem-solving. Figure 6 shows that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and constructive problem solving is positive when fear of retaliation is high. Thus, as perceived supervisor aggression increased, constructive problem-solving increased. Contrary to my predictions, the relationship was not significant when fear of retaliation was low (t =.75, n.s.). Therefore, Hypothesis 1(d) is not supported.

3.5

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Aggressive modeling. Hypothesis 2 predicts aggressive modeling will moderate the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and reactions. Two sources of aggressive modeling were assessed: supervisor aggressive modeling and coworker aggressive modeling.

The results in Table 2 show the interaction for supervisor aggressive modeling did not significantly moderate any of the hypothesized relationships. Therefore, Hypothesis 2 is not supported for supervisor aggressive modeling. Coworker aggressive modeling did influence the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and reactions.

Hypotheses 2(a) and 2(b) predict similar moderation effects for aggressive modeling such that the positive relationships between perceived supervisor aggression and (H2a) retaliatory aggression and (H2b) displaced aggression (organization, coworker, and customer displaced aggression) will be stronger when aggressive modeling is high than low. The results show the perceived supervisor aggression x coworker aggressive modeling interaction was significantly related to retaliatory aggression. As predicted, Figure 7 shows that the positive relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and retaliatory aggression was stronger when coworker aggressive modeling was high than low. Therefore, Hypothesis 2(a) is supported.

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The results show that the coworker aggressive modeling x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was significantly related to coworker displaced aggression, but not to organization or customer displaced aggression. As predicted, Figure 8 shows that the positive relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and coworker displaced aggression was stronger when coworker aggressive modeling is high than low. When coworker aggressive modeling was high, the relationship was positive such that as perceived supervisor aggression increased, coworker displaced aggression also increased. In contrast, when coworker aggression modeling was low, the relationship was negative; as perceived supervisor aggression increased, coworker displaced aggression decreased. Therefore, the results provide support for Hypothesis 2(b).

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Hypotheses 2(c) and 2(d) predict similar moderation effects for aggressive modeling such that the positive between perceived supervisor aggression and (H2c) constructive problemsolving and (H2d) withdrawal will be stronger when aggressive modeling is low than high. The results show that the perceived supervisor aggression x coworker aggressive modeling interaction was significantly related to constructive problems-solving. As predicted, Figure 9 shows that the positive relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and constructive problem-solving is stronger when coworker aggressive modeling is low than high. For high coworker aggressive modeling, the relationship was not significant (t =.39, n.s.), such that as perceived supervisor aggression increased, constructive problem-solving maintained relatively high levels. For low coworker aggressive modeling, the relationship is positive such that as perceived supervisor aggression increased, constructive problem-solving increased to similar levels of that of high coworker aggressive modeling. Therefore, Hypothesis 2(c) is supported.

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The results show the coworker aggressive modeling x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was not significantly related to withdrawal. Therefore, Hypothesis 2(d) is not supported.

Absolute hierarchical status. Hypotheses 3(a) predicts absolute hierarchical status will moderate the positive relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and constructive problem-solving such that the relationship will be stronger when absolute hierarchical status is high than low. However, the results in Table 2 show the absolute hierarchical status x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was not significant on constructive problem-solving.

Therefore, Hypotheses 3(a) is not supported.

Hypotheses 3(b), 3(c), and 3(d) predict similar moderation effects for absolute hierarchical status such that the positive relationships between perceived supervisor aggression and (H3b) retaliatory aggression, (H3c) displaced aggression (organization, coworker, and customer displaced aggression) and (H3d) withdrawal will be stronger when absolute hierarchical status is low than high. The results show the absolute hierarchical status x perceived supervisor aggression interaction was not significant on retaliatory aggression or withdrawal.

Therefore, Hypotheses 3(b) and 3(d) are not supported.

For displaced aggression, the perceived supervisor aggression x absolute hierarchical status interaction was significantly related to organization and customer displaced aggression, but not to coworker displaced aggression. Contrary to my predictions, Figure 10 shows that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and organization displaced aggression was positive when absolute hierarchical status was high, and the relationship was negative when absolute hierarchical status was low. Similarly, the pattern of the slopes in Figure 11 show that the relationship between perceived supervisor aggression and customer displaced aggression was also positive when absolute hierarchical status is high, but that the relationship was not significant when absolute hierarchical status was low (t = -.47, n.s.). Therefore, Hypothesis 3(c) is not supported.

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