Document Type



In this paper, we argue that the conflicting theoretical views regarding the role that self-esteem plays in the decision to become aggressive can be explained by the particular research methodology used. Specifically, we examine how individuals respond to a perceived abusive supervisor in two settings: 1) using scenarios and 2) in a field study. Results indicate that individuals with high self-esteem are more likely to become aggressive in response to an abusive supervisor in settings where they are asked what they would do (using scenarios). However, in field research settings, where they are asked what they did do, individuals with low self-esteem were more likely to become aggressive in response to an abusive supervisor.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Burton, J.P., Hoobler, J.M., & Kernan, M.C. (2011). When research setting is important: The influence of subordinate self-esteem on reactions to abusive supervision. Organization Management Journal, 8: 139-150.


Department of Management

Legacy Department

Department of Management





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