Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Finkelstein, Lisa M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Abusive supervision is a widely-studied phenomenon experienced by a multitude of workers across organizations. While abusive supervision is typically studied in terms of negative outcomes (i.e., supervisor-directed retaliation), there is some preliminary evidence that not all consequences of abusive supervision are negative. While there have been several studies exploring employee reactions to abusive supervision, they predominantly take a cross-sectional design perspective. The current study utilized 102 full-time employees from the U.S. who responded to 932 daily surveys assessing personality, workplace behaviors, and justice perceptions. The current study explored how perceptions of abusive supervision changed on a day-to-day basis and how those changes in turn impacted employee reactions, including potential positive outcomes that could stem from abusive supervision (e.g., supervisor-directed OCBs). The current study yielded several results. First, results related to actual employee behaviors demonstrated that abusive supervision was related to a decrease in justice perceptions and OCB engagement and an increase in retaliation. However, these effects did not carry forward to the following days. Rather, employees who retaliated more often reported more abusive supervision, potentially as a justification for their behavior. Second, results related to perceptions demonstrated that justice perceptions led to less abusive supervision and more OCBs during the following days. Hostile attribution bias interacted with perceptions of abuse and perceptions of interactional justice to increase employee retaliation. Third, results related to personality demonstrated that Machiavellianism did not interact with abuse or justice to predict retaliation. Psychopathy interacted with abuse to predict reduced retaliation in cases of low abuse. Narcissism and everyday sadism interacted with justice perceptions to predict more retaliation when the situation was deemed unfair. Lastly, none of the individual differences predicted engagement in supervisor-directed OCBs.


142 pages




Northern Illinois University

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