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    Coping with perceived abusive supervision in the workplace: the role of paranoia

    Lopes, B. and Kamau, Caroline and Jaspal, R. (2018) Coping with perceived abusive supervision in the workplace: the role of paranoia. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies 26 (7), ISSN 1548-0518.

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    Two studies (a cross-sectional survey of 90 UK workers and an experiment with 100 UK workers) examined the cognitive and behavioral effects of abusive supervision. Both studies confirmed the hypothesis that workers who experience abusive supervision show paranoia and this makes them more prone to a type of cognitive error called the “sinister attribution error”. This is where workers misattribute innocent workplace events such as tripping over something or hearing colleagues laughing to malevolent motives such as wanting to harm or mock them. Study 1 also showed that abusive supervision is associated with lower wellbeing. Perceived organizational support buffers these effects, and this is associated with workers making less sinister attribution errors, thereby protecting wellbeing. Study 2 explored the role of contextual cues by exposing workers to images of abusive supervision. This increased their paranoia and contributed to workers making sinister attribution errors when they were asked to interpret workplace events. Moreover, depending on the types of contextual cues, workers were more likely to express intentions of workplace deviance after thinking about past experiences of abusive supervision. We recommend that corporate ethical responsibilities include training managers and workers about the negative cognitive and mental health effects of abusive supervision.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Abusive managers, Abusive supervision, Aggression, Cognition and work, Contextual cues, Employee wellbeing, Leadership, Occupational health, Management, Paranoia, Perceived organizational support, Psychopathology and work, Psychosis, Sinister attribution error, Toxic workplaces, Wellbeing, Workplace deviance, Workplace mental health
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Medical Humanities, Centre for
    Depositing User: Dr. Caroline Kamau-Mitchell
    Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 12:59
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:43


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