Behavioral Outcomes of Interpersonal Aggression at Work: A Mediated and Moderated Model

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Interpersonal aggression at work is abundant, yet despite the importance of this topic for employees' well being, systematic research on aggression in organizational settings is only beginning to accumulate, and research on outcomes experienced by targets of aggression is limited. The purpose of this dissertation was to extend the workplace aggression literature by proposing and testing a more comprehensive model of behavioral outcomes associated with interpersonal aggression i.e., counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs), organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), job search behaviors, and work-family conflict. Furthermore, I examined two cognitive and emotional mediators of the relationship between experiencing interpersonal aggression and behavioral outcomes (i.e., interpersonal justice and negative affect at work), as well as several moderators including job characteristics (i.e., job autonomy, job mobility), target characteristics (i.e., dispositional hostility, neuroticism), and perpetrator characteristics (i.e., perpetrator status). The hypotheses were tested through established survey measures administered to a representative sample of 728 working adults who were diverse with regard to their jobs, occupations, and industries among other factors. The results revealed that the frequency of interpersonal aggression experiences was significantly related to enacting high levels of CWBs aimed at both the organization and at other individuals, and also related to high levels of job search behaviors. Interpersonal aggression experiences were also associated with perceptions of interpersonal injustice and negative affect at work, but there was no evidence for these psychological processes mediating interpersonal aggression's relationships with the behavioral outcomes. The results also revealed moderation effects for job autonomy, job mobility, dispositional hostility and neuroticism, yet moderated SEM results failed to provide evidence for differential relationships in the model based upon whether the perpetrator of the aggression was one's supervisor or a coworker. Implications for research and theory, future directions, and implications for organizations are provided.