Making nice or faking nice? Exploring supervisors’ two-faced response to their past abusive behavior

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

10 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Shawn T. McClean
  • Stephen H. Courtright
  • Junhyok Yim
  • Troy A. Smith

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-719
Number of pages27
Journal / PublicationPersonnel Psychology
Volume74
Issue number4
Online published24 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Although extant research has shown that abusive supervision is a destructive and immoral form of leader behavior, theory provides conflicting perspectives on how supervisors respond to their own abusive behavior. We therefore draw upon and integrate moral cleansing theory and impression management and construction theory to explore whether and when supervisors engage in genuine reparations or impression management following episodes of abusive behavior. Results taken from a 3-week, experience sampling study of supervisors suggest support for the impression management path; following episodes of abusive behavior, supervisors higher on symbolized moral identity become more concerned with their image, and thus engage in increased ingratiation, self-promotion, and exemplification toward their subordinates. In contrast, we found no support for the genuine, moral cleansing path. This study thus extends knowledge regarding supervisors’ responses to their own abusive behavior, challenging the existing notion that such responses are genuine and focused on addressing the moral implications of the behavior.

Research Area(s)

  • abusive supervision, impression management, moral cleansing, mutilevel

Bibliographic Note

Month information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

Making nice or faking nice? Exploring supervisors’ two-faced response to their past abusive behavior. / McClean, Shawn T.; Courtright, Stephen H.; Yim, Junhyok et al.
In: Personnel Psychology, Vol. 74, No. 4, 11.2021, p. 693-719.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review