Leadership & People
Research insight
May 13, 2021

No more Mr. Nice Guy: social value orientation and abusive supervision

Abstract:

Purpose: The present research examined the interactive effect of subordinates' and their supervisors' social value orientations (SVO) on abusive supervision and its consequence for in-role performance. Design/methodology/approach: In study 1, we provided a survey to 420 subordinates and 115 supervisors from 42 organizations. HLM was used to test the hypothesized cross-level moderated mediation model. In study 2, 78 participants were asked to imagine they were a supervisor and responded to a potential scenario where supervisor and subordinate prosocial and proself orientations toward the organization were manipulated (2 × 2 design). Findings: Study 1 showed that when supervisors have a higher prosocial motivation, subordinates who are more self-interested (proself) report more abuse than those with a higher prosocial motivation, with negative consequences for in-role performance. Study 2 replicated the pattern: participants (in the role as supervisor) with induced prosocial goals rated abusive supervision behaviors as more justified and acceptable toward a proself employee than they did toward a prosocial employee. Originality/value: This research is innovative by bridging SVO and organizational literatures and demonstrating that a dyadic interaction between a proself subordinate and a prosocial supervisor may produce a reactive perpetrator – provocative victim relationship characterized by higher abusive supervision.


Authors: Gökhan Karagonlar, Pedro Neves


You can find the research article here.

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