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J Soc Psychol. 2013 Jan-Feb;153(1):38-50.

An investigation of abusive supervision, vicarious abusive supervision, and their joint impacts.

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  • 1Indiana University Southeast, Department of Management, 4201 Grant Line Rd., New Albany, IN 47150, USA.


Recent work has begun to look at the impact of abusive supervision, a dysfunctional workplace behavior, on employee outcomes. This study extends this line of research by examining vicarious abusive supervision (abuse not directly experienced, but rumors about it or hearing about it, that is "experienced vicariously"). In particular, this research effort investigates whether vicarious abuse has effects above and beyond those accounted for by personally experienced abusive supervision on the outcomes of job frustration, coworker abuse, and perceived organizational support. Our sample is composed of 233 workers from a large variety of organizations. Results reveal that both personally experienced and vicarious abuse have negative impacts and these effects are heightened when both forms of abusive supervision are present. Practical and theoretical implications, as well as directions for future research, are offered.

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