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Br J Psychol. 2017 Aug;108(3):486-506. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12212. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Suspicion in the workplace: Organizational conspiracy theories and work-related outcomes.

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University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
University of Roehampton, London, UK.


Belief in conspiracy theories about societal events is widespread and has important consequences for political, health, and environmental behaviour. Little is known, however, about how conspiracy theorizing affects people's everyday working lives. In the present research, we predicted that belief in conspiracy theories about the workplace would be associated with increased turnover intentions. We further hypothesized that belief in these organizational conspiracy theories would predict decreased organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Finally, we hypothesized that these factors would mediate the relationship between organizational conspiracy theories and turnover intentions. In three studies (one correlational and two experiments, Ns = 209, 119, 202), we found support for these hypotheses. The current studies therefore demonstrate the potentially adverse consequences of conspiracy theorizing for the workplace. We argue that managers and employees should be careful not to dismiss conspiracy theorizing as harmless rumour or gossip.


conspiracy belief; conspiracy theories; job satisfaction; organizational commitment; organizational identification; organizational psychology; turnover intentions

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