Anger for good? Unethical‐behavior‐targeted leader anger expression and its consequences on team outcomes

Shimin Zhang, Shenjiang Mo, Wu Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Although leader anger expression targeted at employees' unethical behavior is pervasive in the workplace, we still know little about its theoretical meaning and consequences. To address this theoretical blind spot, we drew on fairness heuristic theory to investigate whether, how, and when unethical-behavior-targeted (UB-targeted) leader anger expression affects team outcomes. Our findings from two time-lagged field studies suggest that a punishment-based distributive justice climate mediates the positive effects of UB-targeted leader anger expression on team organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and team viability. Moreover, leader moral decoupling weakens these indirect relationships. Specifically, the indirect relationships are weaker when the leader separated judgments of performance from those of ethics. These findings highlight the importance of a fairness perspective in understanding the consequences of leader anger expression targeted at unethical behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-80
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • leader anger expression
  • moral decoupling
  • punishment-based distributive justice climate
  • team OCB
  • team viability

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