Holding Abusive Managers in Contempt: Why and When Experienced Abusive Supervision Motivates Enacted Interpersonal Justice Toward Subordinates

Su Ying Pan, Katrina Jia Lin, Daniel J. McAllister, Ying Xia

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Whereas past research on the trickle-down diffusion of abusive supervision has demonstrated that abused supervisors often translate the abuse that they experience from their managers downward to their followers, we examine the active involvement of abused supervisors through leading in a more principled and positive manner. Adopting the sociofunctional perspective on emotions, we propose that supervisors who feel contempt for their abusers and are morally attentive will be motivated to morally differentiate themselves from perpetrators by treating their subordinates with greater, rather than less, interpersonal justice. Four studies, including two survey-based studies and two scenario-based experiments, based on data collected in China and the United Kingdom show consistent evidence supporting the overall moderated mediation model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-361
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume192
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Abusive supervision
  • Contempt
  • Interpersonal justice toward subordinates
  • Moral attentiveness
  • Moral differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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