Author: Ho, Ching Chi
Title: Coworker undermining in a team : how does the proportion of perpetrators influence target coping responses?
Advisors: Lam, Wing (MM)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Interpersonal conflict
Interpersonal relations
Work environment
Employee motivation
Department: Department of Management and Marketing
Pages: 120 pages
Language: English
Abstract: Coworker undermining can involve multiple perpetrators in a team. While extant literature on social undermining has examined how the frequency of undermining behaviors experienced by the individual target influences distal outcomes, it overlooked the effect of the varied proportions of perpetrating and non-perpetrating coworkers that exist in a team context. Drawing on attributional theories of emotion and motivation, I proposed that the proportion of undermining ties (i.e., coworkers who undermine the same target) in the team influences the target behavioral responses toward the undermining via two negative emotions-anger and shame. I then predicted that individual job performance moderates the effect of the proportion of undermining coworkers on anger and shame respectively. I also hypothesized that emotion regulation moderates the second-stage relationships between anger and two behavioral outcomes (i.e., revenge and direct communication). The theoretical model was tested with a sample of 117 employees in 35 work teams from nine organizations based in Hong Kong. Overall, results showed that the proportion of undermining coworkers was positively associated with revenge via anger, and with social withdrawal via shame. Emotion regulation moderated the mediated relationship between the proportion of undermining coworkers and direct communication via anger; the relationship was significantly positive only when emotion regulation was high, but not when the capability was low. Individual job performance did not moderate any of the mediated relationships between the proportion of undermining coworkers and the three respective behavior outcomes (i.e., revenge, direct communication, and social withdrawal). Implications for research and practices were discussed. I concluded the thesis by identifying the limitations of this study and suggestions for future research.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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