Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (6): 829-840.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00829
WANG Duanxu; ZENG Kai; ZHENG Xianwei
Organizational behavior researchers have paid close attention to employee’s unethical behaviors and suggest that the third parties’ reactions will determine the follow-up development of these misconducts to a large extent. Coworkers’ tolerance will probably lead to the spread of unethical behavior, while coworkers’ punishment can effectively prevent the recurrence of such behavior. Drawing from deontic model of justice, this study proposed that coworker’s deontic injustice mediated the relationship between employee’s unethical behavior and employee’s victimization, and ethical leadership moderated the impact of employee’s unethical behavior on coworker’s deontic injustice while task interdependence moderated the influence of coworker’s deontic injustice on employee’s victimization. In order to test these hypotheses, data for the current study were collected from 265 employees through questionnaires from a large manufacturing company located in Zhejiang Province of China. All the questionnaires were distributed in envelopes and answered by respondents themselves, to further ensure the reliability and validity, back translation procedure was used. We conducted two-wave surveys with one month interval to minimize the common method bias (CMB). Employee’s unethical behavior, ethical leadership and task interdependence were gathered at the first wave; coworker’s deontic injustice and employees’ victimization were collected at the second wave; demographic information served as control variables. Finally, 265 valid and paired samples were obtained. The main hypotheses were tested by hierarchical regression and, the bootstrap method was also used to examine the moderated mediation model. The results showed that: (1) employee’s unethical behavior positively related to employee’s victimization; (2) coworker’s deontic injustice mediated the relationship between employee’s unethical behavior and employee’s victimization; (3) ethical leadership moderated the relationship between employee’s unethical behavior and coworker’s deontic injustice; (4) task interdependence moderated the relationship between coworker’s deontic injustice and employee’s victimization. The results of this study further confirmed the moderated mediation hypotheses of ethical leadership and task interdependence, that was, the mediating effects would be exacerbated by ethical leadership, yet mitigated by task interdependence. Moreover, a joint moderated mediation model of ethical leadership and task interdependence have also been proved by the results of this study. Therefore, based on the deontic model of justice, this study explained why and when employee’s unethical behavior leads to employee’s victimization. Overall, this study contributes to the organizational behavior literature in several ways. First, we complement the deficiency of the linkage between employee’s unethical behavior and employee’s victimization by introducing the deontic model of justice. Second, we integrate the research of rational judgments and deontic model of justice by emphasizing that the process of deontic response includes not only deontic judgments but also rational judgments. Third, we provide support for the argument of the positive role of task interdependence in workplace aggression by demonstrating the buffer effect of task interdependence in this study. Finally, we bring a new perspective for the study of aggression behavior by emphasizing the dynamic conversion among the attacker, the victim and the third party.
WANG Duanxu, ZENG Kai, ZHENG Xianwei. (2017). How employee’s unethical behavior leads to coworker-initiated aggression: The perspective of deontic justice. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 49(6), 829-840.
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