ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 145-155.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00145

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A multiple model of abusive supervision based on moral exclusion theory: The role of organizational justice

YAN Yu; ZHANG Zhenjia   

  1. (Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
  • Received:2016-02-23 Online:2017-01-15 Published:2017-01-15
  • Contact: YAN Yu, E-mail:


In recent years, abusive supervision has received increasing attention from organizational behavior researchers. However, previous studies have primarily focused on how abusive supervision negatively affects individuals and the underlying mechanism, with few examining this topic on the organizational level. Based on moral exclusion theory, we illustrated the effect of abusive supervision on organizational justice, and established a conceptual multilevel model explaining the effect of abusive supervision on employees through organizational justice. In addition, we discussed the effects of abusive supervision at both individual and organizational levels, as well as the cross-level effects. Our discussion also integrated leaders’, targets’, and bystanders’ angles. We suggest that future studies explore the role of culture in abusive supervision research, investigate the role of other organizational justice dimensions on the effects of abusive supervision, and improve existing research methods. Further, we encourage researchers to explore positive coping strategies against abusive supervision, and to examine the motives for leaders to engage in abusive supervision.

Key words: abusive supervision, moral exclusion theory, organizational justice, multi-level, multi-perspective