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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1993/4732

Title: Observing aggression at work
Authors: Reich, Tara C.
Supervisor: Hershcovis, M. Sandy (Business Administration)
Examining Committee: Turner, Nick (Business Administration) Manchanda, Raj (Marketing) Leboe, Jason (Psychology) Cortina, Lilia (University of Michigan)
Graduation Date: October 2011
Keywords: Workplace
Aggression
Issue Date: 27-Jun-2011
Abstract: Although an estimated 57% of aggression in the workplace occurs in the presence of others (Glomb, 2002), researchers have yet to consider how observers’ attitudes and behaviours towards targets and perpetrators may be influenced. To address this gap, I draw on theories of priming (Bargh, 2006), relationships (i.e., power and liking), and perspective-taking (e.g., Batson, 1991; Davis, 1983; Parker, Atkins, & Axtell, 2008), to examine how observer attitudes and behaviours toward targets and perpetrators are affected by witnessed aggression. In Study 1, I use a lab-based experimental design, and find that observers develop more negative attitudes towards perpetrators than both non-perpetrators (between conditions) and targets (within condition), and engage in more deviance toward both targets and perpetrators of aggression (as compared to non-targets and non-perpetrators). In Study 2, using an email vignette design, I find that observers’ liking of and power relative to the target and the perpetrator influence observer reactions, as observers are more likely to report positive attitudes and behavioural intentions toward a liked actor than a disliked actor, regardless of whether the actor was the target or the perpetrator of the aggression. In addition, observers report more positive attitudes toward a high power actor than a low powered actor. In Studies 3 and 4, using a video-vignette and an event-based diary design, respectively, I find that observer attitudes and behavioural intentions are also influenced by observer perspective-taking. Specifically, observers who take the perspective of the target perceive the aggression as less justified and thus report more negative attitudes toward the perpetrator (Studies 3 and 4), more positive attitudes toward the target (significant in Study 4 only), fewer helping intentions toward the perpetrator (Study 3), and fewer deviant intentions toward both the target and the perpetrator (Study 3). In contrast, observers who take the perspective of the perpetrator perceive the aggression as more justified, and thus report more positive attitudes toward the perpetrator (Studies 3 and 4), more negative attitudes toward the target (significant in Study 4 only), greater helping intentions toward the perpetrator (Study 3), and greater deviant intentions toward both the target and the perpetrator (Study 3).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1993/4732
Appears in Collection(s):FGS - Electronic Theses & Dissertations (Public)

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