Boss, look at me: how and when supervisor’s phubbing behavior affects employees’ supervisor identification

Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Khurram Shahzad*, Ifzal Ahmad, Jos BARTELS

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The psychosocial consequences of smartphone usage in public are widespread and well documented in personal relationships. However, this line of inquiry has recently gained momentum in the context of work relationships. This study examines the relationship between a supervisor’s phubbing behavior (using a smartphone while interacting with subordinates) and subordinates’ supervisor identification with the mediating role of subordinates’ psychological distress while testing the moderating role of subordinates’ self-control. Using structured questionnaires, time-lagged data were collected in three waves from frontline bank workers (n = 283), who work directly under their supervisors and require frequent interactions with them. The results indicate that supervisor phubbing reduces subordinates’ identification with the supervisor both directly and indirectly through psychological distress. Moreover, subordinates’ high self-control weakens the negative relationship between supervisor phubbing and subordinates’ supervisor identification. Implications for organizational executives and future research directions for scholars also are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31064–31078
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number35
Early online date15 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Psychological distress
  • Self-control
  • Subordinates’ supervisor identification
  • Supervisor phubbing


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