A comprehensive study on the impact of abusive supervision on employees' OCBs: testing the mediating role of group identification and the moderating roles of power distance and conflict with supervisors

  • Tung Tony Lee

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    In the field of leadership research, the constructive aspects of leadership, such as transformational, authentic, and ethical leadership, have been the predominant areas of focus. Nonetheless, the destructive aspects are gaining attention, with the subject of abusive supervision (AS) receiving more emphasis than toxic, aversive, and tyrannical types of leadership. AS is still in its infancy in terms of its theoretical development and efforts to understand the consequences AS has for working behaviors and how individual cultural dimensions might influence a leader-follower relationship within a work group. Furthermore, most relevant studies have been conducted in the Western context. In this study, conducted in a Chinese cultural context, I investigate the effects of AS on group identity (GI), defined by the group members' value congruency and sense of belonging. I explore their associated organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), defined by discretionary behaviors beyond the scope of any work contract. OCBs, in the aggregate, reinforce an organization's effectiveness. I further test the moderating effect of the power distance (PD) between AS and GI and approach conflict with supervisors (CWS) in terms of the roles and goals during rounds of conflict, testing the hypothesis that CWS exerts an influence on GI and OCBs. The results from 337 direct reports and 61 of their respective supervisors confirm that AS and GI have a negative causal relationship, and low PD strengthens that relationship. The findings also suggest that GI plays no role in mitigating the relationship between AS and OCBs, and high PD does not facilitate adapting to the hostile behavior of supervisors. This study's theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and future research areas are outlined.

    Date of Award11 Mar 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorLiqun WEI (Supervisor)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Leadership
    • Industrial management

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