Preventing and Addressing Negative Behaviors in the Workplace

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Organizational Behaviors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 4976

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
Interests: psychosocial risks in workplaces; self-control and personality traits; workplace bullying

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Guest Editor
Department of Work and Organisation Studies, KU Leuven, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Interests: workplace bullying and harassment; psychosocial well-being; digital well-being

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Guest Editor
Social Psychology Department, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: workplace bullying and harassment; positive organizational psychology; occupational health and well-being

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue addresses the prevention and addressing of negative behaviors in the workplace. In the current professional environment, workplace dynamics involve a multidimensional interplay of individual personalities, interpersonal relationships and organizational structures. Regrettably, within this context, intentional or not, a wide range of troubling and widespread negative behaviors often exist, adversely impacting the well-being of individuals and organizations. These behaviors can have significant financial impacts on organizations (and society) and cause detrimental well-being outcomes for employees. These behaviors include theft, engaging in non-work-related online activities such as shopping or entertainment, causing damage to company property, wasting organizational resources, engaging in voluntary absenteeism (such as arriving late, leaving early, or being absent without a valid reason) and engaging in presenteeism (working at a reduced capacity or a slow pace). Additionally, incivility, aggression, workplace bullying, cyberbullying and sexual harassment can harm fellow employees. The detrimental effects of alcohol and drug misuse on people extend to the overall performance of organizations.

The COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant impact on work environments. Certain sectors have experienced varying degrees of impact, notably the many technology, finance, professional services (including consulting, legal, and accounting), education, media, marketing and advertising companies shifting to a permanent remote or hybrid work practice incorporating flexible working arrangements. Employers were required to accommodate autonomy, minimize micromanagement, embrace flexibility and advocate employee well-being. However, these changes may have also presented a difficulty in effectively addressing and intervening in negative behaviors. As a result of the shift toward remote employment, organizations may now have increased challenges in identifying negative behaviors or securing corroborating evidence from bystanders, as the reduced physical cohabitation limits opportunities for observation and support.

Therefore, this Special Issue seeks to explore the evolving strategies for preventing, detecting and intervening in negative acts, drawing upon evidence-based approaches and theoretical models. All types of original research articles (quantitative, qualitative or mixed method), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and interventions (i.e., primary, secondary and tertiary) in preventing and addressing all types of negative behaviors, especially from the perspective of the perpetrators of the acts, are welcome. We invite contributions from all disciplines, from academics and practitioners that possess a robust methodological foundation and can advance the field in terms of interventions to achieve a workplace environment characterized by compassion, empathy and inclusivity.

Potential authors are kindly asked to send titles and abstracts to Gülüm Özer (gulum.ozer@kcl.ac.uk).

Dr. Gülüm Özer
Prof. Dr. Elfi Baillien
Prof. Dr. Jordi Escartín
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • negative acts
  • perpetrators
  • intervention
  • prevention
  • counterproductive workplace behavior
  • incivility
  • aggression
  • workplace bullying
  • cyberbullying
  • alcohol and drug misuse

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 567 KiB  
Article
Negative Acts in the Courtroom: Characteristics, Distribution, and Frequency among a National Cohort of Danish Prosecutors
by Amanda Ryssel Hovman, Jesper Pihl-Thingvad, Ask Elklit, Kirsten Kaya Roessler and Maria Louison Vang
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14040332 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 896
Abstract
Danish prosecutors report exposure to negative acts from professional counterparts in courtrooms, which is associated with an increased risk of burnout. However, knowledge of the characteristics of these acts is limited. Based on existing theoretical frameworks, this study aims to characterize these negative [...] Read more.
Danish prosecutors report exposure to negative acts from professional counterparts in courtrooms, which is associated with an increased risk of burnout. However, knowledge of the characteristics of these acts is limited. Based on existing theoretical frameworks, this study aims to characterize these negative acts. A nation-wide survey of Danish prosecutors (response rate: 81%) yielded 687 descriptions of experiences with negative acts from professional counterparts from a career perspective. These were analyzed using theory-directed content analysis based on the Stress-as-Offense-to-Self (SOS) theory by Semmer and colleagues and Cortina and colleagues’ characterization of incivility in American courtrooms. We identified a total of 15 types of behavior within the three main themes: illegitimate tasks (n = 22), illegitimate stressors (n = 68), and illegitimate behavior (n = 612). Tentative differences in the distribution of experienced negative acts from a career perspective were found for gender and seniority. Women reported negative acts more frequently than men, and assistant prosecutors reported verbal abuse more frequently than senior prosecutors, who, conversely, more often reported a perceived lack of court management. More prospective research is needed on negative acts experienced by prosecutors to assess the scope of these in Danish courtrooms and how they impact the risk of burnout. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preventing and Addressing Negative Behaviors in the Workplace)
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27 pages, 1334 KiB  
Article
Construed Organizational Ethical Climate and Whistleblowing Behavior: The Moderated Mediation Effect of Person–Organization Value Congruence and Ethical Leader Behavior
by Han Cai, Lingfeng Zhu and Xiu Jin
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14040293 - 1 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1008
Abstract
An organizational ethical climate enhances the degree of collaboration and cohesion among employees and facilitates the development and interests of organizations. Such roles lead to organizational sustainable development and survival. Therefore, the importance of ethical climate in organizations is becoming increasingly apparent. In [...] Read more.
An organizational ethical climate enhances the degree of collaboration and cohesion among employees and facilitates the development and interests of organizations. Such roles lead to organizational sustainable development and survival. Therefore, the importance of ethical climate in organizations is becoming increasingly apparent. In this background, this study aims to explore whether an organizational ethical climate can improve whistleblowing behavior and the mediating role of organizational identification in promoting whistleblowing behavior. Most previous studies have only focused on the mediating or moderating role of the model. This study expands the research field, adds the dual moderation of person–organization value congruence and leader ethical behavior, and verifies two moderated mediation models. Overall, the purpose of this study is to determine the behavior of employees under the influence of an organizational ethical climate and, on this basis, propose suggestions for strengthening organizational ethical climate, expanding the scope of research on organizational climate and providing a theoretical basis for related research. In order to achieve the research goals, the data were collected from 344 Chinese SMEs for empirical analysis. The results showed that an organizational ethical climate has no direct impact on whistleblowing behavior but could have a positive effect on whistleblowing formation through the mediating variable of organizational identification. In addition, person–organization value congruence and leader ethical behavior significantly moderated the mediating role of organizational identification between organizational ethical climate and whistleblowing behavior. Finally, the directions that can contribute to future research were suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preventing and Addressing Negative Behaviors in the Workplace)
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22 pages, 689 KiB  
Article
Reducing Employees’ Time Theft through Leader’s Developmental Feedback: The Serial Multiple Mediating Effects of Perceived Insider Status and Work Passion
by Zhen Wang, Qing Wang and Daojuan Wang
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14040269 - 24 Mar 2024
Viewed by 894
Abstract
Time theft, especially with the shift to remote work during the pandemic, is an increasing challenge for organizations. Existing studies demonstrate that both authoritarian leadership and laissez-faire leadership can exacerbate time theft, putting leaders in a behavioral dilemma of neither being strict nor [...] Read more.
Time theft, especially with the shift to remote work during the pandemic, is an increasing challenge for organizations. Existing studies demonstrate that both authoritarian leadership and laissez-faire leadership can exacerbate time theft, putting leaders in a behavioral dilemma of neither being strict nor lenient. Additionally, the pervasive and covert nature of time theft diminishes the effectiveness of subsequent corrective actions. Our study aims to investigate how to prevent time theft by mitigating employees’ inclinations. Based on role theory, our study examines whether supervisor developmental feedback can encourage employees to perform work roles more appropriately. To uncover the complicated internalization process of role expectation, our study incorporates perceived insider status and work passion as serial mediators and considers the boundary effect of leaders’ word–deed consistency. In Study 1, a survey of 402 employees revealed that supervisor developmental feedback can negatively predict employee time theft through employees’ perceived insider status and work passion. Study 2 employs the same sample to further identify three topics of supervisor developmental feedback: skill learning, attitude learning, and social learning. Moreover, serial multiple mediating effects are affirmed across topics. The findings suggest that providing feedback on employees’ learning and growth is an effective approach to prevent time theft. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preventing and Addressing Negative Behaviors in the Workplace)
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19 pages, 935 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Interplay of Competition and Justice: A Moderated Mediation Model of Competitive Psychological Climate, Workplace Envy, Interpersonal Citizenship Behavior, and Organizational Justice
by Sevcan Yıldız, Engin Üngüren, Ömer Akgün Tekin and Engin Derman
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14010005 (registering DOI) - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1354
Abstract
The competitive psychological environment that arises within an organization is widely recognized as a crucial factor impacting employee performance and, indirectly, overall business productivity. Nonetheless, mishandling this environment can result in unforeseen challenges. Thus, a moderated mediation model was employed in this study [...] Read more.
The competitive psychological environment that arises within an organization is widely recognized as a crucial factor impacting employee performance and, indirectly, overall business productivity. Nonetheless, mishandling this environment can result in unforeseen challenges. Thus, a moderated mediation model was employed in this study to ascertain the adverse effects of competitive psychological climate and how to mitigate said effects. Data were collected via a survey of 523 employees of four- and five-star accommodation establishments in Alanya and Manavgat using convenience sampling. This study revealed that a competitive work environment leads to increased workplace envy, which adversely affects interpersonal citizenship behavior. Additionally, it was discovered that workplace envy mediates the effects of competitive climate on interpersonal citizenship behavior. The negative impact of competitive psychological climate on workplace envy and interpersonal citizenship behavior is mitigated by organizational justice. This study’s results offer significant contributions to both theoretical and practical understandings of the potential effects of competitive psychological climate and how to handle them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preventing and Addressing Negative Behaviors in the Workplace)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: An integrative framework of co-workers’ reactions to interpersonal workplace mistreatment
Authors: Caroline Bastiaensen; Elfi Baillien; Lieven Brebels
Affiliation: Work and Organization Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium
Abstract: Interpersonal workplace mistreatment (IWM) is a flourishing research domain which, during the last decades, has increasingly looked at co-workers’ responses to witnessing such acts (Reich et al., 2021). Co-workers can de-escalate the mistreating process which attracted scientific interest in exploring co-worker interventions that help to halt mistreatment in the workplace. Despite the growth of studies on this matter, we claim that there are two main hindrances that challenge us in creating sufficient leverage to truly understand co-workers’ responses to IWM and, thus, reach effective interventions. First, studies on this matter are scattered across different literature streams (e.g., rudeness, bullying, physical aggression…) with limited cross-fertilization. As there is no evidence that co-workers so clearly distinguish between these types as researchers do, the fragmentation obstructs the thorough and cohesive progression of knowledge. Despite the differences in how IWM types are conceptualised, for the purpose of our contribution, we focus on how co-workers make decisions within their work context rather than on how they may react differently to different types of IWM. Second, empirical studies have mostly delved into isolated components (i.e., variables of interest) within a co-worker's decision-making processes in the context of mistreatment, often neglecting the broader picture. Consequently, the field predominantly centers on behavioral reactions and their impact on the mistreatment situation, while overlooking the co-worker's perspective within the larger framework leading to the manifestation of their behaviour. Due to the fragmentation, both within research silos as within the understanding of co-worker’s decision-making processes, there is a need for integration. To realise this, we conduct a review study that integrates the known elements affecting co-workers’ behavioural responses using the broad IWM literature as input. We thereby want to contribute to the development of more programmatic theory across these research streams (Cronin et al., 2021). The literature will be screened on empirical evidence concerning personal and contextual factors that influence co-workers’ decision making processes regarding their responses when witnessing IWM. More importantly, this review will also go more in depth regarding the process of decision making. Knowing not only what influences decisions, but also how these decisions are made is essential to develop interventions that can alter these decisions: if we want to change co-workers’ behavioural responses to witnessing IWM, we first need to know how and why these decisions are made (Weber, Ames, & Blais, 2004). We will thus identify the various components in the decision-making process that have been found by earlier research, and apply a decision-making lens to shed light on the bigger picture in an integrative framework. This framework will show the complexity of co-worker’s decision-making and may guide further research to increase insight in the decision-making processes of co-workers regarding their initial behavioural response when witnessing IWM, creating a solid base for the development of co-worker intervention programs.

Title: Imbalance between employees and the organizational context: A catalyst for workplace bullying victimization and perpetration
Authors: Gülüm Özer; Jordi Escartín
Affiliation: Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, London SE5 8AF, UK; Department of Social Psychology and Quantitative Psychology, University of Barcelona,08035 Barcelona, Spain
Abstract: This study, guided by the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model and the Three Way model of Workplace Bullying, aims to explore the effects of perceived (im)balances in task or employee focus, social atmosphere (positive or negative), and hierarchical structure (high or low) in organizations on the incidence of workplace bullying, both in terms of perpetration (WBP) and victimization (WBV). The research involved 1044 employees from multiple Spanish organizations and sectors: 51.7% in services, 24.6% in education, 14.5% in wholesale and retail trade, and 9.2% in manufacturing. The average age of participants was 35.43 years (SD = 10.9), with a female majority of 61.3%. Using a cross-sectional study design, the experiences of bullying perpetration and victimization were quantitatively assessed through validated perpetration and victimization scales. Additionally, the study qualitatively examined employees' perceptions of their organizational context through free descriptions, using adjectives to depict their views. Multiple Correspondence Analysis and regression analysis were employed to test the hypotheses, and the results affirmed them. The study found that perceived imbalances in organizational focus, social atmosphere, and hierarchy correlate with higher levels of bullying perpetration and victimization. This research underscores the significance of balanced organizational contexts in mitigating workplace bullying. It highlights a gap in the current literature regarding the broader organizational factors that influence bullying and advocates for a more in-depth understanding of these dynamics. Furthermore, it contributes to the existing body of knowledge by offering a comprehensive and harmonized approach for preventing workplace bullying, transcending isolated interventions. Keywords: Workplace bullying victimisation, workplace bullying perpetration, Job Demands-Resources Model, Three Way Model, Multiple Correspondence Analysis, quantitative and qualitative analysis

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