Peer abusive supervision and in role performance

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Leadership and managerial supervision are probably the most widely researched areas in business. Corporate leadership is one of the major research areas of business and social studies. Most leadership-based research focuses on the behavior of the leaders (Bakker, 2012). These researches also discuss and analyze the supervisory styles of corporate and global leaders that make leadership successful. Transformational leadership, ethical leadership, and authentic leadership are a few areas of research and exploration. Most studies analyzing leaders’ leadership behaviors and attributes revolve around these leadership domains. All of the leaders mentioned above domains are of constructive leadership. Constructive leadership is the kind of leadership that results in the positive performance of the organization (Ashley O’Donoghue, 2016). This type of leadership drives an organization to success and enhances the performance and efficiency of an organization. There are some negative aspects of leadership as well.

Destructive leadership is a domain that deals with the negative sides of leadership and the negative behavior of leaders from the employees within the organization. Many researchers have paid attention to destructive leadership in the last few years. Several studies have been undertaken to understand and learn about the negative impacts of leadership (Harris, 2007). A few types of research address the problems related to the negative impacts of leadership and deduce the results based on their findings. In this research, the mediating role of impression management motive and the moderating role of goal orientation on abusive supervision and the in-role performance of employees have been analyzed. In this chapter, several studies, and research that have addressed this leadership domain will be reviewed and analyzed for evidence to support the research statement.

Over the last couple of decades, researchers have also started exploring and researching leadership’s destructive aspects. Destructive leadership is mostly referred to differently; however, the most common perception of destructive leadership is the methods leaders, and managers use to lead their teams and employees. According to (Kedharnath, 2014), destructive leadership is quite a broad term. It is a domain that deals with the harmful leadership style and managerial supervision that includes the exhibition of negative personality traits and behavior in the organization, such as narcissism and Machiavellianism. It also deals with exhibiting negative behaviors corresponding to aggression, racism, sexism, bullying, social and cultural undermining, and abusive supervision (Kedharnath, 2014).

“Abusive supervision” is a hostile verbal and physical behavior that can harm employees psychologically and emotionally (Zhou, 2016). Many studies advocate that this abusive supervision within an organization has several negative impacts and costly consequences for team members, employees, and the organization. For example, one of the most common impacts of abusive supervision on organizational behavior is increased employee absenteeism and decreased productivity and efficiency. Sadly, even in the digital age where the rights of employees are discussed openly, issues like abusive supervision occur at an alarming rate. According to research by (Mindy K. Shoss, 2012), around 13% of employees in a corporate organization experience abusive supervision regularly.

The negative outcomes of abusive supervision and negative leadership result in decreased performance and profitability of organizations. According to research, an organization loss around $23 billion in absenteeism and lower productivity. This suggests that abusive supervision and negative aspects of leadership have tangible consequences. Abusive supervision does not only affect the employees, but it also impacts the overall performance and ethics of the organizations. The study claims that destructive leadership damages workplace ethics resulting in a poor work environment and employee demotivation. It is, therefore, important to research the indicators, predictors, and factors that cause abusive supervision (Shahid Nawaz Khan, 2010).

Organizational success and efficiency depend a lot on the mental and emotional well-being of the employees working within the organization. The fine border between peer respect, motivation, and empathy, as compared to the demotivating factors and lack of empathy, play a major role in organizational success. A team’s performance depends highly on the individual and the team’s collective performance (Arshadi, 2011). At the same time, collective performance can be achieved with goal orientation and strategizing the team’s goals. However, to achieve the individual efficiency and performance of the team members, the fine line of workplace ethics and empathy between the organizational leaders and employees impact a lot.

The ethical behavior between the client and the employee should always be followed. There is always a fine border between them: ethics, respect, and consent. There are perceptions of levels of respect every individual carries with them. In which abusive supervision undermines accordingly. When they do not meet that level of respect, it automatically results in abuse. It makes their performance low day by day and de-tracks them every time. It disconnects them psychologically from the organization and the people around them. There is a strong relationship between perceived peer respect and abusive supervision (Bakker, 2012), which has a bigger effect on the outcomes and turnover intentions.

A person verbally and mentally abused at work starts getting aggressive on petty things. He takes every word seriously. His performance gets affected. He starts disconnecting with people. He remains depressed and has anxiety off and on. He does not perform well. His image starts getting down. The abuse can be in the form of demoralization, personal grudges because of any unwanted event, salary issues, or continuous pointing out mistakes in front of fellow workers to embarrass the person. Unfair criticism and favoritism are also major components of workplace abuse. Mostly, verbal and cultural abuse in an organization is referred to as forcing peers to do the kind of work they do not want to do (Zhou, 2016). Besides, asking for unethical favors, teasing them at irregular hours, misbehaving, or being ignorant towards them also makes components of workplace abuse. This all can affect a human being in a lot of different ways.

Lack of motivation, poor performance, work-related stress, depression, and overly sensitive behaviors of employees within an organization are all because of these issues. According to some research, organizations where leadership uses abuse to manage the employees, faced a lesser retention rate (Kemper, 2016). There is an ever-increasing rate of resignation from workplaces that are not deemed healthy. Employees whose supervisors and leaders are more reluctant to use abuse and other critical means to manage their teams face a higher turnover rate than the others. Because of the immense competition and workplace pressure of peers, peers cannot stand the abuse and verbal assault of managers and leaders. As a result, more and more employees resign from their job. It is also observed that the suicide rate is ever increasing in some organizations that are more critical and harsh towards their employees. The ones who do not quit their jobs bear immoral and unethical behavior. This creates problems in every aspect of their lives. Such as clashes with intimate relations and conflicts between work and family. Distress and panic attacks (Kemper, 2016).

Abusive supervision affects the in-role performance of employees. In-role performance is referred to as the core tasks the employee has to perform, which is reflected in the salary slip. Employees exposed to abusive supervision and face mental and emotional torture in the workplace often fail to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively (Dallas, 2018). They can give proper attention and time to their work. As a result, the overall performance of the team diminishes. The deadlines are not met,, and the organization goes towards failing to achieve its tasks. The attitude of supervisors and leaders directly impacts the performance of the worker. If the supervisor is not giving a proper environment to his workers, they will not be able to perform well. The supervisor makes their payments late or sometimes does not pay the wages. This affects their overall budget. Home expenses cannot be fulfilled at the time. This makes the person stressed and depressed. This individual destructive criticism leads to the collective downfall of the organization (Arshadi, 2011).

In-role performance of employees is directly impacted by leadership. In the digital age, organizations have shifted the balance towards the employees rather than achieving financial goals. More employee and human-oriented policies are being designed and implemented. This trend has given rise to a new challenge to the organizations to meet the rights of the employees (Harris, 2007). Companies and corporate organizations are implementing strategies to ensure employee benefit policies are in place and the organization is performing well under the umbrella of a healthy manager-peer relationship.

Thus, the in-role performance of the employees under such circumstances can only be achieved if the employee has a proper and healthy work environment. Organizations prone to abusive supervision are reluctant to meet their end needs of getting the better out of their employees. Abusive supervision restrains the employees from depicting certain skills and gaining work confidence to perform better. This direct impact does depend on a few other factors as well. However, there is undoubtedly a significant impact of abusive supervision on the in-role performance of employees (Mindy K. Shoss, 2012). The relationship between abusive supervision and employees’ in-role performance leads to this research’s first hypothesis.

Abusive Peer supervision has a significant impact on in-role performance.

Peer abusive supervision directly impacts the in-role performance of the employees. Team members that are exposed to constructive criticism perform better. This ensures maximum output and increased efficiency. On the other hand, employees regularly exposed to destructive criticism are more prone to decreased efficiency, demotivation, and less goal orientation. Organizations that tend to be goal oriented often lose the loyalty and faithfulness of their employees. While there might be many reasons, abusive supervision is the most common. Employees tend to work in a healthy environment and grow potentially in a positive trend. Abusive supervision leads the organization towards negative criticism, a trait often found in many leaders and supervisors. Thus, abusive peer supervision significantly impacts the in-role performance of the employees within an organization, making the research’s first hypothesis.


Impression Management Motive:

Impression management is how a person influences the perceptions and understanding of other people, an event, or any specific object (Chun, 2015). It is often referred to as a state of mind similar to self-presentation. The person tries to influence and inspire others to reflect and perceive their image. In an alternate case, the person tries to influence himself over others and their personalities. There has been much research on the role of impression management motive on organizational performance and efficiency. Impression management also tends to control and manipulate their behavior towards other people and events. As a result, an individual can act according to the situation in front of different audiences and act differently in front of different people (J. Bruce Gilstrap, 2008 ). This impulse to control and manipulate communication is referred to as impression management. There are two parties associated with the phenomenon of impression management. The actor and the target. The actor is the one that uses the impression management motive to manipulate and influence the target according to their will.

Some leaders and team members use impression management to gain their personal manifesto and influence the organizational strategy towards their goals. Such kind of leadership is also a component of destructive leadership. Impression management is gaining one’s personal goals by manipulating the other’s liking and goals (Turnley, 2010). This is mostly performed in or organization to inspire the leaders and managers. However, some managers and leaders use impression management motives to achieve their manifesto and for favoritism inside the team. Studies claim that impression management motive serves as a mediator to abusive supervision and impacts the effect of abusive supervision on the in-role performance of employees (J. Bruce Gilstrap, 2008 ). This leads to the second hypothesis of this study.

Impression management motive is a mediator between abusive peer supervision and in-role performance.

Organizations that are human-oriented and emphasize their employees’ emotional and physical development often integrate and plan impression management training programs in their organizations. Leaders and managerial staff must know how to handle their employees’ issues and manage their teams’ activities. Impression management motive is a mediator between abusive supervision and in-role performance as the leaders use impressive management to overrule the employees verbally. The effects of peer abusive supervision increase when the leaders use impression management. Impression management motive drives the results.

Goal Orientation regarding peer abusive supervision:

Goal orientation is the degree to which an individual, a group of people, or an organization focuses on the tasks and their results. Strong goal orientation is always focused on the end goal of the tasks and operations that the individual or the organization has to achieve. It focuses on what the individual or the company will achieve after completing the tasks and reaching the specific milestones rather than the task itself. People who are goal-oriented also focus on the end goal of the tasks and activities they have to perform in the organization to achieve certain objectives (Ashley O’Donoghue, 2016).

A strong goal orientation does not pay to emphasize the activity; rather, it creates a platform for the employee to focus on the achievable. For a better understanding, goal orientation is the act of organizations attempting and using their vision, mission, and core competencies. Values to stay on a set path for as long as possible. Businesses that are not goal oriented or have less goal orientation often do not get successful. To comprehend the implementations of goal orientation, goal orientation and strategic management are necessary for any business firm and corporate organization. Proper implementation and understanding of goal orientation help corporate firms to stick to their tasks and focus on their core activity rather than catching on to opportunities to expand their business in other domains (Turnley, 2010).

For managers and leaders, goal orientation is the practice of training and helping individuals to grow. It is the basis of the leadership of individuals. Managers study and understand the goals that each employee as an individual has the opportunity to gain. Besides, managers and leaders also understand the goals the organizations and companies have to gain to derive results and strive for success. Goal orientation can be towards financial gaining, or it can simply be the development of employees and the overall increase in organizational performance (Bolino, 2008 ). Leaders and managers train individuals and team members to derive results and gain the end goal. This leadership trait comes under the umbrella of goal orientation.

According to the researcher, goal orientation is not only necessary for getting the results of the tasks and activities of the team, but it is also an important indicator of organizational performance and impacts the in-role performance of employees. As a result of goal orientation, employees with stronger goal orientation are more prone to the attention to the end goals. According to the researcher, goal orientation is of two kinds. One goal orientation is the kind that is focused on performance (Arshadi, 2011). This kind of goal orientation is called performance goal orientation. This goal orientation emphasizes the employees’ performance and enhances the firm’s individual and collective performance. The other is for the development of the team, as discussed earlier. This goal orientation type focuses on developing employees’ and individuals’ skills and technical abilities. The collective goal orientation of the employees in a firm combines to define the goal orientation of the organization.

Goal orientation acts as a moderator between abusive supervision and the in-role performance of employees. Goal orientation significantly impacts the in-role performance of the employees in an organization (Bies, 1991). Goal-oriented employees are more reluctant to abuse supervision from their leaders and managers. As a result, these employees do not get exposed to abusive supervision easily. Goal-oriented employees tend to focus on the goal and ignore the negativity from the leadership. This act helps the employees better understand workplace diversity and cultural differences (Ashley O’Donoghue, 2016). This leads to our third hypothesis of this study.

Goal Orientation acts as a moderator between peer abusive supervision and in-role performance.

Abusive supervision is the major outcome of destructive leadership. Managers and supervisors that are not good leaders tend to control and manage their employees using verbal and emotionally abusive supervision. This destructive leadership leads to the team’s reckoning as it demotivates the employees and reduces their will to perform. However, more goal-oriented leaders train their employees to follow in their footsteps. This, in turn, increases the positive impact of constructive leadership in the organization, increasing the efficiency and performance of the team and the organization. Goal-oriented employees do not tend to fall into abusive supervision easily. This ensures a healthy work environment and promotes employee positivity and motivation to perform their duties efficiently and effectively. Thus, our hypothesis discusses and analyses that goal orientation is a healthy activity for any corporate organization and leads to a better work environment. Also, it moderates abusive supervision and the in-role performance of the employees, reducing the direct impact of abusive supervision on the in-role performance of the employees in any corporate organization.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter, we have learned the basic terms that define our variables to conduct this study. The hypothesis on which the result of the study will be deduced is also defined and explained in this study. A literature review of several other studies has been undertaken and explained to support the theory of this research. This chapter provides an in-depth understanding of the problem and how to address the specific issues associated with this research topic. The methodology and research approach used to deduce the result will be defined in the next chapters. Besides, mediation tests and correlation tests will also be explained, performed, and described to learn the relationship between the variables.


Bakhtawar S Usmani

I am an all-rounder in a world full of barbies! Keeper of multiple birds and cats. I may make punctuation mistakes, but they come up for turning into a crore or two extra. Thus, a well-placed crore seems a better choice for me.

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