Drawing on the theory of emotional cognitive evaluation and the theory of goal interdependence, this study explores the mechanism of workplace ostracism on bystander behavior by building a moderated mediating effect model, and examines the mediating effect of bystander emotions and the moderating effect of goal interdependence. The results show that: under the condition of high cooperation goal interdependence and high competition goal interdependence, workplace ostracism has a significant indirect impact on bystander behavior. The stronger the mutual dependence of the cooperative goal between the bystander and the victim, the stronger the positive influence of workplace ostracism on the bystander’s sympathy; the stronger the mutual dependence of the competitive goal between the bystander and the victim, the stronger the positive influence of workplace ostracism on the bystander’s schadenfreude. The different emotions of bystanders will stimulate their different behavioral responses. The main contributions of this paper are as follows: (1) Most of the existing researches on workplace ostracism explore the influence mechanism of workplace ostracism from the perspective of victims, but ignore the role and behavior of bystanders as third-party forces in workplace ostracism. This study provides a new perspective for the theoretical study of workplace ostracism from the perspective of bystanders. (2) Based on the theory of goal interdependence, this study responds to the call to pay attention to the bystander’s schadenfreude. (3) This study shows that disruptive behavior is expensive for organizations. Therefore, it is very important to understand how workplace ostracism induces the negative behavior of bystanders, which is helpful for managers to reduce the harm of workplace ostracism. Our results also highlight the importance of organizational inhibition of workplace ostracism, as they show that workplace ostracism affects a wider range of working groups, especially bystanders. Previous studies on workplace ostracism have shown that ostracism can bring high costs to organizations through its impact on victims and their behavior. By examining the reaction of bystanders in workplace ostracism events, this study shows that workplace ostracism costs even more to the organization, because bystanders can sustain destructive behavior in the organization by witnessing workplace ostracism. However, a positive conclusion is that some bystanders have made constructive responses through the support of their colleagues. These types of reactions can obviously help organizational managers to detect workplace ostracism. In addition, they can help to build a compassionate and supportive workplace environment.
Workplace Ostracism and Bystander Behavior: The Role of Emotions and Goal Interdependence
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 42, Issue 06, pp. 86 - 98 (2020) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.20200317.401
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Cite this article
Zhu Qianlin, Wei Feng, Du Hengbo. Workplace Ostracism and Bystander Behavior: The Role of Emotions and Goal Interdependence[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2020, 42(6): 86-98.