, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 269-283
Date: 19 Apr 2011

When Employees Engage in Workplace Incivility: The Interactive Effect of Psychological Contract Violation and Organizational Justice

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Abstract

The primary objective of this research was to examine both procedural and interactional justice perceptions as moderators of the relationship between psychological contract violation and workplace incivility. Affect Infusion Model (AIM) was used as a theoretical basis for predicting an interaction in which there was, in general, a positive relationship between violation and incivility. However, a stronger relationship between contract violation and incivility was predicted under high-justice conditions, compared to low-justice conditions, due to the deeper, more elaborate information processing needed to reconcile a psychological contract violation occurring in an otherwise just organization. An online survey was administered to 975 U.S. respondents. The hypotheses were confirmed. Results indicated that the positive relationship between violation and instigated incivility was stronger among employees reporting a just work environment. Implications for applying AIM to organizational settings are discussed.

Author Note

This research reports on findings from a master’s thesis by the first author. Portions of this research were presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL, USA. A message of gratitude goes to Scott Hemenover, Audra Lifka, and two anonymous reviewers for assistance at various stages of the research project. Former name of the second author is Karen L. Harris.