Advertisement

Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 163–170 | Cite as

Interpersonal Targets and Types of Workplace Aggression as a Function of Perpetrator Sex

  • Kara A. Arnold
  • Kathryne E. Dupré
  • M. Sandy Hershcovis
  • Nick TurnerEmail author
Article

Abstract

We investigated the relationship between biological sex of the perpetrator and enactment of two forms of psychological workplace aggression (i.e., overt and covert) against two different interpersonal targets (i.e., supervisors and co-workers). Based on theories of power, we tested hypotheses using two samples (n 1  = 155, 57% females; n 2  = 152, 54% females). In comparison to women, results showed that men enacted greater levels of overt aggression against both supervisors and co-workers. Men and women reported enacting equal levels of covert aggression against both supervisors and co-workers. Taken together, these findings suggest that although biological sex of the perpetrator distinguishes levels of enacted overt aggression in the workplace, there are no differences between the sexes on levels of enacted covert aggression in the workplace.

Key words

danger ratio power sex differences status workplace aggression 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Earlier versions of this study were presented at the 2006 meeting of the International Congress of Applied Psychology, Athens, Greece, and the 2009 New Directions in Health Research: Sex & Gender Conference, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Authors are listed in alphabetical order by surname, and all acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

References

  1. Aquino, K., Douglas, S., & Martinko, M. J. (2004). Overt expressions of anger in response to perceived victimization: The moderating effects of attributional style and organizational norms. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 9, 152–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archer, J. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 651–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Archer, J., & Coyne, S. M. (2005). An integrated review of indirect, relational, and social aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 212–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barling, J., Dupré, K. E., & Kelloway, E. K. (2009). Predicting workplace aggression and violence. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 671–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron, R. A., & Neuman, J. H. (1996). Workplace violence and workplace aggression: Evidence on their relative frequency and potential causes. Aggressive Behavior, 22, 161–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baron, R. A., & Neuman, J. H. (1998). Workplace aggression—the iceberg beneath the tip of workplace violence: Evidence on its forms, frequency, and potential causes. Public Administration Quarterly, 21, 446–464.Google Scholar
  7. Baron, R. A., Neuman, J. H., & Geddes, D. (1999). Social and personal determinants of workplace aggression: Evidence for the impact of perceived injustice and the Type A behavior pattern. Aggressive Behavior, 25, 281–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Berdahl, J. L. (2007). Harassment based on sex: Protecting social status in the context of gender hierarchy. Academy of Management Review, 32, 641–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bjorkqvist, K. (1994). Sex differences in physical, verbal, and indirect aggression: A review of recent research. Sex Roles, 30, 177–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark H (2010) The female factor: Getting women into boardrooms, by law. The New York Times, January 28.Google Scholar
  12. Cooper, W. H., & Richardson, A. J. (1986). Unfair comparisons. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 179–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cortina, L. M. (2008). Unseen injustice: Incivility as modern discrimination in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 33, 55–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1998). Homicide. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  15. Gerber, G. L. (2009). Status and the gender stereotyped personality traits: Toward an integration. Sex Roles, 61, 297–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hershcovis, M. S., & Barling, J. (2006). Preventing workplace violence. In E. K. Kelloway, J. Barling, J. Hurrell (Eds.), Handbook of workplace violence, (pp. 607–632). Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Hershcovis, M. S., & Barling, J. (2010). Towards a multi-foci approach to workplace aggression: A meta-analytic review of outcomes from different perpetrators. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31, 24–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hershcovis, M. S., Turner, N., Barling, J., Arnold, K. A., Dupré, K. E., Inness, M., et al. (2007). Predicting workplace aggression: A meta-analysis. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 228–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. The American Psychologist, 60, 581–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Keltner, D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Anderson, C. (2003). Power, approach and inhibition. Psychological Review, 110, 265–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Korabik, K., & Ayman, R. (2007). Gender and leadership in the corporate world: A multiperspective model. In J. L. Chin, B. Lott, J. K. Rice, & J. Sanchez-Hucles (Eds.), Women and leadership: Transforming visions and diverse voices (pp. 106–124). Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Kraus, J. F., Blander, B., & McArthur, D. L. (1995). Incidence, risk factors, and prevention strategies for work related assault injuries: A review of what is known, what needs to be known, and countermeasures for intervention. Annual Review of Public Health, 16, 355–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mann, H. B., & Whitney, D. R. (1947). On a test of whether one of two random variables is stochastically larger than the other. Annals of Mathematical Statistics, 18, 50–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Metcalfe, B. D. (2007). Gender and human resource management in the Middle East. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18, 54–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neuman, J. H., & Baron, R. A. (1998). Workplace violence and workplace aggression: Evidence concerning specific forms, potential causes, and preferred targets. Journal of Management, 24, 391–420.Google Scholar
  26. Neuman, J. H., & Baron, R. A. (2005). Aggression in the workplace: A social psychological perspective. In S. Fox & P. E. Spector (Eds.), Counterproductive work behavior: Investigations of actors and targets (pp. 13–40). Washington: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Powell, G. N., & Graves, L. M. (2003). Women and men in management. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar
  28. Sorenson, S. B., & Taylor, C. A. (2005). Female aggression toward male intimate partners: An examination of social norms in a community-based sample. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 78–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Underwood, M. K. (2003). Social aggression among girls. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kara A. Arnold
    • 1
  • Kathryne E. Dupré
    • 1
  • M. Sandy Hershcovis
    • 2
  • Nick Turner
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Business AdministrationMemorial UniversitySt John’sCanada
  2. 2.Asper School of BusinessUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations