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


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 



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.


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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

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