Supervisor Workplace Stress and Abusive Supervision: The Buffering Effect of Exercise
- 3.5k Downloads
We examine how supervisor stress is associated with employee-rated abusive supervision. In addition, we test the premise that higher levels of physical exercise by supervisors can buffer the negative effects of stress on their relationship with their subordinates.
A matched sample of 98 employed individuals and their direct supervisors was used to test our hypotheses.
Results suggest that increased levels of supervisor-reported stress are related to the increased experience of employee-rated abusive supervision. We also find that the relationship between supervisor stress and abusive behavior can be diminished when supervisors engage in moderate levels of physical exercise.
While the current economic conditions and a host of other trying workplace factors mean that supervisors are likely to experience workplace stress, we found evidence that they do not necessarily have to transfer these frustrations onto those they supervise. Our study supports a link between supervisor stress and employee perceptions of abusive supervision, but this is a link that can be loosened if supervisors engage in moderate levels of physical exercise.
The results of this study add to the modest number of antecedents to abusive supervision that have been discovered in existing research. In addition, this is the first study to examine how exercise can buffer the relationship between supervisor stress and employee perceptions of abusive supervision.
KeywordsAbusive supervision Stress Exercise
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Andersson, L. M., & Pearson, C. M. (1999). Tit for tat? The spiraling effect of incivility in the workplace. Academy of Management Review, 24, 452–471.Google Scholar
- Biddle, S. J. H. (2000). Emotion, mood, and physical activity. In S. J. H. Biddle, K. R. Fox, & S. H. Boutcher (Eds.), Physical activity and psychological well-being (pp. 63–88). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Burton, J. P., & Hoobler, J. M. (2006). Subordinate self-esteem and abusive supervision. Journal of Managerial Issues, 18, 340–355.Google Scholar
- Crone, D., Heaney, L., & Owens, C. S. (2009). Physical activity and mental health. In L. Dugdill, D. Crone, & R. Murphy (Eds.), Physical activity and health promotion: Evidence-based approaches to practice (pp. 198–217). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Falkenberg, L. E. (1987). Employee fitness programs: Their impact on the employee and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 12, 511–522.Google Scholar
- Hogan, E. A., & Overmyer-Day, L. (1994). The psychology of mergers and acquisitions. In C. L. Cooper & I. T. Robertson (Eds.), International review of industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 9, pp. 247–282). Chichester, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Hoobler, J. M., & Swanberg, J. (2006). The enemy is not us: Unexpected workplace violence trends. Public Personnel Management, 35, 229–246.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
- Levinson, H. (1996). When executives burn out. Harvard Business Review , 74, 152–163.Google Scholar
- Matheny, K. B., Curlette, W. L., Aycock, D. W., Pugh, J. L., & Taylor, H. F. (1987). The coping resources inventory for stress. Atlanta, GA: Health Prisms.Google Scholar
- Meijman, T. F., & Mulder, G. (1998). Psychological aspects of workload. In P. J. D. Drenth, H. Thierry, & C. J. de Wolff (Eds.), Handbook of Work and Organizational Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 5–33). Hove, England: Psychological Press.Google Scholar
- Pearson, C. M., & Porath, C. L. (2004). On incivility, its impact, and directions for future research. In R. W. Griffin & A. O’Leary-Kelly (Eds.), The dark side of organizational behavior (pp. 403–425). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Srivastava, S., Hagtvet, K. A., & Sen, A. K. (1994). A study of role stress and job anxiety among three groups of employees in a private sector organization. Social Science International, 10, 25–30.Google Scholar
- Stephens, T., & Caspersen, C. J. (1994). The demography of physical activity. In C. Bouchard, R. J. Shephard, & T. Stephens (Eds.), Physical activity, fitness and health (pp. 204–213). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
- Taylor, A. H. (2000). Physical activity, anxiety, and stress. In S. J. H. Biddle, K. R. Fox, & S. H. Boutcher (Eds.), Physical activity and psychological well-being (pp. 10–45). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Tedeschi, J. T., & Norman, N. M. (1985). A social psychological interpretation of displaced aggression. Advances in Group Processes, 2, 29–56.Google Scholar