Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 669–681 | Cite as

The Moderating Role of Gender in Relationships of Stressors and Personality with Counterproductive Work Behavior

  • Paul E. Spector
  • Zhiqing E. Zhou



Gender differences in counterproductive work behavior (CWB: behavior that harms organizations or people) have been understudied. We explored gender mean differences, and the moderating effect of gender on the relationship of personality (agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, trait anger, and hostile attribution bias) and stressors (interpersonal conflict and organizational constraints) with three forms of CWB (directed toward organizations, directed toward persons, and relational aggression which are acts that damage relationships with other employees).


A survey was conducted of 915 employed individuals recruited from university classes. All worked at least 20 h per week (mean 26.3 h), and held a variety of jobs in many industries.


Men reported more CWB with correlations ranging from 0.12 to 0.18. Gender was found to moderate the relationship of job stressors and personality with CWB. The tendency for males to report engaging in more CWB was greater at high as opposed to low levels of interpersonal conflict, organizational constraints, trait anger and HAB and at low as opposed to high levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability.


These results suggest that gender differences in overall CWB are rather small, with men engaging in more than women only when they have certain personality characteristics or perceive high levels of job stressors. In other words men may be more reactive than women.


This study shows that gender serves a moderator role, and is the first to adapt the construct of relational aggression to the workplace.


Counterproductive work behavior Gender Job stress Personality Relational aggression 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, PCD 4118University of South FloridaTampaUSA

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