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Why am I ostracized and how would I react? — A review of workplace ostracism research

Abstract

Ostracism is an important issue in the workplace and studies on this issue are diverse and large. This paper comprehensively reviews the literature related to workplace ostracism in five aspects. First, in discussing why ostracism occurs, it outlines that individuals are ostracized due to their dispositions, ability and skills, behavioral features, and perpetrators’ ostracism motives. Second, in investigating the consequences of ostracism, it outlines that victims would respond with affective and attitudinal, physical, and behavioral tendencies, and these reactions can be either positive or negative. Third, in describing specific mechanisms for ostracism to take effect, it summarizes that threat-to-needs as well as affective and cognitive responses play important roles. Fourth, regarding the mixed findings of ostracism’s impact, it points out that extant inconsistencies lie in individual differences, temporal effects, and situational cues. Last, in recommending future research areas, it suggests several promising directions, particularly the role of culture in shaping victims’ responses to ostracism. We hope this article will be a good foundation for management researchers in Asia Pacific regions to conduct indigenous studies of workplace ostracism relevant to their own contexts.

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Acknowledgements

The current study has been jointly supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC; No. 71402069) and a key program of The National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71332002).

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Mao, Y., Liu, Y., Jiang, C. et al. Why am I ostracized and how would I react? — A review of workplace ostracism research. Asia Pac J Manag 35, 745–767 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10490-017-9538-8

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Keywords

  • Ostracism
  • Social exclusion
  • Culture