We investigated the turnover intentions of employees who perceive that they are being treated with more or less abusive supervision than their coworkers. We call this incongruent abusive supervision. Our findings support our theory that employees associate incongruent abusive supervision with the anticipation of social exclusion from their coworkers. Furthermore, this appraisal of social exclusion threat is associated with feelings of shame, which, in turn, increase turnover intentions. Two experimental vignettes provide support for our theoretical model. These findings demonstrate the effect that incongruent abusive supervision has on employees’ reactions to abusive supervision and introduces shame as an emotional mechanism important for understanding employee responses to supervisor abuse both when they are singled out for abuse and when they are spared abuse while their coworkers are not.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) grant TR 1398/1-1 (PI: Tröster).
© The Authors 2021.