Do Victims of Supervisor Bullying Suffer from Poor Creativity? Social Cognitive and Social Comparison Perspectives

Journal of Business Ethics 157 (3):865-884 (2019)
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This study explores the dark side of leadership, treats creative self-efficacy as a mediator, and frames supervisor bullying and employee creativity in the context of social cognition and social comparison. We theorize that with a high social comparison orientation, the combination of high supervisory abuse toward themselves (own abusive supervision) and low supervisory abuse toward other team members (peer abusive supervision) leads to a double whammy effect: When employees are “singled out” for abuse, these victims suffer from not only low creative self-efficacy due to supervisory abuse but also low supervisory creativity ratings. Results based on our two-wave data collected from multiple sources—253 employees and their 77 immediate supervisors—support our theory. The significant three-way interaction effect reveals that when social comparison orientation is high and peer abusive supervision is low (Time 1), own abusive supervision (Time 1) creates the strongest negative impact on creative self-efficacy (Time 2), which is significantly related to supervisory low creativity rating (Time 2). Our discoveries of egregious bullying offer provocative theoretical, empirical, and practical implications to the fields of leadership, abusive supervision, creativity, and business ethics.



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