Responding to Abusive Supervision: Opposing Arguments for the Role of Social Class in Predicting Workplace Deviance
Powell, Nea Claire
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This research examined the effect of social class on the relationship between abusive supervision and workplace deviance. Within the social class literature we found conflicting theoretical arguments regarding the effect that social class would have on responses to abuse. To address this discordance we examined the effect of social class on responses to abusive supervision in four samples using multiple methods. Results confirmed that social class moderates the association between abusive supervision and workplace deviance. Specifically, the effect of abusive supervision on workplace deviance was stronger for higher social classes. In our laboratory research, the use of an abusive supervision prime and a subjective social class manipulation provided preliminary evidence for this effect. Our multi-wave field research provided evidence that these findings extend to actual employee behavior (i.e., interpersonal and organizational deviance). Implications for the abusive supervision literature are discussed.