Subordinate Performance and Abusive Supervision: the Role of Envy and Anger

Yolanda Na LI, Melody J. ZHANG, Kenneth S. LAW, Ming Nick YAN

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsConference (Extended Abstracts)


This study focuses on the relationships among subordinate’s performance, supervisor’s envy and anger, and abusive supervision. Specifically, we draw on the "trigger – emotions – behavior" chain and posit that a subordinate’s high performance provokes supervisor’s envy while low performance provokes supervisor’s anger. We argue that if a supervisor is in a prolonged and consistent state of these emotions, abusive supervision would evoke, which is viewed as a behavioral reflection of supervisor’s emotions. Furthermore, we propose that self-control moderates the relationship between supervisor’s emotions and abusive behaviors. The relationship would be weaker for supervisors who have stronger emotional control. Two studies were conducted to test our hypotheses. In study 1, an online experimental design was conducted to test whether subordinate’s high performance triggers supervisor’s envy while low performance triggers anger. In study 2, a two-wave survey with 357 supervisor-subordinate dyads was used to test the whole model. Path-analytic results suggest that subordinate’s performance evokes supervisor’s envy/anger and that anger leads to abusive supervision irrespective of self-control while the effect of envy on abusive supervision was buffered by self-control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
EditorsGuclu ATINC
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management
ISSN (Print)0065-0668
ISSN (Electronic)2151-6561


Dive into the research topics of 'Subordinate Performance and Abusive Supervision: the Role of Envy and Anger'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this