The mediating roles of supervisor anger and envy in linking subordinate performance to abusive supervision : A curvilinear examination

Yolanda Na LI*, Kenneth S. LAW, Melody Jun ZHANG, Ming YAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

This research aims to understand why both low and high subordinate performance can induce abusive supervision. Drawing on the framework of affective events theory and research on anger and envy, we posit that low performance incurs abuse due to supervisor anger, whereas high performance elicits abuse due to supervisor envy. More specifically, subordinate performance has a decreasing curvilinear relationship with supervisor anger (i.e., a negative effect that gradually dissipates) and an increasing curvilinear relationship with supervisor envy (i.e., a positive effect that gradually emerges). Through supervisor anger and envy, subordinate performance therefore presents different curvilinear indirect relationships with abusive supervision. The results from two vignette-based experiments and a multiwave, multisource field study support these hypotheses. We further find that supervisor comparison orientation augments the curvilinear emergence of supervisor envy and ensuing abuse in response to higher subordinate performance. However, regardless of their level of performance orientation, supervisors are prone to higher anger and subsequent abusive supervision in response to lower subordinate performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Early online date12 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association. All Rights Reserved.

Keywords

  • subordinate performance
  • supervisor emotions
  • abusive supervision
  • performance orientation
  • comparison orientation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The mediating roles of supervisor anger and envy in linking subordinate performance to abusive supervision : A curvilinear examination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this