Suffering in silence: Investigating the role of fear in the relationship between abusive supervision and defensive silence

Journal article


Kiewitz, Christian, Restubog, Simon Lloyd D., Shoss, Mindy Michelle, Garcia, Patrick R. J. M. and Tang, Robert L.. (2016). Suffering in silence: Investigating the role of fear in the relationship between abusive supervision and defensive silence. Journal of Applied Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000074
AuthorsKiewitz, Christian, Restubog, Simon Lloyd D., Shoss, Mindy Michelle, Garcia, Patrick R. J. M. and Tang, Robert L.
Abstract

Drawing from an approach-avoidance perspective, we examine the relationships between subordinates’ perceptions of abusive supervision, fear, defensive silence, and ultimately abusive supervision at a later time point. We also account for the effects of subordinates’ assertiveness and individual perceptions of a climate of fear on these predicted mediated relationships. We test this moderated mediation model with data from three studies involving different sources collected across various measurement periods. Results corroborated our predictions by showing (a) a significant association between abusive supervision and subordinates’ fear, (b) second-stage moderation effects of subordinates’ assertiveness and their individual perceptions of a climate of fear in the abusive supervision–fear–defensive silence relationship (with lower assertiveness and higher levels of climate-of-fear perceptions exacerbating the detrimental effects of fear resulting from abusive supervision), and (c) first-stage moderation effects of subordinates’ assertiveness and climate-of-fear perceptions in a model linking fear to defensive silence and abusive supervision at a later time. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywordsassertiveness; fear; abusive supervision; defensive silence; workplace victimization
Year2016
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000074
Publisher's version
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Controlled
EditorsG. Chen
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