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Time To Try A Little Tenderness? The Detrimental Effects Of Accountability When Coupled With Abusive Supervision

Denise M. Breaux, P. Perrewé, A. T. Hall, Dwight D. Frink, W. Hochwarter
Published 2008 · Psychology

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The deleterious health and behavioral consequences of reporting to an abusive supervisor have been documented in past research. Furthermore, recent corporate scandals have led to increased pressure to hold employees accountable for their behaviors and decisions at work. This study examines the interactive effects of abusive supervision on experienced relationships between accountability and work outcomes (job tension, job satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion), with a sample of 366 employees across a myriad of contexts and conditions for answerability. Specifically, it was hypothesized that high levels of perceived abuse would interact with accountability such that job satisfaction declines and tension and exhaustion escalate because of the control-depleting properties of abuse. Study results were supportive of these proposed relationships. Key contributions and limitations of the study, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
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