Supervisor-directed deviance is a well-established consequence of abusive supervision. However, prior accounts of the abuse–deviance relationship have overlooked the role played by power embedded in subordinates’ informal social context. To address this gap, we draw on power-dependence theory and use a social network approach to explain the link between abusive supervision and supervisor-directed deviance. In doing so, we propose a three-way interaction in which the abuse–deviance relationship is impacted by two components of informal power: subordinate social network centrality and subordinate influence. In particular, we propose that the relationship will be the strongest when subordinates have high betweenness centrality and high influence. We gathered full social network data, as well as self-report surveys from 272 primary school teachers and government contract workers in Northern China. Our results provide support for the notion that supervisor-directed deviance emerges most strongly as a consequence of abusive supervision for employees who wield informal power in their organization.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study is funded by a research grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Grant No. 435-2018-0629) awarded to the third and fourth author, and a research grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Grant No. 430-2018-00053) awarded to the third, fourth, and fifth author.
© The Authors 2021.
- abusive supervision
- social networks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Sociology and Political Science
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management Science and Operations Research