Conference PaperPDF Available

Taking It Out on IT: A Mechanistic Model of Abusive Supervision and Computer Abuse

Authors:
A preview of the PDF is not available
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
We examine perceived organizational obstruction as a mediator in the relationship between abusive supervision and subordinates' organizational citizenship behaviors directed toward organizations. We seek to provide a nuanced understanding of why subordinates who perceive supervisory mistreatment would target organizations with behavioral responses. Specifically, we study the implications of examining relationships between inconsistent sources of social exchange perceptions (e.g., supervisory perceptions) and targets of social exchange behaviors (e.g., organizational responses), which we refer to as social exchange source–target misalignment. Results from 3 studies (Study 1: n = 109; Study 2: n = 213; Study 3: n = 228) demonstrate evidence that abusive supervision is indirectly and negatively associated with organizational citizenship behaviors directed toward organizations through perceived organizational obstruction and that this conditional indirect effect is stronger for subordinates who perceive higher levels of supervisor organizational embodiment than others. Examining the social exchange tandem of perceived organizational obstruction and supervisor organizational embodiment provides a novel and useful means of aligning sources and targets of negative social exchange relationships across subordinates, supervisors, and organizations in order to advance our understanding of the social exchange antecedents and consequences of perceived organizational obstruction.
Article
Full-text available
This research-perspective article reviews and contributes to the literature that explains how to deter internal computer abuse (ICA), which is criminal computer behavior committed by organizational insiders. ICA accounts for a large portion of insider trading, fraud, embezzlement, the selling of trade secrets, customer privacy violations, and other criminal behaviors, all of which are highly damaging to organizations. Although ICA represents a momentous threat for organizations, and despite numerous calls to examine this behavior, the academic response has been lukewarm. However, a few security researchers have examined ICA’s influence in an organizational context and the potential means of deterring it. However, the results of the studies have been mixed, leading to a debate on the applicability of deterrence theory (DT) to ICA. We argue that more compelling opportunities will arise in DT research if security researchers more deeply study its assumptions and more carefully recontextualize it. The purpose of this article is to advance a deterrence research agenda that is grounded in the pivotal criminological deterrence literature. Drawing on the distinction between absolute and restrictive deterrence and aligning them with rational choice theory (RCT), this paper shows how deterrence can be used to mitigate the participation in and frequency of ICA. We thus propose that future research on the deterrent effects of ICA should be anchored in a more general RCT, rather than in examinations of deterrence as an isolated construct. We then explain how adopting RCT with DT opens up new avenues of research. Consequently, we propose three areas for future research, which cover not only the implications for the study of ICA deterrence, but also the potential motivations for this type of offence and the skills required to undertake them.
Article
Full-text available
The overarching purpose of this article is to review and synthesize the accumulated evidence that explores the causes and consequences of abusive supervision in work organizations. Our review is organized in three sections. In the first section, we discuss research trends and provide clarification regarding the pressing and not-so-pressing problems with the way that abusive supervision is ordinarily conceptualized and studied. In the second section, we highlight problems and prospects in research on the consequences of abusive supervision. In the third section, we turn our attention to the growing body of research that explores the antecedent conditions and processes that explain when abusive supervision is more or less likely to occur. Throughout the article, we offer an overview of what has been learned over the past 15-plus years and highlight unanswered questions that warrant examination in future studies. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior Volume 4 is March 21, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Article
Full-text available
With empirical research on abusive supervision flourishing, there is an increasing need for an integrative framework that accounts for how and why individuals vary in their perceptions, experiences, and responses to abuse over time. To address this need, we integrate theories of emotions to present a multiphase, episodic process model explaining how initial attributions and appraisals combine to give rise to three distinct emotions-anger, fear, and sadness-that, in turn, drive a range of behavioral responses. We build on this foundation to offer new propositions on how various person and situational factors combine at each phase to produce different emotional and behavioral pathways, and we further conceptualize how feedback loops linking the behavioral responses in one episode to the next can result in emotional modulations and increasing (or decreasing) trajectories of adaptation to abuse. We advance the abusive supervision literature by providing a dynamic framework that integrates and organizes existing research, offering new emotions-based explanations for why people exhibit a range of responses to abuse over time, and highlighting areas in need of future research that have the potential to provide a more complete understanding of abusive supervision and its implications for organizations.
Article
Full-text available
The number of constructs developed to assess workplace aggression has flourished in recent years, leading to confusion over what meaningful differences exist (if any) between the constructs. We argue that one way to frame the field of workplace aggression is via approach-avoidance principles, with various workplace aggression constructs (e.g., abusive supervision, supervisor undermining, and workplace ostracism) differentially predicting specific approach or avoidance emotions and behaviors. Using two multi-wave field samples of employees, we demonstrate the utility of approach- avoidance principles in conceptualizing workplace aggression constructs, as well as the processes and boundary conditions through which they uniquely influence outcomes. Implications for the workplace aggression literature are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Insiders may act to sustain and improve organizational information security, yet our knowledge of what motivates them to do so remains limited. For example, most extant research use portions of protection motivation theory (PMT) and have relied on isolated behaviors thus limiting the generalizability of findings to single artifacts rather than the global set of protective security behaviors. We thus investigate the motivations surrounding this larger behavioral set by assessing maladaptive rewards, response costs, and fear alongside traditional PMT components. We extend PMT by showing that: (1) security education, training, and awareness (SETA) efforts help form appraisals; (2) PMT’s applicability to organizational rather than personal contexts depends on insiders’ organizational commitment levels; and (3) response costs provide the link between PMT’s appraisals. Contributions include detailing how organizational commitment is the mechanism through which organizational security threats become personally relevant to insiders and how SETA efforts influence many PMT-based components.
Article
Full-text available
Employees' failure to comply with information systems security policies is a major concern for information technology security managers. In efforts to understand this problem, IS security researchers have traditionally viewed violations of IS security policies through the lens of deterrence theory. In this article, we show that neutralization theory, a theory prominent in Criminology but not yet applied in the context of IS, provides a compelling explanation for IS security policy violations and offers new insight into how employees rationalize this behavior. In doing so, we propose a theoretical model in which the effects of neutralization techniques are tested alongside those of sanctions described by deterrence theory. Our empirical results highlight neutralization as an important factor to take into account with regard to developing and implementing organizational security policies and practices.
Article
Although employee computer abuse is a costly and significant problem for firms, the existing academic literature regarding this issue is limited. To address this gap, we apply a multi-theoretical model to explain employees' intentions to abuse computers. To understand the motives for such behaviour, we investigate the role of two forms of organizational justice - distributive and procedural - both of which provide explanations of how perceptions of unfairness are created in the organizational context. By applying deterrence theory, we also examine the extent to which formal sanctions influence and moderate the intentions to abuse computers. Finally, we examine how the potential motives for abuse may be moderated by techniques of neutralization, which allow offenders to justify their actions and absolve themselves of any associated feelings of guilt and shame. Utilizing the scenario-based factorial survey method for our experimental design, we empirically evaluated the association between these antecedents and the behavioural intention to violate Information systems (IS) security policies in an environment where the measurement of actual behaviour would be impossible. Our findings suggest that individual employees may form intentions to commit computer abuse if they perceive the presence of procedural injustice and that techniques of neutralization and certainty of sanctions moderate this influence. The implications of these findings for research and practice are presented.