ArticlePDF Available

How a Gratitude Intervention Influences Workplace Mistreatment: A Multiple Mediation Model

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Despite wide-ranging negative consequences of interpersonal mistreatment, research offers few practical solutions to reduce such behavior in organizations. Given that interpersonal relationships are strengthened and desired employee behaviors are more frequent when individuals purposefully cultivate feelings of gratitude, the present study tests the effectiveness of a 10-day gratitude journaling intervention in reducing workplace incivility, gossip, and ostracism. Because research has not examined the mechanisms by which gratitude interventions influence outcomes, we draw on theory and research from the gratitude literature to propose and test a multiple mediator model. Specifically, we examine the moral affect theor-y of gratitude, find-remind-and-bind theory, self-regulation theory, and social exchange theory as possible explanations for the effects of the intervention. Two field experiments involving 147 (Study 1) and 204 (Study 2) employees demonstrated that the intervention decreased mistreatment (as reported by coworkers) by enhancing self-control resources. We also found that the effects of the intervention were stronger for individuals who perceive higher norms for gratitude in their workplace. The findings support the resource-building nature of gratitude interventions and demonstrate that a gratitude intervention is one effective way to decrease interpersonal mistreatment in organizations. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Applied Psychology
How a Gratitude Intervention Influences Workplace
Mistreatment: A Multiple Mediation Model
Lauren R. Locklear, Shannon G. Taylor, and Maureen L. Ambrose
Online First Publication, September 17, 2020. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000825
CITATION
Locklear, L. R., Taylor, S. G., & Ambrose, M. L. (2020, September 17). How a Gratitude Intervention
Influences Workplace Mistreatment: A Multiple Mediation Model. Journal of Applied Psychology.
Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000825
How a Gratitude Intervention Influences Workplace Mistreatment:
A Multiple Mediation Model
Lauren R. Locklear, Shannon G. Taylor, and Maureen L. Ambrose
University of Central Florida
Despite wide-ranging negative consequences of interpersonal mistreatment, research offers few practical
solutions to reduce such behavior in organizations. Given that interpersonal relationships are strength-
ened and desired employee behaviors are more frequent when individuals purposefully cultivate feelings
of gratitude, the present study tests the effectiveness of a 10-day gratitude journaling intervention in
reducing workplace incivility, gossip, and ostracism. Because research has not examined the mechanisms
by which gratitude interventions influence outcomes, we draw on theory and research from the gratitude
literature to propose and test a multiple mediator model. Specifically, we examine the moral affect theory
of gratitude, find-remind-and-bind theory, self-regulation theory, and social exchange theory as possible
explanations for the effects of the intervention. Two field experiments involving 147 (Study 1) and 204
(Study 2) employees demonstrated that the intervention decreased mistreatment (as reported by cowork-
ers) by enhancing self-control resources. We also found that the effects of the intervention were stronger
for individuals who perceive higher norms for gratitude in their workplace. The findings support the
resource-building nature of gratitude interventions and demonstrate that a gratitude intervention is one
effective way to decrease interpersonal mistreatment in organizations. Implications for theory and
practice are discussed.
Keywords: gratitude intervention, incivility, gossip, ostracism, norms
Supplemental materials: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000825.supp
Interpersonal mistreatment in the workplace has been of grow-
ing interest to managers and scholars over the last 2 decades (e.g.,
Schilpzand, De Pater, & Erez, 2016). Interpersonal mistreatment is
reflected in actions such as making rude or demeaning remarks
about others (i.e., incivility), criticizing others behind their back
(i.e., gossip), and ignoring or excluding others (i.e., ostracism).
Workplace mistreatment is widespread and costs organizations
millions of dollars each year (e.g., Porath & Pearson, 2013).
Moreover, experiencing workplace mistreatment is associated with
lower performance (e.g., Howard, Cogswell, & Smith, 2019),
decreased job satisfaction (e.g., Cortina, Magley, Williams, &
Langhout, 2001), and declining physical health (e.g., Lim, Cortina,
& Magley, 2008).
Although ample prior research has shown that interpersonal
mistreatment negatively impacts a variety of workplace outcomes,
surprisingly few efforts have been made to identify ways to pre-
vent or reduce interpersonal mistreatment in organizations. In fact,
a number of scholars have called for work on this very subject
(e.g., Cortina, Kabat-Farr, Magley, & Nelson, 2017; Leiter, Lasch-
inger, Day, & Oore, 2011; Walsh & Magley, 2018). Existing
interventions have proven to be expensive and time-consuming
and have shown limited efficacy. In contrast, the psychology
literature has shown that gratitude interventions, in which feelings
of gratitude are purposefully cultivated (see Kaplan et al., 2014),
effectively promote stronger interpersonal relationships and
greater prosocial behavior (Lomas, Froh, Emmons, Mishra, &
Bono, 2014). We therefore reasoned that employees who partici-
pated in a gratitude intervention would subsequently mistreat other
organization members less frequently. What remains unclear in the
gratitude literature, however, is why a gratitude intervention might
reduce the occurrence of interpersonal mistreatment.
With the limitations of the mistreatment and gratitude literatures
in mind, the purpose of the present research is to examine the
efficacy of a gratitude intervention in reducing interpersonal work-
place mistreatment. Specifically, we test the influence of a 10-day
gratitude journaling intervention on workplace incivility, gossip,
and ostracism. Beyond decreasing mistreatment, the current study
also seeks to understand the mechanisms by which a gratitude
intervention might function. We propose and test theory-driven
mechanisms through which the gratitude intervention may influ-
ence interpersonal mistreatment. Specifically, we identify four
primary theories used to explain the effects of feeling grateful: the
moral affect theory of gratitude (McCullough, Kilpatrick, Em-
XLauren R. Locklear, Shannon G. Taylor, and Maureen L. Ambrose,
Department of Management, University of Central Florida.
The authors acknowledge Joel Koopman, Aaron McKenny, Marshall
Schminke, and Sharon Sheridan for their valuable input on prior versions
of this article. An earlier version of this work was accepted for presentation
at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Boston,
Massachusetts.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Lauren R. Locklear, Department of Management, University of Central
Florida, 12744 Pegasus Drive, Orlando, FL 32816. E-mail:
lauren.locklear@ucf.edu
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Journal of Applied Psychology
© 2020 American Psychological Association 2020, Vol. 2, No. 999, 000
ISSN: 0021-9010 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000825
1
mons, & Larson, 2001), find-remind-and-bind theory (Algoe,
2012), self-regulation theory (Baumeister, 1998), and social ex-
change theory (Blau, 1964). We examine the relative influence of
each in explaining the influence of a gratitude intervention on
workplace mistreatment. Finally, because theory and research sug-
gest a gratitude intervention’s effectiveness can vary based on
individual differences in norms regarding emotional expression
(Kelly & Barsade, 2001; Winslow et al., 2017), we identified
perceived gratitude norms (i.e., perceptions regarding the degree to
which organization members express gratitude to one another) as
a moderator variable that might establish an important boundary
condition on the intervention’s hypothesized effects. As shown in
Figure 1, our model explains why and when a gratitude interven-
tion will reduce workplace mistreatment.
This study contributes to the gratitude and workplace mistreat-
ment literatures in three ways. First, we investigate a novel way to
reduce interpersonal mistreatment in work organizations—namely,
through a gratitude journaling intervention. Despite repeated calls
to develop mechanisms to prevent or decrease workplace mistreat-
ment (e.g., Cortina et al., 2017; Schilpzand et al., 2016), scholars
have offered few solutions. By testing a simple intervention in the
form of a daily journaling exercise to reduce workplace incivility,
gossip, and ostracism, the present study could provide scholars and
managers a scientifically valid and practical way to reduce the
frequency with which mistreatment in organizations occurs.
Second, we develop and test a model that simultaneously ex-
plores four mechanisms by which gratitude influences mistreat-
ment. Our simultaneous consideration of multiple mediators al-
lows us to identify the mechanism(s) that account for the effects of
a gratitude intervention and their relative strength. Although moral
affect theory, find-remind-and-bind theory, self-regulation theory,
and social exchange theory have been offered as explanations for
the effects of a gratitude intervention, we provide the first empir-
ical test of these accounts. Specifically, we identify and measure
mediating variables representing each theory. We likewise provide
a constructive replication in a second study in which we explore
alternative indicators of each theory, where the same pattern of
results emerges. Currently, there are clear lines of discrepant
thought regarding the mechanisms underlying the influence of
gratitude. Our work advances understanding of gratitude interven-
tions by providing consensus (Hollenbeck, 2008) around the mech-
anism(s) responsible for the effects. Accounting for multiple me-
diating mechanisms also allows for strong inference (Platt, 1964)
and facilitates theory pruning (Leavitt, Mitchell, & Peterson,
2010). Our examination of mediators is likewise practically im-
portant because it reveals why gratitude interventions reduce
workplace mistreatment.
Finally, we develop and test hypotheses implicating perceived
gratitude norms as an important characteristic that can attenuate or
strengthen the intervention’s hypothesized effects. Identifying fac-
tors that diminish or enhance the effectiveness of gratitude inter-
ventions will clarify the nature and limits of their efficacy. Doing
so is also important practically because our findings suggest a way
for organizations to further enhance the effectiveness of gratitude
interventions. Moreover, we respond to calls to investigate bound-
ary conditions that qualify gratitude interventions’ effects (Em-
mons & Mishra, 2011). Collectively, our study offers evidence to
suggest that a gratitude intervention reduces workplace incivility,
gossip, and ostracism by enhancing self-control resources, and that
these effects are especially pronounced for individuals who per-
ceive gratitude norms in their workplace to be high.
Theoretical Background and Hypotheses
Defining Gratitude
Although gratitude has a long history in psychology (Emmons
& McCullough, 2004), research has only recently been integrated
into the management domain. Two types of gratitude are relevant
to organizational experiences: state gratitude and trait gratitude.
State gratitude refers to a feeling of appreciation in response to an
experience that is beneficial to, but not attributable to, the self
(Emmons & McCullough, 2004). That is, individuals experience
momentary feelings of gratitude in response to kindnesses or
benefits received from others (McCullough et al., 2001). Trait
gratitude is a stable tendency to recognize and respond with
Figure 1. Proposed conceptual model.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
2LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
grateful emotion to the role of other people’s benevolence in the
positive experiences and outcomes that one obtains (McCullough,
Emmons, & Tsang, 2002). Because a gratitude journaling exercise
asks individuals to recall events and experiences for which they are
grateful, it should cultivate feelings of state gratitude. Empirical
examinations of gratitude interventions typically check the effi-
cacy of the intervention by determining whether it elevated par-
ticipants’ state gratitude (e.g., Emmons & McCullough, 2003;
Winslow et al., 2017).
Gratitude Interventions
Gratitude interventions are exercises used to increase individu-
als’ attention to the positive things in their lives. Various exercises
have been used to increase feelings of gratitude, in both clinical
and work settings. Gratitude was first manipulated by clinical
psychologists in patients with depression, posttraumatic stress
disorder, and sleep disturbances (Jackowska, Brown, Ronaldson,
& Steptoe, 2016; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Since
the early 2000s, however, the positive psychology movement has
brought gratitude interventions to the general population (Bono,
Emmons, & McCullough, 2004; Seligman et al., 2005). In a recent
meta-analysis of gratitude interventions, Davis et al. (2016) clas-
sified interventions into three categories: gratitude journals/lists,
behaviorally expressed gratitude, and psycho-educational gratitude
groups.
The gratitude journal/list category includes the “classic” grati-
tude intervention of writing a list of things for which one is
grateful. This category also includes the grateful contemplation
intervention, which involves not only listing things for which one
is grateful but also expressive writing about what an individual is
grateful for. Such expressive writing can include, for example,
musings about the reasons behind a kindness received. Grateful
contemplation can prompt thoughts about activities, events, peo-
ple, and material objects. Interventions in this category have been
shown to increase positive mood (Koo, Algoe, Wilson, & Gilbert,
2008; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003) and well-being
(Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008;
Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006).
Behaviorally expressed gratitude interventions involve instruct-
ing individuals to write a letter to a benefactor thanking them for
something, and then taking the letter to the benefactor and reading
it aloud to him or her (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010). Empirical
findings from this type of intervention showed greater positive
affect after treatment (Froh, Kashdan, Ozimkowski, & Miller,
2009; Seligman et al., 2005). These interventions are sometimes
referred to as gratitude letters (see Davis et al., 2016).
Finally, a few scholars have used psycho-educational groups
designed to promote gratitude (e.g., Froh et al., 2014; Owens &
Patterson, 2013; Perez, 2006). These groups generally use struc-
tured lesson plans to educate individuals about the situations that
elicit gratitude, such as intention to help, cost of helping to a
benefactor, and understanding benefits received from benefactors
(Froh et al., 2014). These group sessions use discussions, writing
assignments, and role-playing activities, and have demonstrated an
increase in state gratitude following the session.
In the current study, we utilize a gratitude list intervention for
four reasons. First, meta-analyses on the effectiveness of these
three types of interventions indicate that both gratitude lists and
gratitude letters were more effective at producing changes in
gratitude in participants than educational groups (Davis et al.,
2016). Second, research comparing gratitude lists and gratitude
letters found that gratitude lists affected a broader set of outcomes
than gratitude letters (O’Connell, O’Shea, & Gallagher, 2018).
Third, a qualitative review of the gratitude intervention literature
indicated that compared with gratitude lists, the effects of gratitude
letters are short lived (Wood et al., 2010). Finally, the mission of
the current study is to reduce mistreatment (i.e., incivility, gossip,
and ostracism) broadly, not just toward a single person, so an
intervention that is targeted more broadly—such as the gratitude
list—is most appropriate.
Gratitude and Interpersonal Mistreatment
Interpersonal mistreatment manifests in uncivil, gossiping, and
ostracizing behaviors (e.g., Cortina et al., 2017). Though these
forms of interpersonal mistreatment all reflect employee acts of
deviance, in that they violate norms for respect, they have been
shown to be both theoretically and empirically distinct (Brady,
Brown, & Liang, 2017; Ferris, Chen, & Lim, 2017; Tepper &
Henle, 2011). Incivility refers to rude and discourteous behaviors
that display a lack of regard for others (Andersson & Pearson,
1999). Gossip is negative evaluative talk about someone who is not
present (Brady et al., 2017). Ostracism refers to acts that ignore or
exclude others (Ferris, Brown, Berry, & Lian, 2008).
Some research has examined gratitude with respect to deviant or
counterproductive work behavior. Ford, Wang, Jin, and Eisen-
berger (2018), for instance, found that individuals who feel grat-
itude toward their organization on a given day report engaging in
fewer deviant behaviors directed at the organization that day (e.g.,
criticizing organizational policies, taking unnecessary breaks). Re-
search also shows that both trait and state gratitude inhibit destruc-
tive interpersonal behavior (e.g., DeWall, Lambert, Pond, Kash-
dan, & Fincham, 2012). Given that gratitude is associated with
improved interpersonal interaction (Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008)
and decreased deviance (e.g., Ford et al., 2018), we reasoned a
gratitude intervention should reduce workplace mistreatment. Be-
low we describe the core of our conceptual model—the mecha-
nisms that mediate the effects of a gratitude intervention on work-
place incivility, gossip, and ostracism.
Mediating Mechanisms
Most research examining gratitude interventions has not con-
sidered how or why the intervention affects outcomes. That is,
scholars have not assessed the theories and mediating mechanisms
that might explain why a gratitude intervention influences individ-
uals’ outcomes. For example, of the 26 gratitude intervention
studies included in Davis et al.’s (2016) meta-analysis, 16 did not
draw on or test theory. The remaining studies relied on the model
of sustainable happiness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade,
2005) to explain why interventions should predict outcomes such
as happiness and well-being, but they did not empirically test the
processes by which such interventions produce change in individ-
uals. Further, in the few studies that have tested the proposed
processes, gratitude researchers typically identify and test a single
theoretical mechanism (e.g., Emmons & McCullough, 2003). This
approach provides an incomplete understanding of the relationship
between gratitude and individual outcomes.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
3
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
Because gratitude intervention research lacks overarching the-
ory or theories to explain the effects of the intervention, we turned
to the broader gratitude literature to find theoretical rationale for
the effects of gratitude, and thereby gratitude interventions. Within
the growing body of gratitude research, scholars have offered
various theoretical explanations to understand how gratitude influ-
ences individual outcomes. Although some individual studies have
invoked other theories (e.g., affective events theory; Ford et al.,
2018), scholars have predominately relied on four theoretical ex-
planations for the influence of gratitude on employee outcomes:
the moral affect theory of gratitude (McCullough et al., 2001),
find-remind-and-bind theory (Algoe, 2012), resource perspectives
such as self-regulation theory (Baumeister, 1998), and social ex-
change theory (Blau, 1964).
1
In the following sections, we discuss
these four theoretical mechanisms and describe how they might
explain the relationship between a gratitude intervention and work-
place mistreatment.
Moral affect theory of gratitude. The moral affect theory of
gratitude conceptualizes gratitude as a “moral affect that is anal-
ogous to other moral emotions such as empathy and guilt” (Mc-
Cullough et al., 2001, p. 249). The theory suggests that gratitude
stimulates “behavior that is motivated out of concern for another
person” (p. 251). Thus, it is a theory of why gratitude produces
prosocial feelings and behavior. Indeed, scholars testing the theory
have frequently examined gratitude’s effects on prosocial behav-
iors such as helping (e.g., Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006) and organi-
zational citizenship behavior (e.g., Spence, Brown, Keeping, &
Lian, 2014).
Moral affect theory suggests gratitude serves to reduce interper-
sonal mistreatment by stimulating prosocial motivation (i.e., the
desire to benefit others; Grant, 2008a). That is, gratitude functions
as a motivator by prompting the grateful person to behave proso-
cially in the future, toward the benefactor and others. The theory
suggests grateful individuals are more likely to contribute to the
welfare of others in the future because prosocial motives become
more salient. Individuals’ desire to benefit others will increase
when they cultivate feelings of thanks and appreciation with a
gratitude intervention. Research supports the relationship between
gratitude and prosocial motivation. For example, Bartlett and
DeSteno (2006) demonstrated this link in a series of three exper-
iments. After being helped by a confederate, individuals in the
gratitude condition were more likely to help their benefactor
(Study 1) and strangers (Studies 2 and 3). Consistent with this
work, meta-analytic research has found that both dispositional and
state gratitude are related to prosociality, with state gratitude
having a stronger relationship overall than dispositional gratitude
(r.42 vs. r.30; Ma, Tunney, & Ferguson, 2017).
Because the moral affect theory of gratitude suggests gratitude
increases individuals’ prosocial motivation and prosocial behavior
toward the benefactor and others, we reasoned that this increased
prosocial motivation will inhibit motivations to act destructively
(i.e., engage in incivility, gossip, or ostracism) in the workplace.
When employees feel grateful at work, they are motivated to
contribute to the welfare of others and, therefore, are less likely to
put down coworkers, criticize them behind their backs, or exclude
them from conversations. In other words, because incivility, gos-
sip, and ostracism harm others’ well-being (Cortina et al., 2001;
Lim et al., 2008), gratitude should decrease interpersonal mistreat-
ment through its effect on prosocial motivation. Therefore, we
hypothesize the following:
Hypothesis 1 (H1): Prosocial motivation will mediate the
relationship between a gratitude intervention and (H1a) inci-
vility, (H1b) gossip, and (H1c) ostracism, such that the inter-
vention will increase prosocial motivation, which in turn will
decrease incivility, gossip, and ostracism.
Find-remind-and-bind theory. The find-remind-and-bind
theory of gratitude (Algoe, 2012) grew out of the relationships
literature. This theory posits that gratitude is an evolutionary
emotion that serves to form, sustain, and strengthen important
relationships in one’s life. As such, find-remind-and-bind theory
suggests gratitude does not simply generate expectations of repay-
ment but instead fosters close interpersonal relationships (Algoe,
2012). Specifically, the theory suggest gratitude can help individ-
uals find valuable relationship partners who were previously un-
noticed and remind them of the good relationships already in their
lives. Finally, gratitude serves to bind individuals by strengthening
interpersonal relationships.
When individuals notice that another person has been respon-
sive to them (i.e., given them a benefit for which they felt grateful),
the resulting gratitude “signals that the person understands, ap-
proves, or cares about” them (Algoe, 2012, p. 456). This signal of
caring promotes interpersonal bonds. In essence, this finding,
reminding, and binding brings individuals closer to relationship
partners. Accordingly, empirical investigations of the theory often
focus on relationship closeness (e.g., Algoe & Haidt, 2009; Algoe
et al., 2008; Kok et al., 2013). Relationship closeness is concep-
tualized as the strength of the emotional bond between two people
(Dibble, Levine, & Park, 2012). Across several relationship part-
ners (e.g., coworkers), strong emotional bonds fostered by feelings
of gratitude enable individuals to build a network of valued rela-
tionships (Parks & Floyd, 1996).
Tests of find-remind-and-bind theory have found consistent
support for the idea that gratitude strengthens relational bonds
(Algoe, 2012; Algoe, Kurtz, & Hilaire, 2016). For example, lab-
oratory research has demonstrated that gratitude expressions be-
tween romantic partners predict improvements in relationships
over six months (Algoe, Fredrickson, & Gable, 2013). Other work
shows that gratitude promotes relationship building through be-
havioral mimicry (i.e., nonconsciously mimicking a partner’s be-
havior), which serves to increase affiliation (Jia, Tong, & Lee,
2014). Another study examined gratitude between active sorority
members and their “little sisters” (i.e., new sorority members)
during orientation week. Results indicated that gratitude felt by
little sisters during their early initiation period predicted future
1
In reviewing the gratitude literature in applied psychology (n71
studies), we noted all theoretical perspectives used by authors to explain
their hypothesized relationships and then classified the specific theories or
frameworks used into broader theoretical categories. Doing so led to the
identification of these four perspectives as having received the most
theoretical and empirical attention in the literature: find-remind-and-bind
theory (appearing in 27% of articles), social exchange theory (17%),
resource theories (15%), and moral affect theory (10%). Affective/
emotion-based theories were also utilized in 10% of the articles, but this
was often in conjunction with one of the other dominant theories. Thus, we
focused on these four dominant theoretical perspectives.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
4LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
relationship closeness with their big sisters (i.e., the active sorority
members; Algoe et al., 2008).
The find-remind-and-bind theory of gratitude suggests individ-
uals who participate in a gratitude intervention will develop closer
relationships with colleagues than those individuals not exposed to
such an intervention. It stands to reason that poor interpersonal
closeness can drive rudeness, ostracism, and gossip, whereas feel-
ing closer to coworkers will decrease these forms of mistreatment.
Thus, we predict that employees who engage in a gratitude inter-
vention will feel closer relational bonds with other organization
members, which will decrease the frequency with which these
employees engage in uncivil behavior, gossip, and ostracism to-
ward them. Therefore, we hypothesize the following:
Hypothesis 2 (H2): Relationship closeness will mediate the
relationship between a gratitude intervention and (H2a) inci-
vility, (H2b) gossip, and (H2c) ostracism, such that the inter-
vention will increase relationship closeness, which will in turn
decrease incivility, gossip, and ostracism.
Self-regulation theory. Self-regulation theory (Baumeister,
1998) suggests that self-control resources influence individuals’
behavior. Self-control resources are “the nonmotivational cogni-
tive resources serving as an upper boundary on the effort that can
be expended in thwarting a desire” (Lian, Yam, Ferris, & Brown,
2017, p. 706). These resources affect the reactions and impulses of
individuals, enabling people to modify their responses to work-
place events, including changing their behaviors to follow social
norms and other standards (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, &
Tice, 1998). Some situations drain self-control resources, which
are limited and vulnerable to deterioration. At the same time, other
situations may help individuals replenish and regain self-
regulatory resources (Baumeister, Vohs, & Tice, 2007).
Because various workplace demands serve to deplete resources
(Schmidt, Neubach, & Heuer, 2007), an exercise to recover self-
regulatory resources would be beneficial to improve employee
outcomes during the workday. Scholars have begun to examine
what restores self-control resources (see Lian et al., 2017), and
though much of this research has focused on rest and recovery,
certain intentional activities have also been shown to replenish
self-control (e.g., online therapy; Barnes, Miller, & Bostock,
2017). A recent review of resource-building interventions ex-
plained that resources can be replenished through gratitude inter-
ventions by boosting resources immediately and by producing
long-lasting resource increases through changes in behavior (Gil-
bert, Foulk, & Bono, 2018). Gratitude interventions boost re-
sources because they are designed to “push people to attend
consciously to the positive aspects of their lives, counteracting
negative attentional biases and hedonic adaptation” (Gilbert et al.,
2018, p. 218). When individuals perceive the world through a
grateful lens, resources are both protected and built because atten-
tion has been directed toward the positive and away from the
negative (Lian et al., 2017; Woolum, Foulk, Lanaj, & Erez, 2017).
We therefore suggest that a gratitude intervention will increase
self-control resources. As empirical evidence demonstrates that
resource loss can lead to negative interpersonal behaviors like
incivility, gossip, and ostracism (Meier & Gross, 2015; Rosen,
Koopman, Gabriel, & Johnson, 2016; van Jaarsveld, Walker, &
Skarlicki, 2010), we predict that a gratitude intervention can re-
duce interpersonal mistreatment through its ability to increase
self-control resources. Stated formally, we hypothesize the follow-
ing:
Hypothesis 3 (H3): Self-control resources will mediate the
relationship between a gratitude intervention and (H3a) inci-
vility, (H3b) gossip, and (H3c) ostracism, such that the inter-
vention will increase self-control resources, which will in turn
decrease incivility, gossip, and ostracism.
Social exchange theory. Research on gratitude focuses on its
role in developing exchange relationships through the recognition
and reciprocation of benefits (e.g., DeSteno, Bartlett, Baumann,
Williams, & Dickens, 2010; Ng, 2016). This exchange of benefits
reflects principles expressed in social exchange theory. Social
exchanges are a series of interactions between partners that gen-
erate obligations (Emerson, 1976), but these obligations are gen-
erally unspecified (Blau, 1964).
Although there are several ways to conceptualize the quality of
social exchange relationships, we focus on perceptions of organi-
zational support (POS), which reflect employee beliefs regarding
the extent to which the organization values their contributions and
cares about their well-being (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison,
& Sowa, 1986). We focus on POS because gratitude is not just
targeted at people; individuals can also feel grateful for their job
and employer (Greenbaum, Bonner, Gray, & Mawritz, 2020).
Moreover, employees tend to view actions by organization mem-
bers as actions of the organization itself (Eisenberger et al., 1986;
Levinson, 1965). We therefore felt a gratitude intervention would
affect the quality of the social exchange between an employee and
the organization as a whole.
Drawing on the norm of reciprocity, social exchange theory
maintains that employees who perceive organizational support feel
obligated to reciprocate toward the organization and are likely to
return that support by acting in the organization’s best interests
(Eisenberger et al., 1986). Because gratitude interventions encour-
age employees to focus on benefits (e.g., support) received from
the organization and its members, such interventions should en-
hance perceptions of organizational support. Gratitude interven-
tions might also enhance POS because they help individuals rec-
ognize the value and cost of the support they receive (Wood,
Maltby, Stewart, Linley, & Joseph, 2008).
Empirical research supports a link between gratitude and per-
ceived support. Although Ford et al. (2018) found that POS pre-
dicts gratitude, most gratitude literature proposes and demonstrates
that gratitude is an antecedent of perceptions of support, a rela-
tionship that has been replicated in multiple samples and countries
(e.g., Chen, 2013; Kong, Ding, & Zhao, 2015; Wood, Maltby,
Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008). For instance, research has found
that gratitude leads to perceptions of social support in adolescent
students (Froh et al., 2009) and that feelings of gratitude influence
subsequent perceptions of social support over three months in
women with metastatic breast cancer (Algoe & Stanton, 2012).
In all, social exchange theory suggests when employees appre-
ciate how they are treated at work, they are likely to feel obligated
to return this behavior in kind and to avoid behaviors that belie this
support. Conversely, the theory predicts that individuals who per-
ceive their organization is unsupportive will respond with negative
reciprocative behavior, such as incivility, gossip, and ostracism
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
5
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
(Colquitt, Baer, Long, & Halvorsen-Ganepola, 2014). We there-
fore hypothesize the following:
Hypothesis 4 (H4): POS will mediate the relationship between
a gratitude intervention and (H4a) incivility, (H4b) gossip, and
(H4c) ostracism, such that the intervention will increase POS,
which will in turn decrease incivility, gossip, and ostracism.
The Moderating Role of Perceived Gratitude Norms
Although we predict that gratitude interventions should reduce
incivility, gossip, and ostracism through various mechanisms, the
effectiveness of gratitude interventions may vary as a function of
individual and situational differences (Delvaux, Vanbeselaere, &
Mesquita, 2015; Winslow et al., 2017). Whereas several factors
could influence (i.e., moderate) a gratitude intervention’s effects, a
large body of research demonstrates that organizational norms
about emotions guide employees’ emotional experience and ex-
pression (Kelly & Barsade, 2001) and socialize employees to
adjust their emotional expressions accordingly (e.g., Diefendorff,
Erickson, Grandey, & Dahling, 2011). Workplace norms can sim-
ilarly govern employees’ expression of gratitude (e.g., Ashforth &
Humphrey, 1995; Emmons & Mishra, 2011; Rash, Matsuba, &
Prkachin, 2011). We therefore investigate whether the proposed
indirect effects of a gratitude intervention in reducing incivility,
gossip, and ostracism depend on perceived gratitude norms—that
is, individuals’ perceptions regarding the degree to which other
organization members express gratitude to one another.
There are two opposing views regarding how perceived grati-
tude norms could moderate the effects of a gratitude intervention.
On one hand, McCullough, Tsang, and Emmons (2004) suggest a
“conductance hypothesis,” whereby individuals who are disposed
toward gratitude, as one would be in a context where gratitude is
the norm, are likely to be more responsive to the effects of a
gratitude intervention. According to this perspective, individuals
who work in organizations where gratitude is the norm are more
attuned to gratitude-relevant experiences and thus would better
appreciate the intervention. Providing some support for this view,
Emmons and Mishra (2011) suggested that individuals who fre-
quently experience gratitude better recognize benefits they receive
from others. From the conductance hypothesis, one would expect
that when individuals observe others express gratitude frequently
(i.e., when perceived gratitude norms are high), a gratitude inter-
vention is more strongly associated with the hypothesized media-
tors than it would be among individuals who perceive gratitude
norms in the workplace are lower. This perspective suggests the
indirect effects of a gratitude intervention on workplace mistreat-
ment will be stronger when perceived gratitude norms are high and
weaker when such norms are low.
On the other hand, McCullough et al. (2004) offered a compet-
ing view, referred to as the “resistance hypothesis.” This view
suggests individuals who work in organizations where gratitude is
the norm already experience the world through a lens of gratitude
and, hence, an intervention designed to draw additional attention to
positive experiences will not produce further benefits (i.e., they are
resistant to the intervention’s effects). Indirectly supporting this
perspective, Rash et al. (2011) found that a gratitude intervention
enhanced well-being more among individuals who were low in
trait gratitude than among their more dispositionally grateful coun-
terparts. Thus, on the basis of this perspective, one would antici-
pate that a gratitude intervention is more likely to reduce mistreat-
ment (through its effects on the proposed mechanisms) when an
individual perceives relatively few expressions of gratitude among
organization members (i.e., when perceived gratitude norms are
low). In contrast to the conductance perspective, the resistance
hypothesis suggests that among individuals who perceive that
gratitude norms are high, the intervention’s indirect effects in
reducing mistreatment would be weaker. Considering these oppos-
ing views and the limited empirical evidence, we offer competing
hypotheses regarding the influence that perceived gratitude norms
might have on a gratitude intervention’s effectiveness in reducing
workplace mistreatment. Specifically, we propose a form of mod-
erated mediation (Hayes, 2017) in which the first stage of the
indirect effects—that is, between the gratitude intervention and the
hypothesized mediators—varies according to differences in per-
ceived gratitude norms.
Hypothesis 5 (H5): Perceived gratitude norms will moderate
the indirect effects of a gratitude intervention on workplace
mistreatment through (H5a) prosocial motivation, (H5b) rela-
tionship closeness, (H5c) self-control resources, and (H5d)
POS, such that the first stage of the indirect effects will be
strong and positive among individuals who perceive higher
norms for gratitude in their workplace and weaker among
those who perceive lower gratitude norms.
Hypothesis 6 (H6): Perceived gratitude norms will moderate
the indirect effects of a gratitude intervention on workplace
mistreatment through (H6a) prosocial motivation, (H6b) rela-
tionship closeness, (H6c) self-control resources, and (H6d)
POS, such that the first stage of the indirect effects will be
strong and positive among individuals who perceive lower
norms for gratitude in their workplace and weaker among
those who perceive higher gratitude norms.
Overview of Studies
We tested our hypotheses in two randomized field experiments
involving a 10-day gratitude journaling intervention. In Study 1,
we tested whether the intervention influenced uncivil behavior
through its effects on the hypothesized mediating mechanisms. It
therefore allowed us to partially test H1 through H4. In Study 2 we
assessed the intervention’s effects on incivility, gossip, and ostra-
cism, and whether the proposed indirect effects were moderated by
perceived gratitude norms. In doing so, we tested our full concep-
tual model as specified in H1 through H6. Both studies were
approved by the University of Central Florida Institutional Review
Board (Project title: “Influence of Daily Journaling on Employee
Behavior”; Project no.: SBE-18 –13777).
Study 1
Method
Sample and procedure. We used a panel management com-
pany (ROI Rocket, Denver, CO) to recruit participants. To be
eligible for the study, participants were required to be at least 18
years old, live in North America, work at least 20 hr per week, and
interact with organization members at least weekly. Participants
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
6LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
were predominately Caucasian (63.5%) and female (59.0%). The
average job tenure was 10 years (SD 8.7).
We collected data over a 2-week period. At Time 1 (T1),
employees completed an online survey assessing baseline mea-
sures. Participants were then randomly assigned to conditions
using a random number generator. Once assigned to a condition,
participants completed a journaling exercise at the end of each
workday (Monday through Friday) for 2 weeks. Participants were
sent a survey link via e-mail each day at 3:00 p.m. and were
instructed to journal about their workday. Survey links closed at
11:59 p.m. As in prior work on gratitude interventions (e.g.,
Emmons & McCullough, 2003), participants were required to
complete at least 80% of their journals to be included in the study.
Following the final journal entry on Day 10, participants com-
pleted the Time 2 (T2) survey, which assessed mediators and our
manipulation check. These measures referenced participants feel-
ings and attitudes over the last 2 weeks (i.e., during the interven-
tion).
The T2 survey also asked participants to provide the name and
contact information of a coworker. The following week, we invited
participants’ coworkers to complete a survey reporting on the
employee’s uncivil behavior over the last 2 weeks (ensuring the
time reference of incivility was not before the mediating mecha-
nisms). After matching employee and coworker data and account-
ing for attrition, the final sample was 147 matched employee-
coworker pairs (see online supplemental material). An a priori
power analysis using G
Power (Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, & Buchner,
2007) indicated that 120 participants (60 individuals in each
group) were necessary to detect the expected effects.
Intervention manipulation. Participants were randomly as-
signed to one of two experimental conditions. In the gratitude
condition, participants were given the following instructions,
which utilize gratitude lists, as adapted from Emmons and Mc-
Cullough (2003) and Kaplan et al. (2014):
Try to think about the many things in your job/work, both large and
small, for which you are grateful. These might include supportive
work relationships, sacrifices or contributions that others have made
for you, advantages or opportunities at work, or thankfulness for the
opportunity to have your job in general. Think back over the day and
write down on the lines below the events that you are grateful or
thankful for and why. Try to think of new ideas that you have not
focused on in the past.
In the control condition, participants were given the following
instructions, also adapted from Emmons and McCullough (2003)
and Kaplan et al. (2014):
Try to think about the many things in your job/work, both large and
small, that affected you today. These might include work relation-
ships, projects, or your job in general. Think back over the day and
write down on the lines below the events that had an impact on you
and why. Try to think of new ideas that you have not focused on in the
past.
Measures.
Manipulation check. Following prior work (e.g., Emmons &
McCullough, 2003; Winslow et al., 2017), we checked our ma-
nipulation by assessing state gratitude postintervention using the
three-item gratitude adjective checklist (McCullough et al., 2002).
We asked participants to report the extent to which they felt
“grateful,” “thankful,” and “appreciative” over the last 2 weeks
(i.e., during the intervention). Items were anchored on a five-point
response scale (1 none at all,5a great deal).
Prosocial motivation. Consistent with prior research, we used
prosocial motivation as our operationalization of moral affect
theory (Naito, Wangwan, & Tani, 2005; Wangwan, 2014). Using
Grant and Berry’s (2011) measure, participants indicated how
prosocially motivated they were to do their work over the last 2
weeks by responding to four statements (␣⫽.95) using a Likert
response format ranging from 1 (strongly disagree)to7(strongly
agree). A sample item is “Because I cared about benefiting others
through my work.”
Relationship closeness. Following prior research (e.g., Algoe
et al., 2008), we operationalized find-remind-and-bind theory by
measuring relationship closeness.
2
We measured relationship
closeness with four items (␣⫽.94) from the 11-item measure
developed by Dibble et al. (2012). These four items were chosen
because other items were inappropriate for work relationships.
These items were determined to best represent relationship close-
ness in a work setting, as demonstrated by confirmatory factor
analysis (CFA) from a pilot test (details available upon request).
Items were anchored on a seven-point scale (1 strongly dis-
agree,7strongly agree) and referenced the last 2 weeks. An
example item is “My relationships with my coworkers were close.”
Self-control resources. Self-control resources were assessed
with a five-item (␣⫽.87) version of Twenge, Muraven, and
Tice’s (2004) Self Control Capacity Scale (see Johnson, Lanaj, &
Barnes, 2014; Yam, Fehr, Keng-Highberger, Klotz, & Reynolds,
2016). This measure assessed perceptions of the availability of
self-control resources over the last 2 weeks (1 very slightly or
not at all,5very much). The scale was coded so that higher
scores reflect greater self-control resources. A sample item is “It
would take a lot of effort for me to concentrate on something”
(reverse-scored).
POS. As is common in applied psychology (Colquitt et al.,
2014), we assessed the mediating role of social exchange quality
by measuring POS. Following Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002),
we assessed POS with the three-item version of Eisenberger et al.’s
(1986) measure (␣⫽.90). Items were anchored on a seven-point
scale (1 strongly disagree,7strongly agree) and referenced
the last 2 weeks. A sample item is “The organization valued my
contribution to its well-being.”
Incivility. Coworkers were asked to indicate how frequently
the focal employee engaged in uncivil behaviors in the last 2
weeks (i.e., postintervention) using the four-item (␣⫽.95) mea-
sure developed by Lim and Cortina (2005). An example item is
“How often in the last 2 weeks has your coworker put down others
or been condescending to others in some way?” Items were an-
chored on a five-point response scale (0 never,4most of the
time).
Control variables. To examine the change in each of the
mediators, we controlled for baseline (T1) mediators using the
same measures as reported above. Including the controls did not
2
To test find-remind-and-bind theory, scholars have also examined
relationship quality. Because we strove to ensure our mediators were
conceptually and empirically distinct (Preacher & Hayes, 2008), we elected
not to assess relationship quality, which might overlap both conceptually
and empirically with indicators of social exchange (Colquitt et al., 2014).
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
7
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
change the direction of effects or significance levels. We nonethe-
less retained the controls to demonstrate the intervention’s incre-
mental validity (i.e., beyond the baseline measures).
Results and Discussion
Manipulation checks. To ensure the gratitude intervention
elicited responses of gratitude over and above that of the control
condition, we checked the manipulation by examining differences
in state gratitude at T2. State gratitude is commonly used as a
manipulation check (see Emmons & McCullough, 2003). An in-
dependent samples ttest found a significant difference in postin-
tervention state gratitude, t(169) ⫽⫺3.90, p.001, between the
gratitude condition (M4.17) and the control condition (M
3.62).
We also checked the manipulation by content analyzing the
individual journal entries for number of gratitude expressions. To
do so, we used CAT Scanner (McKenny & Short, 2012) because
it was developed by management researchers and has been used to
analyze many management constructs (McKenny, Aguinis, Short,
& Anglin, 2018). The dictionary to analyze gratitude expressions
(see Table 1) was created and validated for the purposes of this
study, following the recommendations of Short, Broberg, Cogliser,
and Brigham (2010). A gratitude expression was counted each
time a word in the dictionary was used in a journal entry. An
independent samples ttest was significant, t(135) ⫽⫺8.15, p
.001, revealing that the gratitude condition elicited more gratitude
expressions (M13.87) than the control condition (M0.41).
Finally, we wanted to rule out the possibility that the gratitude
intervention’s effects were explained by the degree to which
entries were positive or negative in nature. This test is important
because some gratitude interventions have been criticized on the
grounds that the control condition stimulates negative feelings or
complaints (Davis et al., 2016). We therefore examined the degree
of positive and negative tone found in the journal entries, using
validated dictionaries created by Henry (2008). Positive tone was
indicated by words like “positive,” “accomplish,” and “high,”
whereas negative tone was indicated with words such as “nega-
tive,” “fail,” and “worst.” Results showed no significant differ-
ences in positive tone, t(135) 0.95, p.36, or negative tone,
t(135) 1.73, p.09, between the two conditions. Additionally,
positive and negative tone were not significantly related to grati-
tude expressions (r.10 for positive tone; r.07 for negative
tone, both ns). Therefore, the effects of the intervention were not
explained by differences in tone of the content represented in the
journals of each group.
The results of these analyses demonstrate that the gratitude
intervention does not change the kind (positive/negative) of reflec-
tion in which individuals engage. That is, individuals in the grat-
itude and control conditions wrote about an equivalent number of
positive and negative things in their jobs. Collectively, the results
show that the manipulation was successful in eliciting gratitude
and that the control condition was a neutral alternative to the
gratitude condition.
Preliminary analyses. Means, standard deviations, alpha re-
liability coefficients, and zero-order correlations appear in Table 2.
CFA results indicated that a five-factor model (prosocial motiva-
tion, relationship closeness, self-control resources, POS, and inci-
vility) fit the data,
2
(160) 291.82, CFI .97, RMSEA .05,
SRMR .04, and fit better (ps.05) than a one-factor model and
four-factor models in which any of the two mediators were com-
bined.
Tests of indirect effects. To test H1 through H4, we used
multiple mediation analyses as outlined by Hayes (2017) using
Mplus 8.0 (Muthén & Muthén, 2017). Hypotheses were tested
using 10,000 bootstrapped samples and 95% bias-corrected and
accelerated confidence intervals. Our hypotheses proposed that a
gratitude intervention would decrease incivility through the mech-
anisms of prosocial motivation (H1), relationship closeness (H2),
self-control resources (H3), and perceived organizational support
(H4). Table 3 shows the results for the multiple mediation analy-
ses. Results demonstrated the indirect effect of the gratitude inter-
vention via prosocial motivation was not significant, as the con-
fidence interval contained zero (ab ⫽⫺.01, 95% CI [.04, .00]).
Thus, H1 was not supported. Results similarly indicated a nonsig-
nificant indirect effect through relationship closeness (ab .00,
95% CI [.04, .03]). Thus, H2 was not supported. However,
results revealed support for H3; the confidence interval for the
indirect effect via self-control resources did not contain zero
(ab ⫽⫺.10, 95% CI [.20, .01]). Finally, H4 predicted that
POS would carry the influence of a gratitude intervention to
incivility. This hypothesis was not supported, as the indirect effect
was not significant (ab .02, 95% CI [.01, .08]).
Study 2
Method
Sample and procedure. The procedures for Study 2 were
largely the same as those used in Study 1. As in Study 1, we used
ROI Rocket to collect data. The company assigns each panel
member an internal identification number to maintain anonymity.
We used these identification numbers to verify that no panel
member participated in both studies. Data were collected over a
2-week period in which employees first completed a survey as-
sessing baseline measures and our hypothesized moderator (grat-
itude norms), and then completed a 10-day journaling exercise at
Table 1
Gratitude Expressions Dictionary Used for Content Analysis
Gratitude expression
Grateful
Gratitude
Gracious
Gratified
Gratefulness
Thankful
Thanks
Thank
Thanking
Thanked
Appreciative
Appreciate
Appreciated
Appreciates
Appreciating
Appreciation
Recognition
Pleased
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
8LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
the end of each workday (Monday through Friday). Again, partic-
ipants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental condi-
tions, which were identical to those used in Study 1. As in Study
1, the T2 employee survey (which assessed mediators and re-
quested coworker contact information) was distributed on Day 10
of the intervention, immediately after participants completed the
final journal entry. And again, the mediators were measured with
reference to the last 2 weeks. Unlike Study 1, however, in Study 2
we distributed the coworker survey two weeks after the T2 em-
ployee survey. To further ensure temporal separation of mediators
and outcomes, we asked coworkers to report on the employee’s
behavior over the last 2 weeks. After matching employee and
coworker data and accounting for attrition, the final sample was
204 matched employee-coworker pairs (see online supplemental
material). Participants were predominately Caucasian (78.6%) and
female (67.4%). The average job tenure was 8.3 years (SD 6.7).
Measures. We used the same measures from Study 1 to assess
prosocial motivation (␣⫽.93), relationship closeness (␣⫽.94),
self-control resources (␣⫽.90), POS (␣⫽.91), and incivility
(␣⫽.94). We likewise checked our manipulation with the same
measure of state gratitude (␣⫽.92) used in Study 1. We measured
additional variables as follows.
Gossip. We used Brady et al.’s (2017) five-item (␣⫽.96)
measure to assess negative workplace gossip about coworkers.
Coworkers were asked to indicate how frequently (1 never,7
more than once per day) the focal employee engaged in gossip
over the last 2 weeks (i.e., postintervention). An example item is
“How often in the last 2 weeks has your coworker criticized a
coworker while talking to another work colleague?”
Ostracism. We assessed ostracism with Ferris et al.’s (2008)
measure (␣⫽.96). Coworkers were asked to indicate how fre-
quently (1 never,5always) the focal employee ostracized
others over the last 2 weeks (i.e., postintervention). An example
item is “How often in the last 2 weeks has your coworker shut
others out of the conversation?”
Perceived gratitude norms. We adapted an existing validated
measure of gratitude expressions (Sheridan, 2017) to assess per-
ceived gratitude norms. Items (␣⫽.93) were adapted to reflect
perceptions of the extent to which other organization members
express gratitude (instead of the respondent). Using a five-point
response scale (1 never,5always), participants reported how
often members of their organization “express their appreciation to
one another,” “thank one another,” “provide recognition when
someone does something nice,” “publicly express gratitude to one
another,” and “do nice things to express their thanks to one
another.” Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses from a
series of pilot tests (details available upon request) demonstrated a
Table 2
Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations Among Study 1 Variables (n 175)
Variable MSD 1234567891011
1. Experimental condition 0.50 0.50
2. Prosocial motivation T2 5.79 1.12 .07 (.95)
3. Relationship closeness T2 5.49 1.21 .18
ⴱⴱ
.59
ⴱⴱ
(.94)
4. Self-control resources T2 2.21 1.01 .05 .26
ⴱⴱ
.22
ⴱⴱ
(.87)
5. POS T2 4.02 0.95 .10 .51
ⴱⴱ
.58
ⴱⴱ
.37
ⴱⴱ
(.90)
6. Coworker-rated incivility 1.46 0.83 .07 .10 .04 .51
ⴱⴱ
.10 (.95)
7. State gratitude T2 3.96 0.91 .27
ⴱⴱ
.40
ⴱⴱ
.45
ⴱⴱ
.28
ⴱⴱ
.44
ⴱⴱ
.02 (.93)
8. Prosocial motivation T1 5.88 0.96 .00 .60
ⴱⴱ
.44
ⴱⴱ
.35
ⴱⴱ
.37
ⴱⴱ
.31
ⴱⴱ
.33
ⴱⴱ
(.93)
9. Relationship closeness T1 5.35 1.13 .05 .43
ⴱⴱ
.65
ⴱⴱ
.18
ⴱⴱ
.43
ⴱⴱ
.10 .31
ⴱⴱ
.42
ⴱⴱ
(.92)
10. Self-control resources T1 2.23 0.91 .11
ⴱⴱ
.24
ⴱⴱ
.17
ⴱⴱ
.57
ⴱⴱ
.35
ⴱⴱ
.37
ⴱⴱ
.19
ⴱⴱ
.32
ⴱⴱ
.22
ⴱⴱ
(.83)
11. POS T1 4.05 0.88 .00 .38
ⴱⴱ
.46
ⴱⴱ
.33
ⴱⴱ
.66
ⴱⴱ
.14 .33
ⴱⴱ
.40
ⴱⴱ
.60
ⴱⴱ
.34
ⴱⴱ
(.89)
Note. Reliability coefficients are shown on the diagonal in parentheses. Experimental condition: 0 control, 1 gratitude. POS perceived
organizational support.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
Table 3
Direct and Indirect Effects of Gratitude Intervention on Workplace Incivility: Study 1 (n 147)
Mediator (Time 2)
Decomposed effects
Partial effects of
controls on
M(SE) Indirect effects
R
2
abccTime 1 mediator Boot ab BCa CI
Dependent variable Incivility
Prosocial motivation .13 (.09) .06 (.05) .10 (.12) .19 (.12) .71 (.07)
ⴱⴱ
.01 (.01) [.04, .00] .53
ⴱⴱ
Relationship closeness .24 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.00 (.06) .10 (.12) .19 (.12) .75 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.00 (.02) [.04, .03] .53
ⴱⴱ
Self-control resources .16 (.07)
ⴱⴱ
.65 (.12)
ⴱⴱ
.10 (.12) .19 (.12) .74 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.10 (.05)
[.20, .01] .53
ⴱⴱ
POS .11 (.07) .19 (.09)
.10 (.12) .19 (.12) .87 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.02 (.02) [.01, .08] .53
ⴱⴱ
Note. Reported results control for baseline mediators. Boot ab refers to bootstrapped indirect effect; bootstrap sample size 10,000. Unstandardized
regression coefficients reported are based on bias-corrected and accelerated 95% confidence intervals (BCa CIs). BCa CIs that do not include zero indicate
support for indirect effects. After inclusion of baseline mediators, R
2
.02. POS perceived organizational support.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
9
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
unidimensional factor structure, measure reliability, and construct
validity.
Control variables. As in Study 1, we controlled for baseline
(T1) mediators using the same measures reported above. Although
including them did not substantially affect the results of hypothesis
tests, we retained them to demonstrate the incremental variance
explained by the intervention.
Results and Discussion
Manipulation checks. As in Study 1, we checked the manip-
ulation by examining postintervention differences in state grati-
tude. An independent samples ttest found a significant difference
in state gratitude, t(452) ⫽⫺4.57, p.001, between the gratitude
condition (M4.07) and the control condition (M3.68). Thus,
the manipulation was successful in eliciting gratitude. We also
checked the manipulation by content analyzing the journal entries
for number of gratitude expressions and positive and negative tone.
Results confirmed that the gratitude intervention was successful in
eliciting gratitude and that there was no significant difference in
tone between the experimental and control groups.
Preliminary analyses. Descriptive statistics and bivariate cor-
relations among Study 2 variables appear in Table 4. CFA demon-
strated that an eight-factor model (prosocial motivation, relationship
closeness, self-control resources, POS, incivility, gossip, ostracism,
and gratitude norms) fit the data,
2
(674) 1308.85, CFI .93,
RMSEA .05, SRMR .06, and fit better (ps.05) than seven-
factor models in which any two dependent variables were combined,
seven-factor models in which any two mediators were combined, and
a three-factor model in which all three dependent variables were
combined and all four mediators were combined.
Tests of indirect effects. We tested H1 through H4 using the
same analyses as in Study 1. We tested whether a gratitude
intervention would decrease incivility, gossip, and ostracism
through the mechanisms of prosocial motivation (H1), relationship
closeness (H2), self-control resources (H3), and POS (H4). Table
5 shows results for the multiple mediation analyses. As in Study 1,
the indirect effects through prosocial motivation and relationship
closeness were not significant. Although the confidence intervals
surrounding the indirect effects on incivility and gossip via POS
did not contain zero, the effects were not in the predicted direction.
Thus, H1, H2, and H4 were not supported. Results did reveal
support for H3, however, as the confidence intervals for the
indirect effects via self-control resources did not contain zero for
incivility (ab ⫽⫺.08, 95% CI [.17, .03]), gossip (ab ⫽⫺.11,
95% CI [.22, .03]), or ostracism (ab ⫽⫺.04, 95% CI
[.10, .01]). Of course, these results need to be considered in the
context of the conditional indirect effects.
Tests of conditional indirect effects. We hypothesized that
perceived gratitude norms would moderate the proposed indirect
effects such that the impact of the intervention could be either
stronger (H5) or weaker (H6) for individuals who perceive strong
norms for gratitude. To test these hypotheses, we used moderated
multiple mediation in Mplus 8.0, again estimating conditional
indirect effects and bias-corrected and accelerated 95% confidence
intervals from 10,000 bootstrapped samples.
As seen in Table 6, bootstrapping results revealed that the
indirect effects of the gratitude intervention on the three mistreat-
ment outcomes were not significantly different from zero at low or
Table 4
Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations Among Study 2 Variables (n 233)
Variable MSD 1234567891011121314
1. Experimental condition 0.51 0.50
2. Prosocial motivation T2 5.71 1.18 .10
(.93)
3. Relationship closeness T2 5.31 1.31 .20
ⴱⴱ
.61
ⴱⴱ
(.94)
4. Self-control resources T2 2.54 1.06 .16
ⴱⴱ
.17
ⴱⴱ
.24
ⴱⴱ
(.90)
5. POS T2 3.65 1.06 .16
ⴱⴱ
.53
ⴱⴱ
.63
ⴱⴱ
.35
ⴱⴱ
(.91)
6. Incivility T3 1.61 1.00 .03 .01 .07 .35
ⴱⴱ
.09 (.94)
7. Gossip T3 1.80 1.30 .09 .05 .00 .36
ⴱⴱ
.04 .92
ⴱⴱ
(.96)
8. Ostracism T3 1.57 0.81 .07 .13
.13
.33
ⴱⴱ
.08 .54
ⴱⴱ
.51
ⴱⴱ
(.96)
9. Gratitude norms T1 3.75 0.82 .04 .38
ⴱⴱ
.59
ⴱⴱ
.13
ⴱⴱ
.49
ⴱⴱ
.14
.06 .07 (.93)
10. State gratitude T2 3.89 0.96 .20
ⴱⴱ
.48
ⴱⴱ
.54
ⴱⴱ
.26
ⴱⴱ
.56
ⴱⴱ
.16
.09 .12 .45
ⴱⴱ
(.92)
11. Prosocial motivation T1 5.68 1.13 .05 .65
ⴱⴱ
.49
ⴱⴱ
.12
.47
ⴱⴱ
.10 .03 .01 .43
ⴱⴱ
.44
ⴱⴱ
(.93)
12. Relationship closeness T1 5.28 1.29 .06 .52
ⴱⴱ
.75
ⴱⴱ
.18
ⴱⴱ
.51
ⴱⴱ
.10 .01 .10 .68
ⴱⴱ
.47
ⴱⴱ
.54
ⴱⴱ
(.94)
13. Self-control resources T1 2.89 1.09 .05 .16
ⴱⴱ
.20
ⴱⴱ
.66
ⴱⴱ
.27
ⴱⴱ
.44
ⴱⴱ
.47
ⴱⴱ
.29
ⴱⴱ
.01 .24
ⴱⴱ
.07
.06 (.90)
14. POS T1 3.75 0.96 .08
.41
ⴱⴱ
.48
ⴱⴱ
.20
ⴱⴱ
.69
ⴱⴱ
.08 .03 .03 .63
ⴱⴱ
.48
ⴱⴱ
.47
ⴱⴱ
.60
ⴱⴱ
.08
ⴱⴱ
(.91)
Note. Reliability coefficients are shown on the diagonal in parentheses. Experimental condition: 0 control, 1 gratitude. POS perceived organizational support.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
10 LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
high levels of perceived gratitude norms through prosocial moti-
vation, relationship closeness, or POS. Therefore, neither the con-
ductance hypothesis (H5) nor the resistance hypothesis (H6) was
supported for these mechanisms.
H5c and H6c predicted that the indirect effects via self-control
resources would be moderated by perceived gratitude norms. Re-
sults revealed that the indirect effects were significantly different
from zero at higher levels of perceived gratitude norms for all three
Table 5
Direct and Indirect Effects of Gratitude Intervention on Workplace Mistreatment: Study 2 (n 204)
Mediator (Time 2)
Decomposed effects
Partial effects of
controls on
M(SE) Indirect effects
R
2
abccTime 1 mediator Boot ab BCa CI
Dependent variable Incivility
a
Prosocial motivation .13 (.09) .14 (.08) .00 (.12) .01 (.12) .70 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.02 (.02) [.08, .00] .21
ⴱⴱ
Relationship closeness .33 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.09 (.07) .00 (.12) .01 (.12) .76 (.05)
ⴱⴱ
.03 (.03) [.01, .09] .21
ⴱⴱ
Self-control resources .19 (.07)
ⴱⴱ
.41 (.10)
ⴱⴱ
.00 (.12) .01 (.12) .79 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.08 (.03)
ⴱⴱ
[.17, .03] .21
ⴱⴱ
POS .20 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.24 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.00 (.12) .01 (.12) .82 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.05 (.02)
ⴱⴱ
[.01, .11] .21
ⴱⴱ
Dependent variable Gossip
b
Prosocial motivation .13 (.09) .19 (.11) .09 (.16) .14 (.16) .70 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.03 (.03) [.10, .00] .21
ⴱⴱ
Relationship closeness .33 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.08 (.10) .09 (.16) .14 (.16) .76 (.05)
ⴱⴱ
.03 (.03) [.04, .10] .21
ⴱⴱ
Self-control resources .19 (.07)
ⴱⴱ
.56 (.13)
ⴱⴱ
.09 (.16) .14 (.16) .79 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.11 (.05)
ⴱⴱ
[.22, .03] .21
ⴱⴱ
POS .20 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.29 (.10)
.09 (.16) .14 (.16) .82 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.06 (.03)
ⴱⴱ
[.02, .15] .21
ⴱⴱ
Dependent variable Ostracism
c
Prosocial motivation .13 (.09) .04 (.06) .03 (.10) .02 (.10) .70 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.01 (.01) [.04, .01] .09
Relationship closeness .33 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
–.07 (.06) .03 (.10) .02 (.10) .76 (.05)
ⴱⴱ
.02 (.02) [.07, .02] .09
Self-control resources .19 (.07)
ⴱⴱ
.19 (.07)
ⴱⴱ
.03 (.10) .02 (.10) .79 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.04 (.02)
ⴱⴱ
[.10, .01] .09
POS .20 (.08)
ⴱⴱ
.06 (.07) .03 (.10) .02 (.10) .82 (.06)
ⴱⴱ
.01 (.02) [.01, .05] .09
Note. Reported results control for baseline mediators. Boot ab refers to bootstrapped indirect effect; bootstrap sample size 10,000. Unstandardized
regression coefficients reported are based on bias-corrected and accelerated 95% confidence intervals (CIs). BCa CIs that do not include zero indicate
support for indirect effects. POS perceived organizational support.
a
After inclusion of baseline mediators, R
2
.02.
b
R
2
.02.
c
R
2
.01.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
Table 6
Conditional Indirect Effects of a Gratitude Intervention on Workplace Mistreatment: Study 2
(n 204)
Mediator
Low gratitude norms High gratitude norms
Boot ab,(SE)BCa CI Boot ab,(SE)BCa CI R
2
Dependent variable Incivility
Prosocial motivation .02 (.02) .07, .02 .01 (.02) [.05, .02] .21
ⴱⴱ
Relationship closeness .02 (.04) .06, .09 .05 (.03) [.01, .10] .21
ⴱⴱ
Self-control resources .05 (.04) .12, .02 .10 (.03)
[.18, .03] .21
ⴱⴱ
POS .06 (.03) .01, .12 .04 (.03) [.01, .09] .21
ⴱⴱ
Dependent variable Gossip
Prosocial motivation .03 (.03) .08, .02 .02 (.02) [.06, .03] .21
ⴱⴱ
Relationship closeness .01 (.05) .08, .10 .04 (.04) [.03, .11] .21
ⴱⴱ
Self-control resources .08 (.05) .17, .01 .13 (.05)
[.23, .04] .21
ⴱⴱ
POS .07 (.04) .01, .14 .05 (.03) [.01, .12] .21
ⴱⴱ
Dependent variable Ostracism
Prosocial motivation .01 (.02) .05, .03 .00 (.01) [.02, .01] .09
Relationship closeness .04 (.04) .11, .03 .01 (.01) [.04, .02] .09
Self-control resources .01 (.02) .05, .03 .06 (.03)
[.12, .01] .09
POS .02 (.03) .03, .07 .01 (.01) [.01, .03] .09
Note. Reported results control for baseline mediators. Boot ab refers to bootstrapped indirect effect; bootstrap
sample size 10,000. Unstandardized regression coefficients reported are based on bias-corrected and accel-
erated 95% confidence intervals (BCa CI). CIs that do not include zero indicate support for indirect effects.
POS perceived organizational support.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
11
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
outcomes but not at lower levels of perceived gratitude norms (see
Table 6). These results support the conductance hypothesis pre-
dicted in H5c, in which the intervention’s effects via self-control
resources are stronger for individuals who perceive that organiza-
tion members express gratitude relatively frequently (i.e., when
perceived gratitude norms are high).
Supplementary analyses. We tested the robustness of our
predictions with various supplemental analyses. Specifically, as
positive affect is commonly associated with gratitude, we in-
cluded positive affect as a mediator. We also estimated indirect
effects for each focal mediator (including positive affect) inde-
pendently, and we also tested our hypotheses by operationaliz-
ing each theory with a different corresponding mediator. For
example, social exchange theory can also be operationalized by
assessing felt obligation toward coworkers (Wo, Ambrose, &
Schminke, 2015) or with a measure that explicitly asks whether
relationships with other organization members are characterized
by the sentiments Blau (1964) described in his theorizing:
mutual obligation, trust, commitment, and significance
(Colquitt et al., 2014). Finally, as there may be conceptual
overlap between find-remind-and-bind theory and social ex-
change theory, we assessed a model that reflected moral affect
theory, find-remind-and-bind theory, self-control resources, and
positive affect as the mechanisms. Regardless of whether we
tested the mediators independently or simultaneously, whether
we included positive affect or excluded social exchange, and no
matter how we operationalized the mediators, self-control re-
sources was the only variable to transmit the effects of the
gratitude intervention to reduce incivility, gossip, and ostra-
cism. Details of all analyses and results can be found in the
online supplemental material.
General Discussion
The current research tested the efficacy of a simple gratitude
intervention for decreasing workplace mistreatment. Building
on prior gratitude research, in two studies we competitively
tested four theories of gratitude to explore the mechanisms
through which a gratitude intervention functions. Results dem-
onstrated that a gratitude intervention, as compared with a
control group, decreased workplace mistreatment by increasing
participants’ self-control resources. These findings yield sup-
port for gratitude interventions as resource-building exercises.
We did not find support for the intervention’s effects in reduc-
ing mistreatment as transmitted via the mechanisms of prosocial
motivation, relationship closeness, or POS. These results stand
in contrast to theory and research from the moral affect theory
of gratitude (McCullough et al., 2001), find-remind-and-
bind theory (Algoe, 2012), and social exchange theory (Blau,
1964).
The research also explored an important boundary condition
of the intervention’s effectiveness. Because theory and research
suggest gratitude interventions function differently for individ-
uals who work in organizations where members express their
gratitude more or less frequently, we predicted that perceived
gratitude norms would influence (i.e., moderate) the effective-
ness of the intervention. Results demonstrated that perceived
gratitude norms did indeed moderate the indirect effects of the
gratitude intervention on interpersonal mistreatment through
self-control resources. That is, individuals who perceived
higher norms for gratitude reported greater gains in self-control
resources from the intervention than did individuals whose
organizations were perceived to be lower in gratitude norms.
Individuals who perceived higher gratitude norms were subse-
quently less likely to engage in incivility, gossip, or ostracism.
These results contribute to the gratitude literature by providing
support for the conductance hypothesis (McCullough et al.,
2004), and they advance the mistreatment literature by high-
lighting how differences in individuals’ norm perceptions affect
their negative interpersonal behavior at work (Hershcovis &
Reich, 2013; Pearson & Porath, 2004).
Collectively, our studies offer evidence to suggest that a grati-
tude journaling intervention reduces uncivil, gossip, and ostraciz-
ing behavior by enhancing self-control resources, which is more
likely to result among individuals who perceive the norms for
expressing gratitude in their workplace are higher. The results
highlight that resource perspectives are important theoretical
mechanisms to consider in future research on gratitude and grati-
tude interventions, and that perceived gratitude norms are an
important boundary condition governing the intervention’s effec-
tiveness. By demonstrating that a simple, affordable gratitude
journaling intervention can reduce mistreatment among some em-
ployees (i.e., those who perceive high workplace norms for grat-
itude), our study offers several implications for theory, practice,
and future research.
Theoretical Contributions and Future Research
Directions
The results of this study have implications for research on
workplace mistreatment. Interpersonal mistreatment in the work-
place is widespread and costs organizations millions of dollars
each year (e.g., Porath & Pearson, 2013). Nevertheless, there have
been few efforts to decrease such behavior. A notable exception is
the Civility, Respect, and Engagement at Work (CREW) interven-
tion, in which trained facilitators meet weekly with employees for
6 months to improve interactions and relationships among orga-
nization members. Although CREW has been shown to enhance
civility immediately (Leiter et al., 2011) and one year after the
intervention (Leiter, Day, Oore, & Spence Laschinger, 2012), it is
limited in important ways. First, CREW is a large-scale, top-down
intervention that is expensive in terms of time and money. Second,
CREW has demonstrated limited efficacy. Across multiple studies,
CREW has enhanced civility and decreased incivility experienced
from supervisors, but neither incivility experienced from cowork-
ers nor self-reported instigated incivility were affected (e.g., Leiter
et al., 2011, 2012; Spence Laschinger, Leiter, Day, Gilin-Oore, &
Mackinnon, 2012). The gratitude intervention used in our study
provides a straightforward way to decrease incivility, gossip, and
ostracism in the workplace. Our results suggest gratitude interven-
tions can be used in the larger effort toward curbing workplace
mistreatment.
Our results also contribute to theory and research on gratitude.
Perhaps most notably, the current study provides the first empirical
examination of multiple mechanisms by which gratitude interven-
tions function to impact outcomes. This has long been called for in
the gratitude literature (e.g., Emmons & McCullough, 2004; Em-
mons & Mishra, 2011), but most research has not examined
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
12 LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
mediators. Our tests of the indirect effects advance theory and
research on gratitude by shedding light on the process by which
gratitude influences individuals’ mistreatment of others. Our study
demonstrates that a gratitude intervention impacts employees’
interpersonal mistreatment by building self-control resources. Al-
though prior research has demonstrated a link between self-control
resources and uncivil behavior (Rosen et al., 2016), our study
departs from and extends this work in important ways. Whereas
Rosen et al. found that employees who experienced incivility
earlier in the day were more likely to engage in incivility later in
the day because they experienced diminished self-control, they
noted that “there may be other mechanisms” (p. 1629) and that
future research should examine multiple mechanisms jointly to
fully understand incivility or other types of workplace mistreat-
ment.
In this respect, our study advances knowledge by investigating
multiple mechanisms by which a gratitude intervention influences
mistreatment. A lack of understanding of these mediating pro-
cesses not only constrains the research area from further develop-
ment, but also hinders understanding of the practical implications
for those interested in harnessing the power of gratitude and
reducing workplace mistreatment. Given that resource explana-
tions are the perspectives least relied upon in the gratitude litera-
ture, demonstrating the resource-building nature of gratitude inter-
ventions makes an important contribution to the literature. Further,
our research suggests mediators derived from other theoretical
approaches (e.g., prosocial motivation, relationship closeness) do
not transmit the effects of a gratitude intervention to employees’
interpersonal mistreatment. These findings are likewise important
in that they demonstrate that the most frequently invoked theories
in the literature do not explain why a gratitude intervention reduces
mistreatment. If the field is to move forward, it is important to gain
clearer understanding of which process (or processes) drive the
hypothesized effects (Leavitt et al., 2010).
A related implication concerns our application of theory. Al-
though some of the theories we draw on suggest multiple functions
of gratitude or have multiple distinct components, prior research
has often used a single operationalization of the theory. Take
find-remind-and-bind theory, for example. Only the “bind” func-
tion has been tested empirically. To better represent the theory, we
also operationalized the “find” function via support seeking be-
cause gratitude motivates individuals to seek out high-quality
relationship partners that “enrich one’s life” (Algoe, 2012, p. 458),
and we operationalized the “remind” function with a measure of
relationship reflection because it captures how gratitude sustains
an individual’s existing relationships (Algoe, 2012). Our research
recognizes this complexity in the theories we drew on and we
strove to more fully assess the domains of the constructs of interest
by examining multiple operationalizations (see online supplemen-
tal material). Although we observed the same pattern of results
with these other operationalizations, we advance the theories we
draw on in the present study by applying and operationalizing
them in novel ways. As Leavitt et al. (2010) state, doing so
provides a stronger test of the theories and demonstrates “the
robustness of one theoretical orientation over another” (p. 659).
Finally, our study enhances knowledge surrounding gratitude
norms. Rosen et al. (2016) suggested that future research should
build on their work by examining features of the social context that
may serve as boundary conditions affecting uncivil behavior (see
also Schilpzand et al., 2016). Accordingly, the present research
demonstrates that gratitude norms, as one aspect of the (perceived)
social context, play an influential role in employees’ psychological
and behavioral responses to a gratitude intervention. Thus, em-
ployee beliefs about how frequently other organization members
express gratitude (i.e., perceived gratitude norms) are essential to
fully understand gratitude interventions and workplace mistreat-
ment. Given that little empirical research has examined gratitude
norms, we believe this is an especially promising area of study.
Our findings highlight at least two additional directions for
future research. First, future research would benefit from further
study of the role of emotion in the process by which a gratitude
intervention influences workplace mistreatment. Though supple-
mental analyses did not find a reduction in mistreatment through
generalized positive affect, research suggests gratitude interven-
tions might produce other positive emotions (Neumeier, Brook,
Ditchburn, & Sckopke, 2017; Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006).
Research likewise suggests a gratitude intervention could also
reduce negative emotions like envy and resentment (Emmons &
Mishra, 2011). Scholars should therefore examine various affec-
tive outcomes of gratitude interventions and whether they might
also function as mechanisms to reduce workplace mistreatment.
This could allow for tests of the emergence of persistent (i.e., more
trait-like) gratitude from state gratitude, as theorized by Fehr,
Fulmer, Awtrey, and Miller (2017).
Second, in this research we were interested in the relationships
between a gratitude intervention, four theoretically derived medi-
ators, and interpersonal mistreatment—a negative outcome. In this
context, only self-control resources mediated the effect of the
gratitude intervention. This is an important finding, but it is im-
portant to consider that these relationships might be different for
positive outcomes. For example, the intervention was successful in
increasing relationship closeness in both studies. These significant
relationships provide preliminary support for find-remind-and-
bind theory, showing that a gratitude intervention did function as
the theory proposed. Whereas this did not translate into decreases
in incivility, gossip, or ostracism, positive outcomes such as help-
ing behaviors, work engagement, or employee resilience may be
more strongly affected by gratitude interventions through the
mechanism of relationship closeness. Future research should ex-
amine the indirect effects of gratitude interventions on alternative
outcomes.
Practical Implications
For managers seeking to improve the work environment and
decrease interpersonal mistreatment among employees, a gratitude
intervention may provide one practical solution to do so. Existing
interventions to reduce workplace mistreatment tend to be costly
and time-consuming programs that require top management com-
mitment and are therefore beyond the reach of many managers and
organizations. In contrast, gratitude journals and books of gratitude
exercises are becoming increasingly popular products to improve
employee attitudes and well-being (see Emmons & McCullough,
2004). In light of the current results, managers might also use these
journals in their work teams and organizations as a useful tool to
foster more respectful behavior and interactions among employees.
Our results suggest the implications of using gratitude journals
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
13
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
span beyond well-being outcomes, as they can also reduce em-
ployee incivility, gossip, and ostracism.
Our results also suggest efforts to enhance employees’ feelings
of gratitude will be especially effective in reducing incivility,
gossip, and ostracism when employees perceive that other mem-
bers of the organization frequently express gratitude to one an-
other. Thus, managers should not only communicate expectations
of respectful behavior to establish norms for civility (Walsh et al.,
2012), but they should also convey the importance of expressing
thanks and appreciation to establish gratitude norms. Managers
play an important role in the development of the norms in their
workgroups (e.g., Kozlowski & Doherty, 1989; Lewin, Lippitt, &
White, 1939). Thus, managerial efforts to develop and strengthen
gratitude norms, whether through formal programs or informal
interactions, would go a long way toward reducing workplace
mistreatment.
Study Limitations
As with all studies, ours has some limitations. One potential
limitation concerns our use of a “psychologically active” journal-
ing exercise for the control condition. Although this design has
been used in previous research on gratitude journaling interven-
tions (Emmons & McCullough, 2003), an active comparison con-
dition (i.e., journaling about something else) can increase positive
affect and well-being (e.g., Davis et al., 2016). This might mini-
mize differences between the gratitude and control groups. Alter-
natively, a waitlist-control design might provide a more appropri-
ate comparison group. In a waitlist-control group, participants wait
to receive the treatment (i.e., the gratitude journaling intervention)
until after the treatment group receives it. Once the treatment
group has concluded the intervention, both groups are assessed for
comparison purposes, and then the control group receives the
intervention. This type of design has the benefit of allowing
waitlisted participants to receive the intervention (i.e., at a later
date). Future gratitude journaling intervention studies may benefit
from employing a waitlist or measurement-only control group.
Another potential limitation concerns the size of the observed
effects. To put these effects in context, we note that Preacher and
Kelley (2011) defined indirect effects of 01, .09, and .25 as small,
medium, and large, respectively. Whereas Preacher and Kelley
(2011) drew on Cohen’s (1988) guidelines to set these definitions,
more recent research has demonstrated that Cohen’s benchmarks
“present unrealistically high values for the applied psychology
context” (Bosco, Aguinis, Singh, Field, & Pierce, 2015, p. 441).
The small effects observed in the present study should also be
considered in light of the difficulty in explaining variance in
deviant work behaviors (Zhang & Shaw, 2012). Indeed, Aguinis,
Gottfredson, and Culpepper (2013) observed that “if an effect
seems small in terms of the proportion of variance explained, it
does not automatically mean that it is unimportant in terms of
theory or practice” (p. 30). The prevalence and costs of workplace
mistreatment highlight the importance of finding mechanisms to
prevent or reduce it, thereby underscoring the theoretical and
practical implications of our findings.
A final limitation concerns the timing of our measurement.
Although the theories we draw on and past empirical research
provide little guidance about the specific timing of the hypothe-
sized processes (see also George & Jones, 2000; Mitchell & James,
2001; Ployhart & Vandenberg, 2010), it is possible that the theo-
retical mechanisms we examined could evolve over different time
frames. For instance, it could be that self-control resources are
affected soon after the gratitude journaling intervention, whereas
another mechanism (e.g., social exchange quality) changes more
gradually. Whereas research suggests each of the mediators can
vary daily and can therefore be influenced in a relatively short
period of time (Podsakoff, Spoelma, Chawla, & Gabriel, 2019),
additional follow-up measurements (e.g., at 1 month, 6 months)
would likewise provide insights into the lasting effects of a grat-
itude intervention. Scholars may therefore wish to examine the
hypothesized processes over different time periods.
Conclusion
As organizational scholars continue to produce research dem-
onstrating that interpersonal mistreatment is associated with a host
of negative outcomes for individuals and organizations, little at-
tention has been devoted to finding mechanisms to prevent these
harmful workplace behaviors. By demonstrating the efficacy of a
gratitude journal as a simple, practical intervention to reduce
workplace mistreatment, identifying the mechanism by which it
functions, and illustrating a boundary condition governing its
effectiveness, the current research offers clear contributions to
theory and practice. We encourage continued investigations along
these lines to better understand how to reduce interpersonal mis-
treatment in organizations.
References
Aguinis, H., Gottfredson, R. K., & Culpepper, S. A. (2013). Best-practice
recommendations for estimating cross-level interaction effects using
multilevel modeling. Journal of Management, 39, 1490 –1528. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1177/0149206313478188
Algoe, S. B. (2012). Find, remind, and bind: The functions of gratitude in
everyday relationships. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6,
455– 469. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00439.x
Algoe, S. B., Fredrickson, B. L., & Gable, S. L. (2013). The social
functions of the emotion of gratitude via expression. Emotion, 13,
605– 609. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0032701
Algoe, S. B., & Haidt, J. (2009). Witnessing excellence in action: The
‘other-praising’ emotions of elevation, gratitude, and admiration. The
Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 105–127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/
17439760802650519
Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Grati-
tude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8, 425– 429. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.8.3.425
Algoe, S. B., Kurtz, L. E., & Hilaire, N. M. (2016). Putting the “you” in
“thank you” examining other-praising behavior as the active relational
ingredient in expressed gratitude. Social Psychological & Personality
Science, 7, 658 – 666. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1948550616651681
Algoe, S. B., & Stanton, A. L. (2012). Gratitude when it is needed most:
Social functions of gratitude in women with metastatic breast cancer.
Emotion, 12, 163–168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024024
Andersson, L. M., & Pearson, C. M. (1999). Tit for tat? The spiraling effect
of incivility in the workplace. Academy of Management Review, 24,
452– 471. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amr.1999.2202131
Appelbaum, M., Cooper, H., Kline, R. B., Mayo-Wilson, E., Nezu, A. M.,
& Rao, S. M. (2018). Journal article reporting standards for quantitative
research in psychology: The APA Publications and Communications
Board Task Force report. American Psychologist, 73, 3–25. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1037/amp0000191
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
14 LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
Ashford, S. J., & Black, J. S. (1996). Proactivity during organizational
entry: The role of desire for control. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81,
199 –214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.81.2.199
Ashforth, B. E., & Humphrey, R. H. (1995). Emotion in the workplace: A
reappraisal. Human Relations, 48, 97–125. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/
001872679504800201
Barnes, C. M., Miller, J. A., & Bostock, S. (2017). Helping employees
sleep well: Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia on work
outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 104 –113. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1037/apl0000154
Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior:
Helping when it costs you. Psychological Science, 17, 319 –325. http://
dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01705.x
Baumeister, R. F. (1998). The self. In U. D. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & I. G.
Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (pp. 680 –740). New
York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., & Tice, D. M. (1998).
Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource? Journal of Person-
ality and Social Psychology, 74, 1252–1265. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/
0022-3514.74.5.1252
Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., & Tice, D. M. (2007). The strength model
of self-control. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 351–
355. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00534.x
Blau, P. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York, NY: Wiley.
Bono, G., Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). Gratitude in
practice and the practice of gratitude. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.),
Positive psychology in practice (pp. 464 481). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470939338.ch29
Bosco, F. A., Aguinis, H., Singh, K., Field, J. G., & Pierce, C. A. (2015).
Correlational effect size benchmarks. Journal of Applied Psychology,
100, 431– 449. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038047
Brady, D. L., Brown, D. J., & Liang, L. H. (2017). Moving beyond
assumptions of deviance: The reconceptualization and measurement of
workplace gossip. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 1–25. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000164
Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping
strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 56, 267–283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514
.56.2.267
Chen, L. H. (2013). Gratitude and adolescent athletes’ well-being: The
multiple mediating roles of perceived social support from coaches and
teammates. Social Indicators Research, 114, 273–285. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1007/s11205-012-0145-2
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences
(2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Colquitt, J. A., Baer, M. D., Long, D. M., & Halvorsen-Ganepola, M. D. K.
(2014). Scale indicators of social exchange relationships: A comparison
of relative content validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99, 599 –
618. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036374
Cortina, L. M., Kabat-Farr, D., Magley, V. J., & Nelson, K. (2017).
Researching rudeness: The past, present, and future of the science of
incivility. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22, 299 –313.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000089
Cortina, L. M., Magley, V. J., Williams, J. H., & Langhout, R. D. (2001).
Incivility in the workplace: Incidence and impact. Journal of Occupa-
tional Health Psychology, 6, 64 – 80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1076-
8998.6.1.64
Davis, D. E., Choe, E., Meyers, J., Wade, N., Varjas, K., Gifford, A.,...
Worthington, E. L. (2016). Thankful for the little things: A meta-
analysis of gratitude interventions. Journal of Counseling Psychology,
63, 20 –31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cou0000107
Delvaux, E., Vanbeselaere, N., & Mesquita, B. (2015). Dynamic interplay
between norms and experiences of anger and gratitude in groups. Small
Group Research, 46, 300 –323. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10464
96415576411
DeSteno, D., Bartlett, M. Y., Baumann, J., Williams, L. A., & Dickens, L.
(2010). Gratitude as moral sentiment: Emotion-guided cooperation in
economic exchange. Emotion, 10, 289 –293. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/
a0017883
DeWall, C. N., Lambert, N. M., Pond, R. S., Jr., Kashdan, T. B., &
Fincham, F. D. (2012). A grateful heart is a nonviolent heart cross-
sectional, experience sampling, longitudinal, and experimental evidence.
Social Psychological & Personality Science, 3, 232–240. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1177/1948550611416675
Dibble, J. L., Levine, T. R., & Park, H. S. (2012). The Unidimensional
Relationship Closeness Scale (URCS): Reliability and validity evidence
for a new measure of relationship closeness. Psychological Assessment,
24, 565–572. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026265
Diefendorff, J. M., Erickson, R. J., Grandey, A. A., & Dahling, J. J. (2011).
Emotional display rules as work unit norms: A multilevel analysis of
emotional labor among nurses. Journal of Occupational Health Psychol-
ogy, 16, 170 –186. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0021725
Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D. W., Oishi, S., &
Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). New well-being measures: Short scales to
assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators
Research, 97, 143–156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-009-9493-y
Eisenberger, R., Huntington, R., Hutchison, S., & Sowa, D. (1986). Per-
ceived organizational support. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 500 –
507. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.71.3.500
Emerson, R. M. (1976). Social exchange theory. Annual Review of Soci-
ology, 2, 335–362. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.so.02.080176
.002003
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus
burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-
being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84,
377–389. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). The psychology of grati-
tude. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10
.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150100.001.0001
Emmons, R. A., & Mishra, A. (2011). Why gratitude enhances well-being:
What we know, what we need to know. In K. M. Sheldon, T. B.
Kashdan, & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Designing positive psychology: Taking
stock and moving forward (pp. 248 –262). New York, NY: Oxford
University Press.
Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A. G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G
Power 3: A
flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and
biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.
Fehr, R., Fulmer, A., Awtrey, E., & Miller, J. A. (2017). The grateful
workplace: A multilevel model of gratitude in organizations. Academy of
Management Review, 42, 361–381. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amr.2014
.0374
Ferris, D. L., Brown, D. J., Berry, J. W., & Lian, H. (2008). The devel-
opment and validation of the Workplace Ostracism Scale. Journal of
Applied Psychology, 93, 1348 –1366. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/
a0012743
Ferris, D. L., Chen, M., & Lim, S. (2017). Comparing and contrasting
workplace ostracism and incivility. Annual Review of Organizational
Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 4, 315–338. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032516-113223
Ford, M. T., Wang, Y., Jin, J., & Eisenberger, R. (2018). Chronic and
episodic anger and gratitude toward the organization: Relationships with
organizational and supervisor supportiveness and extrarole behavior.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 23, 175–187. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1037/ocp0000075
Froh, J. J., Bono, G., Fan, J., Emmons, R. A., Henderson, K., Harris, C.,...
Wood, A. M. (2014). Nice thinking! An educational intervention that
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
15
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
teaches children to think gratefully. School Psychology Review, 43,
132–152.
Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Ozimkowski, K. M., & Miller, N. (2009). Who
benefits the most from a gratitude intervention in children and adoles-
cents? Examining positive affect as a moderator. The Journal of Positive
Psychology, 4, 408 – 422. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760
902992464
Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting blessings in
early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective
well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 213–233. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2007.03.005
George, J. M., & Jones, G. R. (2000). The role of time in theory and theory
building. Journal of Management, 26, 657– 684. http://dx.doi.org/10
.1177/014920630002600404
Gilbert, E., Foulk, T., & Bono, J. (2018). Building personal resources
through interventions: An integrative review. Journal of Organizational
Behavior, 39, 214 –228. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.2198
Grant, A. M. (2008a). Does intrinsic motivation fuel the prosocial fire?
Motivational synergy in predicting persistence, performance, and pro-
ductivity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 48 –58. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1037/0021-9010.93.1.48
Grant, A. M. (2008b). The significance of task significance: Job perfor-
mance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions. Journal
of Applied Psychology, 93, 108 –124. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-
9010.93.1.108
Grant, A. M., & Berry, J. W. (2011). The necessity of others is the mother
of invention: Intrinsic and prosocial motivations, perspective taking, and
creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 73–96. http://dx.doi
.org/10.5465/amj.2011.59215085
Greenbaum, R., Bonner, J., Gray, T., & Mawritz, M. (2020). Moral
emotions: A review and research agenda for management scholarship.
Journal of Organizational Behavior, 41, 95–114. http://dx.doi.org/10
.1002/job.2367
Hayes, A. F. (2017). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and condi-
tional process analysis: A regression-based approach (2nd ed.). New
York, NY: Guilford Press.
Henry, E. (2008). Are investors influenced by how earnings press releases
are written? Journal of Business Communication, 45, 363– 407. http://
dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021943608319388
Hershcovis, M. S., & Reich, T. C. (2013). Integrating workplace aggres-
sion research: Relational, contextual, and method considerations. Jour-
nal of Organizational Behavior, 34, S26 –S42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/
job.1886
Hollenbeck, J. R. (2008). The role of editing in knowledge development:
Consensus shifting and consensus creation. In Y. Baruch, A. M. Konrad,
H. Aguinis, & W. H. Starbuck (Eds.), Opening the black box of editor-
ship (pp. 16 –26). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1057/9780230582590_2
Howard, M. C., Cogswell, J. E., & Smith, M. B. (2019). The antecedents
and outcomes of workplace ostracism: A meta-analysis. Journal of
Applied Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10
.1037/apl0000453
Jackowska, M., Brown, J., Ronaldson, A., & Steptoe, A. (2016). The
impact of a brief gratitude intervention on subjective well-being, biol-
ogy, and sleep. Journal of Health Psychology, 21, 2207–2217. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1177/1359105315572455
Jia, L., Tong, E. M., & Lee, L. N. (2014). Psychological “gel” to bind
individuals’ goal pursuit: Gratitude facilitates goal contagion. Emotion,
14, 748 –760. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036407
Johnson, R. E., Lanaj, K., & Barnes, C. M. (2014). The good and bad of
being fair: Effects of procedural and interpersonal justice behaviors on
regulatory resources. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99, 635– 650.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035647
Kaplan, S., Bradley-Geist, J. C., Ahmad, A., Anderson, A., Hargrove,
A. K., & Lindsey, A. (2014). A test of two positive psychology inter-
ventions to increase employee well-being. Journal of Business and
Psychology, 29, 367–380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10869-013-9319-4
Kelly, J. R., & Barsade, S. G. (2001). Mood and emotions in small groups
and work teams. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Pro-
cesses, 86, 99 –130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/obhd.2001.2974
Kok, B. E., Coffey, K. A., Cohn, M. A., Catalino, L. I., Vacharkulksemsuk,
T., Algoe, S. B., . . . Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). How positive emotions
build physical health: Perceived positive social connections account for
the upward spiral between positive emotions and vagal tone. Psycho-
logical Science, 24, 1123–1132. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/095
6797612470827
Kong, F., Ding, K., & Zhao, J. (2015). The relationships among gratitude,
self-esteem, social support, and life satisfaction among undergraduate
students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 477– 489. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1007/s10902-014-9519-2
Koo, M., Algoe, S. B., Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2008). It’s a
wonderful life: Mentally subtracting positive events improves people’s
affective states, contrary to their affective forecasts. Journal of Person-
ality and Social Psychology, 95, 1217–1224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/
a0013316
Kozlowski, S., & Doherty, M. (1989). Integration of climate and leader-
ship: Examination of a neglected issue. Journal of Applied Psychology,
74, 546 –553. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.74.4.546
Leavitt, K., Mitchell, T. R., & Peterson, J. (2010). Theory pruning: Strat-
egies to reduce our dense theoretical landscape. Organizational Re-
search Methods, 13, 644 – 667. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10944
28109345156
Leiter, M. P., Day, A., Oore, D. G., & Spence Laschinger, H. K. (2012).
Getting better and staying better: Assessing civility, incivility, distress,
and job attitudes one year after a civility intervention. Journal of
Occupational Health Psychology, 17, 425– 434. http://dx.doi.org/10
.1037/a0029540
Leiter, M. P., Laschinger, H. K. S., Day, A., & Oore, D. G. (2011). The
impact of civility interventions on employee social behavior, distress,
and attitudes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 1258 –1274. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1037/a0024442
Levinson, H. (1965). Reciprocation: The relationship between man and
organization. Administrative Science Quarterly, 9, 370 –390. http://dx
.doi.org/10.2307/2391032
Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., & White, R. K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive
behavior in experimentally created “social climates.” The Journal of
Social Psychology, 10, 271–299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224545
.1939.9713366
Lian, H., Yam, K. C., Ferris, D. L., & Brown, D. (2017). Self-control at
work. The Academy of Management Annals, 11, 703–732. http://dx.doi
.org/10.5465/annals.2015.0126
Lim, S., & Cortina, L. M. (2005). Interpersonal mistreatment in the
workplace: The interface and impact of general incivility and sexual
harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 483– 496. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1037/0021-9010.90.3.483
Lim, S., Cortina, L. M., & Magley, V. J. (2008). Personal and workgroup
incivility: Impact on work and health outcomes. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 93, 95–107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.93.1.95
Lomas, T., Froh, J. J., Emmons, R. A., Mishra, A., & Bono, G. (2014).
Gratitude interventions: A review and future agenda. In A. C. Parks &
S. M. Schueller (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell handbook of positive
psychological interventions (pp. 1–19). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781118315927.ch1
Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happi-
ness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psy-
chology, 9, 111–131. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
16 LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
Ma, L. K., Tunney, R. J., & Ferguson, E. (2017). Does gratitude enhance
prosociality? A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 601–
635. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bul0000103
Mccullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. A. (2002). The grateful
disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Person-
ality and Social Psychology, 82, 112–127. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/
0022-3514.82.1.112
McCullough, M. E., Kilpatrick, S. D., Emmons, R. A., & Larson, D. B.
(2001). Is gratitude a moral affect? Psychological Bulletin, 127, 249 –
266. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.127.2.249
McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J. A., & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in
intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods to individual
differences and daily emotional experience. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 86, 295–309.
McKenny, A. F., Aguinis, H., Short, J. C., & Anglin, A. H. (2018). What
doesn’t get measured does exist: Improving the accuracy of computer-
aided text analysis. Journal of Management, 44, 2909 –2933. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1177/0149206316657594
McKenny, A. F., & Short, J. C. (2012). CAT Scanner Manual. Norman,
OK: Author.
Meier, L. L., & Gross, S. (2015). Episodes of incivility between subordi-
nates and supervisors: Examining the role of self-control and time with
an interaction-record diary study. Journal of Organizational Behavior,
36, 1096 –1113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.2013
Mitchell, T. R., & James, L. R. (2001). Building better theory: Time and
the specification of when things happen. Academy of Management
Review, 26, 530 –547. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amr.2001.5393889
Mossholder, K. W., Settoon, R. P., & Henagan, S. C. (2005). A relational
perspective on turnover: Examining structural, attitudinal, and behav-
ioral predictors. Academy of Management Journal, 48, 607– 618. http://
dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj.2005.17843941
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2017). Mplus user’s guide (8th ed.). Los
Angeles, CA: Author.
Naito, T., Wangwan, J., & Tani, M. (2005). Gratitude in university students
in Japan and Thailand. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36, 247–
263. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022022104272904
Neumeier, L. M., Brook, L., Ditchburn, G., & Sckopke, P. (2017). Deliv-
ering your daily dose of well-being to the workplace: A randomized
controlled trial of an online well-being programme for employees.
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26, 555–
573. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2017.1320281
Ng, T. W. H. (2016). Embedding employees early on: The importance of
workplace respect. Personnel Psychology, 69, 599 – 613. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1111/peps.12117
O’Connell, B. H., O’Shea, D., & Gallagher, S. (2018). Examining psycho-
social pathways underlying gratitude interventions: A randomized con-
trolled trial. Journal of Happiness Studies, 19, 2421–2444. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9931-5
Owens, R. L., & Patterson, M. M. (2013). Positive psychological interven-
tions for children: A comparison of gratitude and best possible selves
approaches. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 174, 403– 428. http://
dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2012.697496
Parks, M. R., & Floyd, K. (1996). Meanings for closeness and intimacy in
friendship. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 13, 85–108.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265407596131005
Pearson, C. M., & Porath, C. L. (2004). On incivility, its impact, and
directions for future research. In R. Griffin & A. O’Leary-Kelly (Eds.),
The dark side of organizational behavior (pp. 403– 425). San Francisco,
CA: Jossey-Bass.
Perez, B. A. (2006). A psycho-educational gratitude intervention. (Unpub-
lished doctoral dissertation). Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University.
Platt, J. R. (1964). Strong Inference: Certain systematic methods of scien-
tific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others.
Science, 146, 347–353. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.146.3642.347
Ployhart, R. E., & Vandenberg, R. J. (2010). Longitudinal research: The
theory, design, and analysis of change. Journal of Management, 36,
94 –120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0149206309352110
Podsakoff, N. P., Spoelma, T. M., Chawla, N., & Gabriel, A. S. (2019).
What predicts within-person variance in applied psychology constructs?
An empirical examination. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104, 727–
754. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000374
Porath, C., & Pearson, C. (2013). The price of incivility. Harvard Business
Review, 91, 114 –121.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling
strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple me-
diator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879 – 891. http://dx.doi
.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879
Preacher, K. J., & Kelley, K. (2011). Effect size measures for mediation
models: Quantitative strategies for communicating indirect effects. Psy-
chological Methods, 16, 93–115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0022658
Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K., & Prkachin, K. M. (2011). Gratitude and
well-being: Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention? Ap-
plied Psychology Health and Well-Being, 3, 350 –369. http://dx.doi.org/
10.1111/j.1758-0854.2011.01058.x
Rhoades, L., & Eisenberger, R. (2002). Perceived organizational support:
A review of the literature. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 698 –714.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.87.4.698
Rosen, C. C., Koopman, J., Gabriel, A. S., & Johnson, R. E. (2016). Who
strikes back? A daily investigation of when and why incivility begets
incivility. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101, 1620 –1634. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1037/apl0000140
Schilpzand, P., De Pater, I. E., & Erez, A. (2016). Workplace incivility: A
review of the literature and agenda for future research. Journal of
Organizational Behavior, 37, 57– 88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.1976
Schmidt, K. H., Neubach, B., & Heuer, H. (2007). Self-control demands,
cognitive control deficits, and burnout. Work and Stress, 21, 142–154.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02678370701431680
Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive
psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American
Psychologist, 60, 410 – 421. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.60.5
.410
Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to increase and sustain
positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing
best possible selves. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 73– 82.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760500510676
Sheridan, S. (2017). Gee, thanks: The emotional and structural forces that
influence subordinates’ upward gratitude expressions. (Unpublished
doctoral dissertation). Orlando: University of Central Florida.
Short, J. C., Broberg, J. C., Cogliser, C. C., & Brigham, K. H. (2010).
Construct validation using computer-aided text analysis (CATA) an
illustration using entrepreneurial orientation. Organizational Research
Methods, 13, 320 –347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1094428109335949
Spence, J. R., Brown, D. J., Keeping, L. M., & Lian, H. (2014). Helpful
today, but not tomorrow? Feeling grateful as a predictor of daily orga-
nizational citizenship behaviors. Personnel Psychology, 67, 705–738.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/peps.12051
Spence Laschinger, H. K., Leiter, M. P., Day, A., Gilin-Oore, D., &
Mackinnon, S. P. (2012). Building empowering work environments that
foster civility and organizational trust: Testing an intervention. Nursing
Research, 61, 316 –325. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/NNR.0b013e
318265a58d
Tepper, B. J., & Henle, C. A. (2011). A case for recognizing distinctions
among constructs that capture interpersonal mistreatment in work orga-
nizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32, 487– 498. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1002/job.688
Twenge, J., Muraven, M., & Tice, D. (2004). Measuring state self-control:
Reliability, validity, and correlations with physical and psychological
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
17
GRATITUDE INTERVENTION
stress. Unpublished manuscript, San Diego, CA: San Diego State Uni-
versity.
van Jaarsveld, D. D., Walker, D. D., & Skarlicki, D. P. (2010). The role of
job demands and emotional exhaustion in the relationship between
customer and employee incivility. Journal of Management, 36, 1486 –
1504. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0149206310368998
Walsh, B. M., & Magley, V. J. (2018). Workplace civility training: Un-
derstanding drivers of motivation to learn. International Journal of
Human Resource Management. Advance online publication. http://dx
.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2018.1441164
Walsh, B. M., Magley, V. J., Reeves, D. W., Davies-Schrils, K. A.,
Marmet, M. D., & Gallus, J. A. (2012). Assessing workgroup norms for
civility: The development of the Civility Norms Questionnaire–Brief.
Journal of Business and Psychology, 27, 407– 420. http://dx.doi.org/10
.1007/s10869-011-9251-4
Wanberg, C. R., & Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D. (2000). Predictors and
outcomes of proactivity in the socialization process. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 85, 373–385. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.85.3.373
Wangwan, J. (2014). A model of relationship between gratitude and
prosocial motivation of Thai high school and undergraduate students.
International Journal of Behavioral Science, 9, 15–30.
Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude
and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships
with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality, 31, 431–
451. http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2003.31.5.431
Winslow, C. J., Kaplan, S. A., Bradley-Geist, J. C., Lindsey, A. P., Ahmad,
A. S., & Hargrove, A. K. (2017). An examination of two positive
organizational interventions: For whom do these interventions work?
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22, 129 –137. http://dx.doi
.org/10.1037/ocp0000035
Wo, D. X. H., Ambrose, M. L., & Schminke, M. (2015). What drives
trickle-down effects? A test of multiple mediation processes. Academy of
Management Journal, 58, 1848 –1868. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj
.2013.0670
Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. (2010). Gratitude and
well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology
Review, 30, 890 –905. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005
Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008).
The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and
depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personal-
ity, 42, 854 – 871. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2007.11.003
Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Stewart, N., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008).
A social-cognitive model of trait and state levels of gratitude. Emotion,
8, 281–290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.8.2.281
Woolum, A., Foulk, T., Lanaj, K., & Erez, A. (2017). Rude color glasses:
The contaminating effects of witnessed morning rudeness on perceptions
and behaviors throughout the workday. Journal of Applied Psychology,
102, 1658 –1672. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000247
Yam, K. C., Fehr, R., Keng-Highberger, F. T., Klotz, A. C., & Reynolds,
S. J. (2016). Out of control: A self-control perspective on the link
between surface acting and abusive supervision. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 101, 292–301. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000043
Zhang, Y. A., & Shaw, J. D. (2012). Publishing in AMJ—Part 5: Crafting
the methods and results. Academy of Management Journal, 55, 8 –12.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj.2012.4001
Received June 27, 2019
Revision received June 30, 2020
Accepted July 29, 2020
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
18 LOCKLEAR, TAYLOR, AND AMBROSE
... First, several papers discussed the moods or discrete emotions that individuals experience as linked to their gossiping tendencies (e.g., Feinberg et al., 2012;Wu et al., 2018). For example, Yao et al. (2014) showed that the level of perceived surprise spurred gossip in a laboratory setting, while Locklear et al. (2020) found that gratitude manipulated in the field reduced employees' reported gossiping at work. Personality characteristics can also be a contributing factor for individuals' gossip behavior. ...
... Martinescu et al. (2019a) found that various employee motives including information seeking, influence, and support seeking led to more gossip behavior. Studying intrapersonal motivation in the form of mental resources, Locklear et al. (2020) found that employees' self-control resources were negatively related to their gossip behavior at work. ...
... Our review also illuminates that extant scholarship until recently has not studied interventions that might facilitate helpful gossip or, alternatively, that might prevent or discourage harmful gossip (for an exception, see Locklear et al., 2020) Finally, we would like to underscore that gossip is often clandestine in nature (Yovetich & Drigotas, 1999), frequently hidden from the target and third parties. Due to its hidden nature, it may be fitting for future scholars to study employees' perceptions of being gossiped about, regardless of whether this is true or not, in addition to witnessing actual gossip behavior or participating in gossip events. ...
Article
Full-text available
The workplace gossip construct is currently divergently interpreted by organizational scholars, with perceptions of its origins, functions, and impacts varying widely. In this comprehensive narrative review, we seek to provide much needed clarity around the often studied and frequently demonstrated employee behavior of workplace gossip by synthesizing gossip studies conducted during the past four decades in both the organization and psychology literatures. The first section of our review considers measures, designs, and theoretical frameworks featured in these studies. In the second section, we consolidate and integrate research findings from the extant literatures into three emerging categories of gossip antecedents (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational antecedents), four categories of gossip functions (information exchange, ego enhancement, social integration, and social segregation), and three categories of gossip consequences (consequences for gossip senders/recipients, for gossip targets, and beyond the triads). In the last section, we propose an integrative model to guide future investigations on the antecedents, functions, and consequences of workplace gossip. Our review aims to provide a clear overview of existing gossip research across the organization and psychology literatures and to highlight several important trends to open up various opportunities for future impactful workplace gossip scholarship.
... This neglect may lead scholars to underestimate the relevance and importance of trait gratitude in organizational contexts, given that trait gratitude is more stable, persistent and far reaching than state gratitude. In this paper, we therefore explore the organizational impact of trait gratitude (Fehr et al., 2017;Lee et al., 2019;Locklear et al., 2020;Ouyang et al., 2018;Spence et al., 2014;Sun et al., 2019;Waters, 2012;Wood et al., 2009). ...
... This has complemented the prevalent relationship-oriented approach to gratitude in the workplace (Fehr et al., 2017;Ford et al., 2018;McCullough et al., 2002;Wood, Maltby, Stewart et al., 2008). Third, we identify psychological availability as the intrapersonal functional mechanism underlying the joint influence of trait gratitude and task significance, which supplements the interpersonal function of trait gratitude at work (Andersson et al., 2007;Fehr et al., 2017;Leong et al., 2020;Locklear et al., 2020;McCullough et al., 2002;Waters & Stokes, 2015). Fourth, we enrich the theoretical frameworks of trait gratitude by applying the trait activation theory in the relationship between trait gratitude and OCBs, which helps to open a new door of exploring how organizations can more effectively promote positive traits at work (Tett & Burnett, 2003;Tett & Guterman, 2000;Tett et al., 2021). ...
... Since management and social psychology studies may share the positive generality of the relationship-oriented approach to gratitude, the taskoriented approach to trait gratitude by exploring the moderating effect of task significance could reflect the uniqueness, closeness and applicability of trait gratitude at work (Fehr et al., 2017;McCullough et al., 2002;Wood, Maltby, Stewart et al., 2008). This has offered substantive evidence for the utility and relevance of trait gratitude in organizations (Fehr et al., 2017;Locklear et al., 2020;McCullough et al., 2002;Wood, Maltby, Stewart et al., 2008). ...
... Though Delvaux et al. was interested in the moderating role of emotional norms, their findings highlight the importance of considering the emotional context. Moreover, Locklear et al. (2020) found that perceived gratitude norms moderated the extent to which a workplace gratitude intervention increase employee resources. That is, individuals who perceived higher norms of gratitude in their workplace had more replenishing effects after the intervention than those who perceived lower gratitude norms in their workplace. ...
... However, it is not clear whether these functions of gratitude-resource replenishment, other-focused concern, and partner perceptions-explain the effects of gratitude only on each of their respective outcomes examined previously or whether these functions also explain the effects of gratitude on various possible outcomes in the workplace. For example, some evidence indicates that both receiving gratitude at work and cultivating gratitude through a workplace gratitude intervention influences discretionary outcomes (e.g., helping, CWBs) through an influx of resources (i.e., energy, Sheridan & Ambrose, 2020; self-control, Locklear et al., 2020). Yet much of the gratitude literature suggests that the moral effects of gratitude are mediated by concern for others' welfare. ...
Article
Full-text available
Though gratitude research in organizational behavior (OB) is nascent, this emotion has a rich history in the social sciences. Research has shown gratitude to promote prosocial behaviors, encourage personal well-being, and foster interpersonal relationships. However, gratitude research has been siloed among these three outcomes of gratitude (moral, wellness, and relational). Similarly, past reviews of gratitude have focused on only one group of outcomes, one of its forms (trait, state, or expressed), or empirical findings without emphasis on the theoretical underpinnings. In contrast, this review recognizes that each type of gratitude, its functions, and outcomes are part of a single process model of gratitude. As such, in the current review we provide a comprehensive assessment of gratitude in the social sciences by distilling and organizing the literature per our process model of episodic gratitude. Then, we translate the insights for management scholars, highlighting possible differences and synergies between extant research and workplace gratitude thereby helping advance “gratitude science” in the workplace. In all, this review (a) examines definitions and operationalizations of gratitude and provides recommendations for organizational research; (b) proposes a process model of episodic workplace gratitude as a conceptual map to guide future OB research on gratitude; (c) reviews empirical gratitude research through the lens of our process model; and (d) discusses the current state of the literature, important differences for workplace gratitude, and future directions for organizational scholars.
... Regarding the manipulation checks, for the affect management training, we followed previous studies (e.g., [22,115]) and assessed team members' perceptions of whether they correctly perceived and used the training contents. To do so, ten items on an ad hoc scale were used. ...
... Finally, we used a waitlist control design to test our hypotheses. This design is adequate [115], particularly if we consider the scarcity of virtual team intervention studies. This design is useful because it allows waitlisted participants to benefit from the intervention. ...
Article
Full-text available
A disruptive digitalization recently occurred that led to the fast adoption of virtual teams. However, membership diversity and team virtuality threaten members’ well-being, especially if faultlines appear (i.e., subgroups). Considering the job demands–resources model and the role of group affect in shaping members’ perceptions of well-being, we test the effectiveness of a short-term affect management training for increasing members’ eudaimonic well-being. Moreover, based on the trait activation theory and the contingent configuration approach, we draw on the personality composition literature to test how different openness to experience configurations of team level and diversity together moderate the effect of the training. Hypotheses were tested using a pre–post design in an online randomized controlled trial in an educational context in Spain, with a sample of 52 virtual teams with faultlines. Results show that affect management training increased eudaimonic well-being. Furthermore, there was a moderation effect (three-way interaction) of openness to experience configurations, so that the training was more effective in teams with high levels and low diversity in openness to experience. We discuss implications for training, well-being, and personality composition literature. This study helps organizations develop sustainable virtual teams with engaged members through affect management training and selection processes based on the openness to experience trait.
... Furthermore, when incivility does inevitably occur, continued research is needed into interventions that may buffer its injurious consequences for victims or otherwise disrupt tit-for-tat spirals from materializing. To this end, Locklear et al. (2020) reported that gratitude journaling may hold promise in reducing incivility (and other forms of mistreatment). Similarly, then, such journaling interventions may also serve to help victims cope with experienced incivility and refrain from engaging in retaliatory incivility. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we propose and examine an integrative framework to investigate factors contributing to the experience of workplace incivility (including victim demography, dispositional individual differences, and environmental factors), the affective, health-related, social exchange-based, and behavioral outcomes associated with experienced incivility, and boundary conditions for their relationships. To this end, we conduct a comprehensive meta-analysis on the antecedents and consequences of experienced workplace incivility based on 253 statistically independent samples from 219 primary studies and examine several moderators such as differences in time-related research design (cross-sectional vs. time-lagged), incivility instigator source, and occupation. Further, by integrating meta-analytic effect sizes from the current study with effect sizes from existing meta-analyses, we also investigate the extent to which the impact of experienced incivility on outcomes differs from that of higher intensity forms of workplace mistreatment inclusive of bullying, abusive supervision, and sexual harassment, thereby enhancing understanding regarding the nomological net of experienced incivility in comparison to more intense forms of workplace mistreatment. We discuss the implications of these findings along with study limitations and future directions for incivility scholarship.
... More broadly, we further answer Fehr et al.'s (2017) call for greater attention to the role of gratitude in organizational life. Despite the prominent place of gratitude within the broader psychological literature, as well as its established role in promoting relationship building and acts of prosociality (Algoe et al., 2008;Ma et al., 2017), only a handful of studies have been conducted on gratitude-related phenomena at work (Ford et al., 2018;Grant & Wrzesniewski, 2010;Lee et al., 2019;Locklear et al., 2020;Spence et al., 2014;Sun et al., 2019). Of note, this problem is not limited to gratitude. ...
Article
Full-text available
Gratitude plays an integral role in promoting helping behavior at work. Thus, cultivating employees' experiences of gratitude represents an important imperative in modern organizations that rely on teamwork and collaboration to achieve organizational goals. Yet, today's workplace presents a complex array of demands that make it difficult for employees to fully attend to and appreciate the various benefits they receive at work. As such, gratitude is difficult for employers to promote and for employees to experience. Despite these observations, the role of attention and awareness in facilitating employees' feelings of gratitude is largely overlooked in the extant literature. In this study, we examined whether one notable form of present moment attention, mindfulness, may promote helping behavior by stimulating the positive, other-oriented emotion of gratitude. Across two experimental studies, a semiweekly, multisource diary study, and a 10-day experience sampling investigation, we found converging evidence for a serial mediation model in which state mindfulness, via positive affect and perspective taking, prompts greater levels of gratitude, prosocial motivation, and, in turn, helping behavior at work. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our investigation, as well as avenues for the future research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Dispositional gratitude has recently emerged as a variable of interest in organizational contexts. However, it remains unclear whether dispositional gratitude is predictive of employee well-being, with limited theoretical and empirical elucidation of the underlying mechanisms. To address these limitations, the present study investigated dispositional gratitude as a predictor of employee well-being and organizational commitment. Drawing on the broaden-and-build theory of positive affect, the study also examined whether the social bonding resources of leader-member exchange (LMX) and coworker exchange (CWX) mediated these effects. The participating employees ( N = 300) completed the survey in three waves at one-week intervals. The results of structural equation modeling (SEM) confirm that dispositional gratitude is positively related to employee well-being and organizational commitment and that these effects are mediated by LMX and CWX. The paper concludes by discussing the theoretical and practical implications of these findings, the study’s limitations, and future research directions.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose - Pervasive and rampant workplace incivility effects have called for more studies on antecedents and possible deterrents of the onset of negative organizational behaviors. Based on Social Exchange Theory (SET), this study proposes a framework investigating the underlying mechanisms of Team-Member Exchange (TMX) on Instigated Incivility. Design/methodology/approach - The hypothesized model explores the combined effect of interventions on teams and organizational levels. Indeed, the personal norm of negative reciprocity (PNR) and the psychological contract violation (PCV) are hypothesized as mediating variables of such a relationship. The model is empirically tested using covariance-based structural equation modeling (CB-SEM) on a sample of 330 employees of organizations with a team-based design. PNR and PCV resulted as a full mediating variable of the relationship between TMX and Instigated Incivility. Findings - Findings suggest that, by encouraging high-quality TMX, HR managers could reduce employees’ willingness to instigate incivility toward colleagues other than team members. However, focusing only on TMX may be insufficient because of the role played by individual attitudes and organizational levers such as PNR and PCV. Originality - We enrich current works on incivility by analyzing the role of positive sentiments in minimizing deviant behaviors. Further, we investigate negative organizational phenomena through a positive lens and contribute to building a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that might produce uncivil behaviors.
Article
Emerging research shows that moral emotions can promote individual prosocial behaviors and adaptation during adversity. Integrating Affective Events Theory (AET) with two functionalist theories of emotions (social functions of emotions and broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions), we extend this line of research by focusing on other-oriented moral emotions as facilitators of individuals’ adaptive behavior of voice during a major crisis. We conducted a four-wave survey study with 111 U.S. working adults during the early (acute) stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results indicated that supervisors’ companionate love expression elicited gratitude in subordinates, particularly when subordinates perceived high uncertainty of the crisis, which, in turn, broadened subordinates’ in-role perceptions of, and promoted engagement in, voice behaviors. Our findings extend AET in meaningful ways and contribute to research on the moral emotions of companionate love and gratitude, stressing their value in managerial practice.
Chapter
This chapter throws light on the idea of compassion in organizational behavior, and explains its application to positive psychology coaching. We explain that compassion can be activated not merely as a response to the coachee’s suffering that results from the inevitable turbulence they face in their work lives, but also as an active involvement in the flourishing of the coachee in their chosen vocational path. Using the theoretical lens of Intentional Change Theory, and the motivational role of the Ideal Self, we provide practical guidelines of how such coaching can be performed. We also delineate the contextual conditions within which this approach to coaching is effective.
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have shown great interest in the antecedents and outcomes of workplace ostracism, which has led to an expansive body of research. In light of this work, the current article fulfills the need for a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of the antecedents and outcomes associated with workplace ostracism. We begin our review by adapting a victimization perspective to understand ostracism as a triadic social process between the victim, perpetrator, and the environment. The meta-analytic results then support that leadership characteristics are the strongest related antecedents of workplace ostracism, followed by certain aspects of personality (e.g., Big Five) and contextual characteristics (e.g., social support). The results also show that workplace ostracism very strongly relates to deviance, and it strongly relates to other performance outcomes (e.g., core-performance, helping, voice), well-being outcomes (e.g., psychological well-being, emotions, self-perceptions), and organizational perceptions (e.g., job satisfaction, commitment, justice). We also show that the relationship of performance, well-being, emotions, and self-perceptions when measured after ostracism was comparable to their relationship when measured before ostracism. These results suggest that the outcomes of ostracism are less certain than previously thought, as they may instead be antecedents of ostracism. Finally, we call for future research to investigate this notion, along with further integration of the victimization perspective as well as the study of contextual predictors and moderators. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Theory and evidence suggest that everyday positive emotions may be potent factors in resilience during periods of chronic stress, yet the body of evidence is scant. Even less research focuses on the adaptive functions of specific positive emotions in this critical context. In the current research, 54 women with metastatic breast cancer provided information about their emotional responses to benefits received to test hypotheses regarding the social functions of gratitude. One set of analyses provide support for the hypothesized role of ego-transcendence in feeling gratitude upon receipt of a benefit from another person. As predicted, in a second set of analyses, grateful responding to received benefits predicted an increase in perceived social support over three months only for women low in ambivalence over emotional expression. These findings add to evidence regarding the social causes and consequences of gratitude, supporting a view of gratitude as an other-focused positive emotion that functions to promote high-quality relationships. Discussion focuses on the chronically stressful context as an important testing ground for theory on gratitude and other positive emotions.
Article
Full-text available
Training is recommended as an important human resource management (HRM) practice to prevent mistreatment and enhance civility, but little is known about what influences the effectiveness of civility training. The central aim of this study was to address how workgroup conditions influence employees’ attitudes about civility training and motivation to learn, which previous research shows is a predictor of training outcomes. Predictors were posited to include psychological and workgroup climate for civility, and personal and ambient mistreatment experiences. These predictors were hypothesized to drive positive (training discrepancy) and negative (training skepticism) pre-training attitudes, which in turn were expected to influence motivation to learn. Results suggest the influence of climate for civility and mistreatment experiences on motivation to learn is largely indirect via pre-training attitudes. Training skepticism and training discrepancy have conflicting influences on motivation to learn. Findings provide an empirical basis for HRM professionals to maximize employee motivation to learn in their own civility interventions.
Article
Full-text available
Following a review of extant reporting standards for scientific publication, and reviewing 10 years of experience since publication of the first set of reporting standards by the American Psychological Association (APA; APA Publications and Communications Board Working Group on Journal Article Reporting Standards, 2008), the APA Working Group on Quantitative Research Reporting Standards recommended some modifications to the original standards. Examples of modifications include division of hypotheses, analyses, and conclusions into 3 groupings (primary, secondary, and exploratory) and some changes to the section on meta-analysis. Several new modules are included that report standards for observational studies, clinical trials, longitudinal studies, replication studies, and N-of-1 studies. In addition, standards for analytic methods with unique characteristics and output (structural equation modeling and Bayesian analysis) are included. These proposals were accepted by the Publications and Communications Board of APA and supersede the standards included in the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010).
Article
Utilizing Haidt's (2003) “families” of moral emotions, we synthesize and review the moral emotions literature in an effort to advance organizational scholarship. First, we broadly discuss “what constitutes a moral emotion?” Second, we critically examine each family of moral emotions. We discuss key controversies and debates, particularly in terms of construct overlap, and provide recommendations. Third, we review scholarly work on each family of moral emotions in the workplace and offer ideas for future research. Finally, in our general future directions, we discuss a range of theoretical perspectives that can be used to advance the moral emotions literature in the management field.
Article
The attention paid to intraindividual phenomena in applied psychology has rapidly increased during the last two decades. However, the design characteristics of studies using daily experience sampling methods and the proportion of within-person variance in the measures employed in these studies vary substantially. This raises a critical question yet to be addressed: are differences in the proportion of variance attributable to within- versus between-person factors dependent on construct-, measure-, design-, and/or sample-related characteristics? A multilevel analysis based on 1,051,808 within-person observations reported in 222 intraindividual empirical studies indicated that decisions about what to study (construct type), how to study it (measurement and design characteristics), and from whom to obtain the data (sample characteristics) predicted the proportion of variance attributable to within-person factors. We conclude with implications and recommendations for those conducting and reviewing applied intraindividual research.
Article
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Article
In four studies, the authors examined the correlates of the disposition toward gratitude. Study 1 revealed that self-ratings and observer ratings of the grateful disposition are associated with positive affect and well-being prosocial behaviors and traits, and religiousness/spirituality. Study 2 replicated these findings in a large nonstudent sample. Study 3 yielded similar results to Studies 1 and 2 and provided evidence that gratitude is negatively associated with envy and materialistic attitudes. Study 4 yielded evidence that these associations persist after controlling for Extraversion/positive affectivity, Neuroticism/negative affectivity, and Agreeableness. The development of the Gratitude Questionnaire, a unidimensional measure with good psychometric properties, is also described.
Article
The authors reviewed more than 70 studies concerning employees' general belief that their work organization values their contribution and cares about their well-being (perceived organizational support; POS). A meta-analysis indicated that 3 major categories of beneficial treatment received by employees (i.e., fairness, supervisor support, and organizational rewards and favorable job conditions) were associated with POS. POS, in turn, was related to outcomes favorable to employees (e.g., job satisfaction, positive mood) and the organization (e.g., affective commitment, performance, and lessened withdrawal behavior). These relationships depended on processes assumed by organizational support theory: employees' belief that the organization's actions were discretionary, feeling of obligation to aid the organization, fulfillment of socioemotional needs, and performance-reward expectancies.