Blaming the organization for abusive supervision: The roles of perceived organizational support and supervisor's organizational embodiment

Mindy K. Shoss, Robert Eisenberger, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, Thomas J. Zagenczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why do employees who experience abusive supervision retaliate against the organization? We apply organizational support theory to propose that employees hold the organization partly responsible for abusive supervision. Depending on the extent to which employees identify the supervisor with the organization (i.e., supervisor's organizational embodiment), we expected abusive supervision to be associated with low perceived organizational support (POS) and consequently with retribution against the organization. Across 3 samples, we found that abusive supervision was associated with decreased POS as moderated by supervisor's organizational embodiment. In turn, reduced POS was related to heightened counterproductive work behavior directed against the organization and lowered in-role and extra-role performance. These findings suggest that employees partly attribute abusive supervision to negative valuation by the organization and, consequently, behave negatively toward and withhold positive contributions to it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-168
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Abusive supervision
  • Perceived organizational support
  • Workplace victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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