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Human relations

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Organizational behavior -- Management


During organizational entry, newcomers often draw upon internal resources like coworkers and supervisors to navigate their roles. Could external interactions with customers or patients hold the key to newcomer adjustment in certain job contexts? Our study, rooted in the conservation of resources theory, identifies a critical link between mistreatment from external parties and newcomer adjustment—a connection that is explained by rumination and work engagement. Through two studies involving new nurses in China (Study 1: four-wave cross-lagged panel design, N = 181; Study 2: four-wave time-lagged design, N = 198), we uncover that mistreatment from patients results in rumination among newcomers, leading to diminished task mastery and role clarity, as mediated by reduced work engagement. This ripple effect of external mistreatment persists even when accounting for internal mistreatment (abusive supervision and coworker incivility). Our results illustrate how negative interactions with external entities can hinder newcomer adjustment—a revelation with far-reaching implications for practitioners and future research.


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