Aggression-Preventive Supervisor Behavior: Implications for Workplace Climate and Employee Outcomes

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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

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Workplace aggression remains a serious and costly issue for organizations; thus, it is imperative to understand ways to reduce workplace aggression. To address this need, we used 2 independent samples with varied study designs, one at the employee level and the other at both employee and unit levels, to examine the role of aggression-preventive supervisor behavior (APSB) in aggression-prevention processes. In Sample 1 (237 nurses), we used structural equation modeling to examine the role of individual observations of APSB. First, we found that individual employees’ observations of APSB positively related to their individual violence-prevention climate (VPC) perceptions. Further, VPC perceptions mediated the relations between APSB and employees’ exposure to coworker aggression, job attitudes, and physical symptoms. In Sample 2 (337 nurses), we used multilevel regression analysis to examine the positive role of APSB in managing the aggression process. First, we established further support for many of the findings in Sample 1. In addition, we found that shared unit-level VPC mediated the relations of unit-level APSB with employees’ exposure to aggression from coworkers, their physical symptoms, and turnover intention. Finally, evidence from Sample 2 supported favorable, direct relations of individual- or unit-level APSB with employees’ aggression-prevention compliance and turnover intention. Implications for studying context-specific leadership behavior and designing aggression-prevention interventions are discussed


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