From schoolyard to workplace: The impact of bullying on sales and business employees' machiavellianism, job satisfaction, and perceived importance of an ethical issue

Sean Valentine, Gary Fleischman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bullying can precipitate many negative outcomes at work, but previous research does not adequately address how such misbehavior affects employee dispositions and attitudes; how these characteristics impact ethical decision making is also underexplored. Given these research gaps, the purpose of this study is to assess (1) the impact of bullying on Machiavellianism and job satisfaction, and (2) the influences of Machiavellianism and job satisfaction on perceived ethical issue importance, a measure of ethical decision making. Three hundred eighty-four sales and business employees working for different firms operating in the United States answered a self-report questionnaire. The findings showed that, after accounting for social desirability bias, workplace bullying was positively associated with Machiavellianism and negatively associated with job satisfaction. Machiavellianism was negatively related to the perceived importance of an ethical issue embedded in a vignette highlighting Machiavellianism and latent bullying behaviors. In addition, job satisfaction was positively related to ethical issue importance. Finally, both Machiavellianism and job satisfaction mediated the relationship between bullying experiences and importance of an ethical issue, as evidenced by their significant indirect effects. HR professionals should minimize bullying and Machiavellianism to reduce the corrosive effect on the ethical environment and enhance work attitudes and ethical decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Resource Management
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Machiavellianism
  • bullying
  • ethics
  • job satisfaction

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