Workplace ostracism and performance related outcomes: A process model incorporating social influence and social identity theories
Ostracism, defined as being ignored and excluded by others (Williams, 2007), is a painful experience even in its slightest form. Research has shown that perceptions of being ostracized have destructive impacts on a variety of individual attitudes and behaviors. It is found to impede people's cognitive functions (Bauiester, DeWall, Ciarocco, & Twenge, 2005), self-awareness (Twenge, Catanese, & Baumeister, 2003), and ability to empathize with others (Twenge, DeWall, Ciarocco, & Bartels, 2007). In addition, ostracized individuals are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors (Twenge, Baumeister, Tice, & Stucke, 2001). On the other side, people who feel being excluded from a group may improve their performance and prove their value to the group in order to regain the inclusionary status (Williams & Sommer, 1997). However, which reaction path to ostracism, contrastive vs. destructive, an ostracized individual will choose is still not clear. The current study attempts to answer this question by incorporating social influence and social identity theories and proposes a process model of ostracism in the workplace from others' ostracizing behaviors to the victims' organizational behaviors. According to social influence theory, the current study suggests political skill determines employee's response path to ostracism, so that politically skilled employees are more likely to choose constructive paths, while low politically skilled are more likely to choose destructive paths. At the same time, Need to belong and need to control are argued to moderate the magnitude of response to ostracism. In addition, political skill is proposed to affect the accuracy of perception of others' ostracizing behaviors, and reduce the strain outcome of perceived ostracism. Finally, organization-based self-esteem and organizational identification are examined in the reaction process to perceived ostracism based on social identify theory.
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