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Shared aggression concerns and organizational outcomes: The moderating role of resource constraints


  • The first and second author contributed equally to this manuscript. A previous version of this study was presented at Work Stress and Health, New Challenges for a Changing Workplace. Conference sponsored by the American Psychological Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (March, 2003).

Correspondence to: Jenell L. S. Wittmer, Department of Management, College of Business and Innovation, University of Toledo, 2801W Bancroft Avenue, MS103, Toledo, Ohio 43606, U.S.A. E-mail:


Most research on workplace aggression focuses on the antecedents and consequences of aggression for individual workers. The current study examines how shared workplace aggression concerns relate to internal and external organizational outcomes. Drawing on the work stress, social identity, and social contagion literatures, we propose relationships between unit-level aggression concerns and unit-level measures of performance and employee attitudes in a public school sample (2989 employees; 163 schools). We also propose that these relationships differ depending on the resource context of the school. Consistent with our expectations, schools in which teachers had strong shared concerns about aggression also had poorer shared job attitudes and poorer student outcomes, as indicated by average standardized test scores at the school. The impact of shared concerns about aggression on school-level standardized test scores was stronger for resource-rich schools than for schools with fewer resources. The current study contributes to organizational research as it establishes that workplace aggression concerns have adverse consequences for the whole organization, not only for the individuals experiencing the events. Our findings demonstrate that employees' shared concerns about aggression have an impact on organizational outcomes and suggest a prevention-focused approach to workplace aggression. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.