“Incivility, social undermining, bullying…oh my!”: A call to reconcile constructs within workplace aggression research

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Abstract

Research in the field of workplace aggression has rapidly developed in the last two decades, and with this growth has come an abundance of overlapping constructs that fall under the broad rubric of workplace aggression. While researchers have conceptually distinguished these constructs, it is unclear whether this proliferation of constructs is adding appreciably to our knowledge, or whether it is constraining the questions we ask. In this paper, I consider five example constructs (i.e., abusive supervision, bullying, incivility, social undermining, and interpersonal conflict) and argue that the manner in which we have differentiated these (and other) aggression constructs does not add appreciably to our knowledge of workplace aggression. I then provide supplementary meta-analytic evidence to show that there is not a predictable pattern of outcomes from these constructs, and propose a restructuring of the manner in which we conceptualize workplace aggression. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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