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The employee as a punching bag: The effect of multiple sources of incivility on employee withdrawal behavior and sales performance


Michael Sliter, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, U.S.A. E-mail:


The link between the interpersonal stressor of workplace mistreatment and objective measures of performance is often overlooked in organizational research. In order to fill this research gap, we examined the unique and combined effects of two sources of incivility (customer and coworker) on objective sales performance and withdrawal behaviors (absenteeism and tardiness). We hypothesized that coworker and customer incivility would interact to predict reduced performance and increased withdrawal, using the conservation of resources model to support our hypotheses. We surveyed 120 bank tellers regarding experienced incivility and obtained performance and withdrawal data spanning a period of several months following the survey. The data indicated that coworker and customer incivility did interact to predict decreased sales performance and increased absenteeism, supporting the majority of our proposed hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings and future directions are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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