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Keywords:

  • workplace incivility;
  • affective commitment;
  • conscientiousness;
  • citizenship performance

Summary

Although all human relationships are believed to generally adhere to the basic tenets of social exchange theory, recent research suggests that exchange processes may vary as a function of individual differences. We tested this possibility by examining whether the effects of uncivil workplace exchanges on employee attitudes and behavior were moderated by conscientiousness. Using matched data from 190 job incumbents and their supervisors, we found (i) the effect of workplace incivility on citizenship performance to be transmitted through affective commitment and (ii) the strength of this effect to depend on individual differences in conscientiousness. As such, the overall pattern of relationships supported moderated mediation, in that, the indirect effect of workplace incivility on citizenship performance through affective commitment was stronger for individuals high (as compared with those low) in conscientiousness. These findings broaden the focus of prior research by illustrating that, in addition to the mediating effects of cognitive and stress-based factors, social exchange processes are important for understanding incivility's adverse effects on citizenship performance and that such exchanges are moderated by individual differences in conscientiousness. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.