Internal attribution for bad events, along with stable and global attributions, has been regarded as a component of pessimism, a precursor of negative work outcomes. Most evidence in support of this conceptualisation has come from research conducted in individualist cultures. We questioned if internal attribution has the same pessimistic implication in a collectivist culture. Findings from two studies conducted on Chinese employees supported our expectations that the stability and globality dimensions (but not the internality dimension) would predict disengagement responses (such as quitting and being neglectful at work) and lack of engagement responses (such as voicing suggestions and being loyal to the organisation). A reconceptualisation of pessimism in the workplace is therefore necessary. A dimensional, rather than a composite, scoring method is proposed for maintaining the predictive and construct validities of attributional style as an indicator of pessimism.