Judging Up the Corporate Ladder: Understanding the Social Conduct of Workers


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to C. Ward Struthers, Department of Psychology, Behavioural Sciences Building, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada.


The purpose of this research was to examine the social conduct of workers toward managers following a negative work event involving their managers. Three studies were conducted to examine the relationships among attributions, judgments of responsibility, anger and sympathy, and antisocial and prosocial behaviors. In Study 1, we manipulated ability and effort attributions with scenarios in order to examine the cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes of hypothetical workplace events. In Studies 2 and 3, we replicated these results using a retrospective, critical-incidents methodology and further explored the mediational relationships between cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses. Findings from the 3 studies supported hypotheses derived from Weiner's (1995) theory of social conduct.