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The effect of alcohol consumption on workplace aggression: What's love (and job insecurity) got to do with it?

Emma Lei Jing (Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Michelle Inness (Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Ian R. Gellatly (Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 24 October 2022

Issue publication date: 26 January 2023

368

Abstract

Purpose

The authors tested whether the effect of alcohol consumption during work hours on workplace aggression was influenced by the combined impact of individuals' job insecurity and love of the job.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employed a time-lagged design whereby 325 working adults (166 men; 159 women) provided data at two time points. Respondents were asked to report their typical alcohol consumption volume in a workday, the extent to which they loved their job, and how insecure they felt about their job. Approximately one week later, respondents completed a workplace aggression measure.

Findings

A substantial positive relationship was observed between the volume of alcohol consumed during work hours and the likelihood of aggressive acts. Beyond this preliminary finding, the authors found evidence for a three-way interaction. It appears that the fear of losing a beloved job creates a condition under which the drinking-aggression relationship is particularly strong.

Practical implications

Besides formal rules deterring alcohol consumption during work hours, managers may look to implement measures that nurture a sense of job love and job security, which can be beneficial in preventing aggression resulting from drinking in the workplace.

Originality/value

By examining alcohol consumption during a typical workday, the study captures the contextual and proximal effects of drinking, which are often not observed in workplace-focused studies that operationalize alcohol consumption in general terms. The findings also suggest that if employees who drink during work hours are afraid of losing the job they love, a particularly stressful situation is created in which workplace aggression is more likely to happen.

Keywords

Citation

Jing, E.L., Inness, M. and Gellatly, I.R. (2023), "The effect of alcohol consumption on workplace aggression: What's love (and job insecurity) got to do with it?", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 60-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-09-2021-0513

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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