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A multilevel model of abusive supervision climate

Shahid Khan (School of Business and Law, Central Queensland University, Brisbane, Australia)
Kohyar Kiazad (Monash Business School, Monash University, Caulfield East, Australia)
Sen Sendjaya (Management and Marketing, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Brian Cooper (Monash Business School, Monash University, Caulfield East, Australia)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 October 2021

Issue publication date: 13 December 2022




Abusive supervision climate (ASC) affects not only direct subordinates of abusive supervisors but also their colleagues who work in the same group. Therefore, this study aims to examine the underlying processes and boundary conditions of ASC's effects on group members' behaviors.


The study collected data from 213 employees in 51 workgroups across 13 organizations in Pakistan. Data were analyzed in MPlus version 8 (Muthén and Muthén, 1998–2017) using a random intercepts multilevel model. The authors followed the procedures for testing 2-1-1 mediation with a participant-level mediator as outlined in Pituch and Stapleton (2012).


The results revealed that anger mediated the negative relationship between ASC and group members' organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), as well as the positive relationship between ASC and group members' withdrawal. In addition, agreeableness moderated the effect of group members' anger on OCBs, such that the relationship was stronger for more agreeable group members.


The findings contribute to the abusive supervision literature by elucidating anger as one mechanism through which ASC affects group members and by incorporating personality differences to better understand group members' behavioral responses.



Khan, S., Kiazad, K., Sendjaya, S. and Cooper, B. (2022), "A multilevel model of abusive supervision climate", Personnel Review, Vol. 51 No. 9, pp. 2347-2370.



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