An integrative approach to understanding counterproductive work behavior: The roles of stressors, negative emotions, and moral disengagement

Roberta Fida (Lead Author), Marinella Paciello, Carlo Tramontano, Reid Griffith Fontaine, Claudio Barbaranelli, Maria Luisa Farnese

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197 Citations (Scopus)
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Several scholars have highlighted the importance of examining moral disengagement (MD) in understanding aggression and deviant conduct across different contexts. The present study investigates the role of MD as a specific social-cognitive construct that, in the organizational context, may intervene in the process leading from stressors to counterproductive work behavior (CWB). Assuming the theoretical framework of the stressor-emotion model of CWB, we hypothesized that MD mediates, at least partially, the relation between negative emotions in reaction to perceived stressors and CWB by promoting or justifying aggressive responses to frustrating situations or events. In a sample of 1,147 Italian workers, we tested a structural equations model. The results support our hypothesis: the more workers experienced negative emotions in response to stressors, the more they morally disengaged and, in turn, enacted CWB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Early online date15 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Moral disengagement
  • Counterproductive work behavior
  • Job stressor
  • Negative emotions
  • Aggression

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