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A Study of Why Anomic Employees Harm Co-workers: Do Uncompassionate Feelings Matter?

Pablo Zoghbi-Manrique- de-Lara () and Rita M. Guerra-Báez ()
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Pablo Zoghbi-Manrique- de-Lara: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University
Rita M. Guerra-Báez: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University

Journal of Business Ethics, 2018, vol. 152, issue 4, 1117-1132

Abstract: Abstract Although anomic feelings have been found to lead employees to unethical performance, little is known about why this relationship is possible. The aim of this study is to test a compassion-based explanation of why anomic employees harm co-workers by displaying interpersonal deviance. The prediction is made that once sociological anomie (from the Greek, an-: absence, and -nomos: law) enters organizations in the form of employees’ private feelings of anomie—i.e., “anomia”—, this anomia will individually move staff to be uncompassionate in the workplace. Three uncompassionate feelings toward co-workers are then hypothesized to mediate the relationship between anomia and interpersonal deviance: (i) negative judgments about others, (ii) over-identification, and (iii) isolation. Data were collected from 280 employees at ten hotels in the Canary Islands (Spain). The results indicated that (a) anomia was significantly and positively linked to uncompassionate feelings and interpersonal deviance, (b) but only negative judgments about others mediated the anomia effects on interpersonal deviance. Findings suggest to managers that by spreading ethical standards that discourage negative judgments about others in the workplace, they can neutralize the mechanisms leading anomia to interpersonal deviance.

Keywords: Compassion; Anomia; Workplace deviance; Interpersonal deviance; Hospitality industry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:152:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3313-5