Lashing out: emotional exhaustion triggers retaliatory incivility in the workplace

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10 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)


Incivility in the workplace is a growing problem in many workplaces that can detrimentally affect employees and organisations. Despite this increasing problem, the current literature on incivility lacks an integrated theoretical model to explain engaged and retaliated incivility in the workplace. To address this gap, we tested a model which incorporated both Spiral Theory of Incivility with Conservation of Resource Theory to explain the underlying processes involve in the relationship between engaged and retaliatory workplace incivility. Specifically, retaliatory incivility was hypothesised as an influencing factor, work withdrawal and job dissatisfaction as consequences, and emotional exhaustion as a moderator. A total of 875 employees in multinational organisations across three countries were panel surveyed. The overall result from the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) indicated that the fit indices for the proposed model fulfilled all recommended levels. Importantly, emotional exhaustion was found to be the trigger point in the negative spiral of workplace incivility. Theoretical implications and practical considerations were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08694
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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