From Conflict to Deviance: To foster or not to foster Reciprocity?
Keywords:reciprocity, conflict, interpersonal, deviance, organizational deviance
The present work aims to theoretically analyze the effect of reciprocity in the escalating process that could bring from a badly managed conflict to deviant behaviors in the workplace. More in detail, the analysis unpacks the micromechanisms that from a conflict could lead to the rise of interpersonal deviance up to organizational one. The paper adopts the interpretative framework of Social Exchange Theory to investigate the role of reciprocity in the escalating process of negative behaviors. By considering reciprocity as an individual orientation, it is interesting to note that people who have a strong tendency to reciprocate benefits may not have the same willingness to reciprocate harmful behaviors and vice versa. Applying this distinction in the analyses of conflicting and deviant behaviors leads to different conclusions about the role of reciprocity in organizational behaviors. The proposed conceptual model shows the role of positive reciprocity in mitigating the escalating process that brings from conflict to organizational deviance. This finding suggests exploiting employees’ positive reciprocity attitude to reduce the effects of negative phenomena inside the organization. Contrary to previous studies, which suggest avoiding reciprocity to reduce conflicting and deviant behaviors, the paper suggests a new theoretical lens to approach negative organizational phenomena.
Allen, J.J., Anderson, C.A., and Bushman, B.J. (2018) “The general aggression model”, Current Opinion in Psychology, 19: 75-80.
Axelrod, R. M. (1984) The evolution of cooperation, New York, NJ: Basic Books.
Bennett, R. J., Marasi, S., Locklear, L. (2018) “Workplace Deviance”, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management, online at https://oxfordre.com/business/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190224851.001.0001/acrefore-9780190224851-e-111.
Bennett, R. J., & Robinson, S. L. (2003) “The past, present, and future of workplace deviance research” In J. Greenberg (Ed.), Organizational behavior: The state of the science (pp. 247–281). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Blau, P. M. (1964) Exchange and Power in Social Life, New York, NJ: John Wiley.
Bowling, N. A., Beehr, T. A. (2006) “Workplace harassment from the victim’s perspective: A theoretical model and meta-analysis”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 91 (5): 998–1012.
Brett, J. M., Gunia, B. C., Teucher, B. M. (2017) “Culture and Negotiation Strategy: A Framework for Future Research”, Academy of Management Perspectives, 31 (4): 288–308.
Brett, J. M., Shapiro, D. L., Lytle, A. L. (1998), “Breaking the bonds of reciprocity in negotiations”, Academy of Management Journal, 41 (4): 410–424
Chiu, S.F. and Peng, J.C. (2008) “The relationship between psychological contract breach and employee deviance: The moderating role of hostile attributional style”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73 (3): 426-433.
Cropanzano, R., Mitchell, M. S. (2005) “Social Exchange Theory: An Interdisciplinary Review”, Journal of Management, 31 (6): 874–900.
Dalal, R. S. (2005) “A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Counterproductive Work Behavior”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (6): 1241–1255.
Deng, H., Coyle-Shapiro, J.A.M. and Yang, Q. (2018) “Beyond reciprocity: A conservation of resources view on the effects of psychological contract violation on third parties”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 103 (5): 561-577.
Eisenberger, R., Lynch, P., Aselage, J., Rohdieck, S. (2004) “Who Takes the most Revenge? Individual Differences in Negative Reciprocity Norm Endorsement”, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30 (6): 787–799
Eisenberger, R., Rexwinkel, B., Lynch, P., Rhoades, L., and Armeli, S. (2001) “Reciprocation of Perceived Organizational Support”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 86 (1): 42–51.
Gervasi, D., Faldetta, G., Pellegrini, M.M., and Maley, J. (2021) “Reciprocity in organizational behavior studies: A systematic literature review of contents, types, and directions”, European Management Journal, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2021.07.008
Gouldner, A. W. (1960) “The Norm of Reciprocity: A Preliminary Statement”, American Sociological Review, 25 (2): 161–178.
Greco, L. M., Whitson, J. A., O’Boyle, E. H., Wang, C. S., and Kim, J. (2019) “An Eye for an Eye? A Meta-Analysis of Negative Reciprocity in Organizations2, Journal of Applied Psychology, 104 (9): 1117–1143.
Itzkovich, Y., Heilbrunn, S. (2016) “The Role of Coworkers’ Solidarity as an Antecedent of Incivility and Deviant Behavior in Organizations”, Deviant Behavior, 37 (8): 861–876.
Mackey, J. D., McAllister, C. P., Ellen III, B. P., and Carson, J. E. (2021) “A meta-analysis of interpersonal and organizational workplace deviance research”, Journal of Management, 47 (3): 597–622.
Mikkelsen, E. N., Clegg, S. (2019) “Conceptions of Conflict in Organizational Conflict Research: Toward Critical Reflexivity”, Journal of Management Inquiry, 28 (2): 166–179.
Mitchell, M. S., Ambrose, M. L. (2007) “Abusive supervision and workplace deviance and the moderating effects of negative reciprocity beliefs”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 92 (4): 1159–1168.
Molm, L. D. (2003) “Theoretical Comparisons of Forms of Exchange”, Sociological Theory, 21 (1): 1–17.
Moreland, R. L., Levine, J. M. (2002) “Socialization and trust in work groups”, Group processes and intergroup relations, 5 (3): 185–201.
Park, H., Antonioni, D. (2007) “Personality, reciprocity, and strength of conflict resolution strategy”, Journal of Research in Personality, 41 (1): 110–125.
Penney, L. M., Martir, A., Bok, C. (2017) “Environmental Antecedents of Workplace Aggression: A Review and Examination of Psychological Process”, In Research and Theory on Workplace Aggression, N. A. Bowling, M. S. Hershcovis (eds), pp 34-61. Cambridge University Press.
Perugini, M., Gallucci, M., Presaghi, F., Ercolani, A. P. (2003) "The personal norm of reciprocity", European Journal of Personality, 17 (4): 251–283.
Rahim, M. A., Garrett, J. E., Buntzman, G. F. (1992) “Ethics of managing interpersonal conflict in organizations”, Journal of Business Ethics, 11 (5): 423–432.
Raver, J. L. (2013) “Counterproductive Work Behavior and Conflict: Merging Complementary Domains”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 6 (3): 151–159.
Robinson, S. L., Bennett, R. J. (1995) “A Typology of Deviant Workplace Behaviors: A Multidimensional Scaling Study”, Academy of Management Journal, 38 (2): 555–572.
Spector, P. E., Fox, S. (2002) “An emotion-centered model of voluntary work behavior: Some parallels between counterproductive work behavior and organizational citizenship behavior”, Human resource management review, 12 (2): 269–292.
Spector, P. E., Fox, S., Penney, L. M., Bruursema, K., Goh, A., and Kessler, S. (2006) “The dimensionality of counterproductivity: Are all counterproductive behaviors created equal?”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68 (3): 446–460.
Trudel, J., Reio, T. G. (2011) “Managing workplace incivility: The role of conflict management styles-antecedent or antidote?”, Human Resource Development Quarterly, 22 (4): 395–423.