Why and When Workplace Ostracism Inhibits Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: An Organizational Identification Perspective



Why and when do employees respond to workplace ostracism by withholding their engagement in citizenship behavior? Beyond perspectives proposed in past studies, we offer a new account based on a social identity perspective and propose that workplace ostracism decreases citizenship behavior by undermining employees’ identification with the organization. We also theorize that perceived job mobility influences the extent to which employees identify with the organization when being ostracized. These hypotheses were examined in two time-lagged studies conducted in China. The proposed hypotheses were supported by results in Study 1, and findings were generally replicated in Study 2, where effects of other known mediators (i.e., organization-based self-esteem, job engagement, and felt obligation toward the organization) and moderators (i.e., collectivism, power distance, and future orientation) suggested by previous perspectives were controlled. Results of Study 2 provided further support of the hypothesized directional effect of workplace ostracism on citizenship behavior via organizational identification. Our studies support the identification perspective in understanding workplace ostracism and also strengthen the application of this perspective in understanding workplace aggression broadly.


workplace ostracism, organizational identification, citizenship behavior, job mobility


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