Date of Award

3-31-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Ann Crawford

Second Advisor

Farideh Farazmand

Third Advisor

Ralph Norcio

Abstract

Workplace aggression behavior is a global phenomenon that casts a dark shadow on many of today's organizations, both public and private. As it frequently leads to violence, workplace aggression behaviors, which include harassment and bullying, have become a growing concern in the United States (Bandow & Hunter, 2007). Employees subjected to workplace aggression report a wide range of physical, psychological, and social complaints that prevent them from effectively performing their jobs (Fox & Spector, 2005). Employees who perceive feelings of injustice may experience decreased loyalty to their organizations (Tyler & Lind, 1992). Several researchers have examined aggression; however, little is known about the relationship among workplace aggression behaviors, organizational justice (procedural, distributive, interpersonal, and informational), and intention to leave. This study examines the fundamental theoretical literature and empirical studies related to workplace aggression behaviors, organizational justice, and intention to leave among U.S. telecommunications workers.

In examining the relationship among workplace aggression, organizational justice, and intention to leave, practices in the fields of psychology, organizational behavior, economics, ethics, and human resources were utilized. A theoretical framework based on Buss's (1961) three dichotomies of aggression behaviors (physical-verbal, active-passive, and direct-indirect), were used as a foundation for this dissertation. Three research questions, four hypotheses, and seven sub-hypotheses were developed for this non experimental, quantitative study to examine the relationships among workplace aggression behaviors, employee demographics and work profiles, organizational justice, and intention to leave.

A total of 1,654 surveys were randomly sent by Zoomerang Market Tools to an accessible population of management and non-management telecommunications employees located throughout the United States. Out of 242 completed surveys, 241 were usable. The response rate was 14.6%. The final data-producing sample closely represented the distribution of the telecommunications sectors (wireline, wireless, cable, and satellite) of the target population and provided support for external validity of the study so that findings could be generalized across sectors.

Furthermore, this study used an exploratory (comparative) and explanatory (correlational) survey to answer the research questions and test hypotheses. Exploratory data analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and coefficient alpha were used to examine the psychometric qualities of the scales. To answer the research questions, descriptive statistics were used. Additionally, to answer the exploratory (comparative) research questions, independent t-tests, one-way ANOVA, and Chi Square analysis were performed. Finally, to test the research hypotheses, stepwise (forward) hierarchical multiple regression were used to find the best explanatory models for respective hypotheses. This research examined the factors which exacerbate intention to leave and also identified areas for future scholarly study.

Findings were not as expected. Of the telecommunications workers sampled for this study, 1 in 5 employees or 21% reported frequent experiences with workplace aggression behaviors. Results were inconsistent with Matthiesen and Einarsen's (2007) and Namie and Namie's (2000) research that reported approximately one in ten individuals were victims of workplace bullying.

Distributive Justice and Informational Justice were significant explanatory variables of Intention to Leave for employees in the Satellite Telecommunications sector than any of the other sectors. Future studies utilizing this study's model to examine increased Workplace Aggression, Organizational Justice, and Intention to Leave among the Satellite Telecommunications sector is recommended.

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