New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Suzy Fox and Terri R. Lituchy
Chapter 2: Gender Differences in Aggression and Counterproductive Work Behavior
Paul E. Spector When it comes to the workplace, employees and others engage in a variety of aggressive acts that harm people, as well as a broader set of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) that harm organizations and people. Research to date has focused on both potential environmental antecedents of aggression and CWB (a term I will use to refer to workplace aggression) such as injustice (e.g., Skarlicki and Folger, 1997), and job stressors (e.g., Fox et al., 2001), as well as individual differences, such as personality (e.g., Marcus et al., 2007). Relatively little attention has been paid to gender differences, although enough studies have reported gender correlations to include in meta-analyses of CWB (Berry et al., 2007; Hershcovis et al., 2007). In most cases gender was included more as a control variable than being the focus of investigation, and although correlations might be reported, gender itself has been given relatively little attention. This has limited our understanding of the possible role of gender in these workplace behaviors. The study of gender in non-workplace aggression, however, has been a popular topic, particularly in developmental and social psychology. Gender stereotypes (Prentice and Carranza, 2002) and gender role theory (Edwards and Greenberg, 2010) tell us that society considers it acceptable for males to be aggressive as compared to females, and females to be nurturing as compared to males. As with many stereotypes, there is some truth to the idea that males are more aggressive than females. Crime statistics, for example, clearly show that...
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