SOMEBODY’S WATCHING YOU: AN INVESTIGATION OF OBSERVER REACTIONS TO DEVIANT WORK BEHAVIORS
Brothers, Sara Ann
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The purpose of this study was to expand understanding of how deviant behaviors impact organizations by examining the observer. Based on two deontological response models and social learning theory, I expected the target (an individual or the organization) of DWB, severity of DWB, and the observer’s identification with the victim to predict observers’ behavioral responses. A policy capturing study of 196 working adults yielded largely supportive data. Participants were more likely to report, confront, and aid the target when the target was a person, the behavior was severe, or the observer identified with the target. Participants were more likely to ignore or imitate when the target was an organization, the behavior was of low severity, or the observer did not identify with the target. Implications and limitations are also discussed.