Counterproductive Work Behavior as Coping: An Examination of Beneficial Outcomes and Repercussions in the Workplace



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Researchers have previously suggested that counterproductive work behavior (CWB) can be a form of coping with job stressors (Krischer, Penney, & Hunter, 2010; LePine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005; Podsakoff, LePine, & LePine, 2007; Spector & Fox, 2002). This study incorporated CWB with Folkman’s (1997) coping model to explain why CWB may function as a form of coping and possibly yield beneficial and consequential outcomes for employees. This study found indirect evidence that individuals may solve problems more frequently through CWB, as CWB was positively linked with problem-focused coping (PFC) strategies. Furthermore, findings indicated that employees who experienced high hindrance or challenge stressors tended to use CWB as a PFC strategy. When employees experienced low levels of these stressors, individuals who frequently engaged in CWB tended to experience reduced emotional well-being, PFC, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and goal achievement compared to those who infrequently used CWB. However, individuals who engaged in CWB often received a variety of repercussions for their actions. A final component of the study examined the role of individual differences. In particular, I examined whether politically skill employees were more likely to benefit from CWB while escaping repercussions from the organization. Hypotheses regarding political skill were not supported.



Counterproductive work behavior, Deviance, CWB, Coping strategies, Problem-focused coping, Repercussions from CWB, Benefits from CWB, Political skill, Politics, Challenge stressors, Hindrance stressors