Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bennett J. Tepper
Abusive supervision refers to sustained displays of nonphysical forms of hostility perpetrated by supervisors against their direct reports. Examples of behavior that fall within the abusive supervision content domain include public derogation, undermining, and explosive outbursts. Key features of the construct are that abusive supervision refers to ongoing manifestations of hostility rather than discrete episodes and that abusers may or may not intend to cause harm. Hence, for example, yelling at subordinates for the purpose of eliciting greater task performance could be considered abusive. It should also be noted that abusive supervision constitutes a subjective assessment, in the sense that behavior that is perceived to be abusive in one context may not be so perceived in another context, and two subordinates could render different interpretations of the same supervisor behavior. Similar concepts that have been the focus of systematic empirical research include bullying, petty tyranny, and downward mobbing. According to ...