The relationship between abusive supervision and organizational trust: The role of subordinates’ self-esteem

Maria João Velez


Interest in abusive supervision (Tepper, 2000) has increased due to its serious personal and
organizational costs. As such, there is a need for additional studies that identify the individuals’ factors
that can minimize the adverse effects of abusive supervision.
Specifically, we predict employee self-esteem as a buffer of the relationship between abusive
supervision, organizational trust and in-role behaviors. Additionally, we suggest organizational trust
as a possible mechanism linking abusive supervision to in-role behaviors. Our model was explored
among a sample of 201 supervisor-subordinate dyads from different organizational settings. The results
of the moderated mediation analysis supported our hypotheses. That is, abusive supervision was
significantly related to in-role behaviors via organizational trust when employees’ self-esteem was
low, but not when it was high. These findings suggest that self-esteem buffers the impact of abusive
supervision perceptions on organizational trust, with consequences for performance.


Abusive supervision, Self-esteem, Organizational trust, In-role behaviors.

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