Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to examine how job engagement affects the experience of workplace aggression and the related outcomes. Job engagement is introduced as a context variable for the stressor-strain model to explain differences for targets of workplace aggression. Design/methodology/approach– A survey was conducted with a sample of 492 North American working adults from a large variety of industries and jobs. Findings– Consistent with the hypotheses, fear and anger mediate the relationship between workplace aggression and strain. Job engagement moderated the relationship between workplace aggression and anger, such that aggression related to anger only for those employees who were engaged in their job. These data are consistent with the suggestion that engagement may create vulnerability for employees. Research limitations/implications– In this study, the authors highlight the need to include contextual factors that may explain differences in impact of workplace aggression and employee wellness. Practical implications– While practitioners may seek to increase job engagement, there appears to be a greater cost should there be workplace aggression. Thus, the key implication for practitioners is the importance of prevention of workplace aggression. Originality/value– With this study, the authors illustrate how job engagement may have a “dark side” for individuals. While previous research has shown that job engagement helps protect employee wellness, others show engagement decreases after incidents of workplace aggression. The authors suggest those who are engaged and targeted will experience worse outcomes. Also, the authors examine the role of anger for targets of workplace aggression as it relates to fear and strain in this study.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2016