Previous research shows a multitude of negative workplace outcomes associated with ostracism.
Research indicates that bystander intervention can play a role in reducing ostracism in the
workplace, but there is a dearth of studies focusing specifically on intervening in response to
ostracism. Furthermore, there is a lack of information regarding the factors that are most likely to
predict intervening within the context of workplace ostracism. This study assessed the influence
of contextual factors (i.e., psychological safety) and individual difference factors (i.e., empathy,
personality, and gender) on individuals’ willingness to intervene when coworker ostracism is
observed. Three hierarchical multiple regressions were used to analyze data. The first regression
contained high-level intervening as the outcome variable, the second contained low-level
intervening as the outcome variable, and the third used overall intervening as the outcome
variable. Results indicated that previous experiences of ostracism, a control variable, was the
most predictive of intervening, followed by extraversion. Individuals who had more experiences
with ostracism or who were higher in extraversion were significantly more likely to intervene.
Individuals higher in neuroticism were significantly less likely to engage in high-level
intervening, but it was not significantly related to low-level or overall intervening. All other
hypothesized relationships were not supported. The results have implications for organizations
and future research on workplace ostracism.
A Plan B Research Project Submitted to the University of Minnesota by Lauren Brown in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, March 2020. Faculty advisor: Alexandra Luong, Ph.D.
Brown, Lauren A.
Intervening when Ostracism Occurs: Individual Differences and Psychological Safety as Predictors.
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