Contextual factors in employee mistreatment

Shani Pindek, Paul E. Spector

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Contextual factors play a vital role in employee mistreatment. This chapter deals with the definition and scope of contextual factors, including a distinction between the objective environment and its idiosyncratic perception by employees. Several mechanisms are offered to explain the effects of context on mistreatment, including the stressor strain framework, interaction with personal characteristics, and also mistreatment acting as a stressor. The framework suggested in this chapter uses levels of analysis, and proposes that the objective environment (group level variables) is perceived at the individual level, which consequently leads to both perpetrated and received mistreatment. Those same objective environment variables also have a direct effect on mistreatment, as well as a moderating role in the relationship between individually perceived context and mistreatment. Furthermore, there is some evidence that mistreatment acts as a contextual variable in and of itself, with perpetrators, victims, and bystanders perceiving mistreatment in their workplace and reporting higher levels of stressors and strains. Finally, we outline the need for more longitudinal, multi-level studies to clearly discern the role of context in employee mistreatment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMistreatment in Organizations
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)978-1-78560-117-0
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in Occupational Stress and Well Being
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Print)1479-3555

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright ©2015 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Aggression
  • Context
  • Employee mistreatment
  • Environment
  • Multi-level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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