Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Despite increasing scholarly attention to workplace ostracism, victims receive little guidance regarding how to break its negative spiral over time. Drawing on a multi-motive model of rejection-related experiences and the cybernetic model of impression management, this study examines how and why ostracized employees might ameliorate workplace ostracism through impression management efforts to enhance their popularity. Specifically, an ostracized worker may employ favour rendering tactics to enhance her or his popularity, as reported by peers, which can help reduce ostracism. In addition, ostracized employees with strong self-monitoring tendencies may be more likely to employ favour rendering tactics and use them more effectively to enhance their popularity and thus reduce ostracism. Data collected from 277 employee-coworker pairs in a three-wave, time-lagged design over 2 years confirm the proposed hypotheses, tested in a two-stage moderated mediation model. These findings have theoretical implications for ostracism research, as well as practical implications to help employees and organizations overcome ostracism. Practitioner points
Being ostracized often prompts self-focused responses, but to reduce it, ostracized employees instead should pay attention to others and seek to help others to alter the treatment they receive from others. High self-monitoring employees tend to employ favour rendering tactics to increase their popularity and mitigate ostracism. To help ostracized employees mitigate ostracism, managers and organizations can suggest ways to increase their popularity among their peers.