Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul Spector, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Walter Borman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Bosson, Ph.D.


organizational mistreatment, counterproductive workplace behavior, organizational justice, political skill, job performance


This study attempted to expand previous research on employee retaliation against abusive supervision by evaluating both overt and covert retaliatory behaviors and the different mechanisms behind these behaviors. Initial confirmatory factor analysis did not find substantial support for a two-factor retaliation construct, but this may have been a result of the nature of behavioral retaliation items that composed the measures. Correlational analyses did not demonstrate clear discriminate validity between overt and overt retaliation; additionally, regression analyses did not find support for high performing or highly political skilled employees retaliating primarily through one form of retaliation. Highly political skilled and high performing employees performed less retaliatory behaviors overall when experiencing high amounts of abusive supervision. Although initial analyses did not support the distinction between overt and covert retaliation, mediation analyses did find some support for differential pathways. Specifically this investigation found that the relationship between abusive supervision and overt retaliation was mediated by feelings of hostility towards employees’ supervisors, whereas the relationship between abusive supervision and covert retaliation was mediated by perceptions of interactional injustice. Overall, this investigation provides mixed support for the distinction between overt and covert employee retaliatory behavior.