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An investigation into the causes, characteristics and consequences of anger in the workplace

By Jill Booth


The main aim of this research is to investigate the causes, characteristics and consequences of workplace anger and in particular to identify the factors associated with expression and suppression of anger. The research was conducted in two stages. Stage one of this exploratory study involved in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 24 participants in management and non-management positions, working within four different employment sectors: education, health, retail and wholesale. Participants were asked general questions about their experiences of anger at work, followed by more specific questions. Analysis of the data resulted in several sub-categories, sub-subcategories and themes being identified within the categories of causes, characteristics, short and long consequences of anger incidents. In addition, the analysis resulted in the development of a theoretical model on workplace anger, which acted as the starting point for the development of items for an event contingent anger diary for the second stage of the research. In stage two of the research, participants (n=187) from management and non-management positions, working within the four different employment sectors completed the event-contingent anger diary over a period of four working weeks. The context, source and gender of anger incidents were also explored. Participants also completed the self-report measures on trait anger and job satisfaction. Results show the distribution of the causes and characteristics of anger of incidents in relation to the context, source and employment sector. Furthermore, results show that working in the retail and wholesale sector were significant predictors of expressing anger, and being angered by a student/pupil was a significant predictor of expression of anger. Also, causes of anger which involved disrespect, unjust treatment, unprofessional behaviour, powerlessness, humiliation/jealousy and job incompetence were incidents which were significant predictors of expressing anger. The results also showed, that the more stressed an individual was before an anger incident, the larger the odds of expression. Also, the more an individual was satisfied with their work the more likely they were to express their anger, and the more satisfied an individual was with their coworkers the more likely they were to suppress their anger. Finally, the current research is discussed in terms of its implications for the preventions and reduction of anger at work, and suggestions for future research are proposed

Topics: C800
OAI identifier: oai:clok.uclan.ac.uk:1862
Provided by: CLoK
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