Interpersonal Targets and Types of Workplace Aggression as a Function of Perpetrator Sex
This paper compares men and women on reported frequency of engaging in overt and covert workplace aggression. The research seeks to determine what differences exist, if any, in the frequency and type of workplace aggression used by men and women. The types of aggression analyzed are: overt aggression towards a supervisor, covert aggression towards a supervisor, overt aggression towards co-workers, and covert aggression towards co-workers. Overt aggression is any aggressive behavior in which the aggressor does not attempt to conceal his/her identity from the target (e.g., yelling at someone), whereas the aggressor does attempt to conceal his/her identity from the target with covert aggression (e.g., gossip). Findings suggest that men report more overt aggressive behaviours towards supervisors than women; men also report more overt aggression towards co-workers than women. However, men and women show equal levels of covert aggression toward supervisors and coworkers. Overall, men and women both are more likely to engage in overt aggression towards co-workers than supervisors. The findings of this study call into question the preconception that men are more aggressive than women in the workplace. Men may be more likely than women to engage in direct overt aggression toward those with power (such as supervisors). This may be due to the relatively higher level of power and status within society which men have compared to women. The paper suggests that the various findings of this report be used to mitigate workplace aggression. Suggested topics for further research include similar research projects in other cultural locations and the comparison of gender identity, as opposed to sex differences, as a factor determining overt and covert aggression.
30 Nov -0001
Faculty of Business Administration
St. John's, NL
Management of companies and enterprises
Strategic Research Theme