Investigating curvilinear relationships of explicit and implicit aggression with workplace outcomes

H. Kristl Davison, James M. LeBreton, Susan M. Stewart, Mark N. Bing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although previous research has demonstrated the value of integrating explicit and implicit measures of aggression for predicting workplace outcomes, such investigations only examined linear and interactive effects. Here we examine nonlinear (i.e., curvilinear) effects of explicit and implicit aggression, which revealed subtleties in the manifestation of aggression. We found significant curvilinear effects of explicit aggression on peer-reported deviance (property deviance, production deviance, and personal aggression). In each case, deviance was lowest when explicit aggression was low, and increased as explicit aggression increased. However, production and property deviance decreased at elevated levels of explicit aggression. In contrast, for disciplinary actions, explicit and implicit aggression interacted, but there was also a curvilinear effect of implicit aggression. This pattern led to discipline being highest when explicit and implicit aggression were very incongruent, but being quite low when they were congruent. The results show that examining nonlinear effects with respect to explicit and implicit aggression can reveal unexpected relationships when predicting peer-reported criteria or organizational personnel data. Propositions for future research on the relationship of personality to workplace outcomes are presented deriving from the trait activation model, and implications for workplace interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-514
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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