Ostracism and prosocial behavior: A social dilemma perspective

Daniel Balliet, D. Lance Ferris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Prior research has yielded mixed findings regarding the relation of ostracism to prosocial behavior, with studies indicating ostracism leads people to become less prosocial, more prosocial, or that prosocial behavior is unaffected by workplace ostracism. By conceptualizing prosocial behavior at work as a social dilemma, we hypothesized that whether or not individuals reduce prosocial behaviors following ostracism can be understood by how individuals manage the conflict between the immediate temptation to treat others poorly and the long-term benefits of not giving into such temptations. Across three studies - a scenario (Study 1), experimental (Study 2), and field study on employed adults (Study 3) - we find support for the hypothesis that individuals who are less (versus more) oriented towards future outcomes engage in less prosocial behaviors with others who have ostracized them during prior interactions. We discuss both the practical and theoretical implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-308
Number of pages11
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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