Feeling shame in the workplace: Examining negative feedback as an antecedent and performance and well-being as consequences

Lu Xing, Jian-min (James) Sun*, Denise Jepsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shame is a powerful but understudied emotion in organizational settings, and its antecedents and consequences have been of key interest. Drawing on Daniels and Robinson's (2019) framework of organizational shame, we first investigated supervisor negative feedback, a common practice in supervisor–subordinate interactions, as a predictor of employees' shame. We further investigated the daily effects of shame on well-being and performance. The hypothesized model was tested using a daily diary method from 119 full-time employees across five consecutive working days. The results show that supervisor negative feedback is associated with employees' feelings of shame at the within-person level, increasing their end-of-work emotional exhaustion while improving their next-day in-role and extra-role performance. Further, individual-level leader–member exchange (LMX) moderated the relationship between negative feedback and shame, with the relationship being stronger under high LMX. We discuss how our study contributes to the shame literature by emphasizing the predictive role of negative feedback and the repair motive of shame in determining its consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1244-1260
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume42
Issue number9
Early online date8 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • emotional exhaustion
  • in-role and extra-role performance
  • leader–member exchange
  • shame
  • supervisor negative feedback

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