Ostracism in the Workplace: Neuroticism as an Antecedent and Benevolent Leadership as a Moderator of the Relationship with Employee Performance

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Although research into ostracism has proliferated over the past three decades, scholars have rarely paid attention to its antecedents. In addition, how leadership may deter ostracism has largely been overlooked. Drawing on the theories of the Big Five and benevolent leadership, I propose that neuroticism (i.e., an antecedent) is associated with ostracism, and benevolent leadership may moderate that association. I also posit that the indirect relationships between neuroticism on employee task performance and helping behavior may be mediated by ostracism. The proposed relationships found support using a U.S. sample of 172 leader-follower dyads from a three-wave data collection. Further, to answer a call for identifying additional mechanisms in benevolent leadership literature, this paper examines the interactive relationship of neuroticism and leader benevolence with ostracism and subsequent helping behavior and task performance. The theoretical and practical implications for ostracism, neuroticism, and paternalistic leadership in organizations are discussed.

Embargo status: Restricted until 09/2025. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.

Ostracism, Benevolent Leadership, Neuroticism, Task Performance, helping behavior