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Suffered From Deep-Seated Childhood Shadows: Linking Childhood Emotional Abuse To Interpersonal Conflict At Work and Workplace Ostracism
Childhood experience is critical for individual physical and mental development, but we know little about its consequences on employees’ workplace behaviors. We draw on social learning theory and build a model predicting that employees’ childhood emotional abuse would trigger more interpersonal conflict at work and hence increase their likelihood of becoming victims of workplace ostracism, particularly when employees are actively engaging in power seeking. Data from a multi-source, multi-phase survey design based on 257 employees and their coworkers provide empirical support for our hypothesized model. The findings contribute to the literature by showing how individuals’ pre-adult non-workplace experiences can still generate a lingering effect on their adult workplace behaviors. The findings also offer important practical implications for employees and organizations.