PurposeThe present work investigates the micro-mechanisms underlying the link between psychological contract violation (PCV) and incivility in women employees. Building on social exchange theory (SET) and the norm of reciprocity, the authors utilized a multi-dimensional variable, labeled "Aggressive Reciprocal Attitude" (ARA), composed of three sub-constructs, namely anger, hostility and negative reciprocity, to explain negative women's uncivil behaviors. Further, the effect of conscientiousness is hypothesized to restrain the mechanism of ARA.Design/methodology/approachConfirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) and Covariance-based Structural Equation Modeling (CB-SEM) were used on a sample of 194 women from 4 different organizations to empirically validate the proposed conceptual model and test the hypothesized relationships.FindingsWomen's ARA is shown as a partial mediator of the relationship between PCV and incivility. Conscientiousness significantly moderates the link between ARA and incivility.Practical implicationsManagers should avoid stereotyping women as more compliant and submissive. Based on women's tendency to reciprocate negatively, this study's findings suggest that reducing the negative reciprocity attitude is advisable by demonstrating that negative responses are an unsuccessful strategy and encouraging other forms of reaction.Originality/valueBy introducing the negative reciprocity attitude in the construction of the variable ARA, the authors overcome the contradiction between the social role theory, according to which women avoid unsociable behaviors, and studies demonstrating a remarkable presence of conflicts among women.
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