Organization Management Journal


This essay reflects on the need for more research to address observers’ perspectives and reactions when witnessing or hearing about workplace mistreatment. After describing workplace mistreatment with respect to a behavioral spectrum ranging from incivility to violence, this essay focuses on observers’ causal attributions and blame for workplace mistreatment. We relate observers’ conjunctive causal attributions to multifocus blame that positions the organization as decidedly more blameworthy than typical research in a traditional causal attribution paradigm would suggest. We also offer some suggestions for future research that is more responsive to observers’ blame for workplace mistreatment.