Counterproductive work behaviors (CWB) are acts consciously conducted by employees that have the ability to negatively impact an organization and/or its members. Spector et al. (2006) has suggested that there are five categories of CWBs including: abuse towards others, sabotage, theft, production deviance (i.e. working slowly), and withdrawal (i.e. taking longer breaks). CWBs may be a result of emotional exhaustion, or the feeling of being worn down as a result; often the result of burnout. Emotional exhaustion has been found to be related with turnover, cardiovascular and sleep problems, decreased motivation, decreased task performance, and citizenship behaviors.
It has been suggested that CWBs are a coping mechanism to reduce stress from a negative situation. Coping is a cognitive or behavior action that one takes in response to stress. CWBs provide individuals with a sense of control over stressful situations. This article focuses on withdrawal and production deviance. Withdrawal and production deviance reduce employee exhaustion by giving individuals the opportunity to return to their normal emotional state. Withdrawal behaviors include actions such as taking longer breaks or leaving early for the day. While outside of the work environment, an employee's frustration decreases and allows an him/her to return to a calm state of mind. Production deviance is when an individual intentionally works slowly, does work incorrectly [intentionally], or ignores procedures. These actions allow the individuals to "even the score" when confronted with injustice and may reduce emotional exhaustion.
Organizational justice is the how an individual perceives the fairness between individuals and the organization. It is composed of distributive justice and procedural justice. Distributive justice is the perceived fairness of reward and recognition, while procedural justice refers to the fairness of the process by which decisions are made. Organizational justice may have the ability to influence the occurrence of CWBs within an organization.
- Price & Mueller's (1986) six-item scale to measure distributive justice (1 = very unfairly; 5 = very fairly)
- Moorman's 12-item scale to measure procedural justice (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree)
- 3 items from the Counterproductive Work Behavior Checklist (Spector et. al, 2006) to measure production deviance (1 = never; 5 = everyday)
- 4 items from the Counterproductive Work Behavior Checklist to measure withdrawal (1 = never; 5 = everyday)
- 6 items from the Job-Related Affective Well-Being (JAWS) Scale to measure emotional exhaustion (1 = never; 5 = always)