Can Abusive Behavior lead to Reparative Actions?

Throughout history, abusive authority has been a reoccurring issue that arises. It happens across the world. From China to the United States. From Fa Zheng to Donald Trump. Both were prominent figures in their country and displayed abuse of power. Fa Zheng was a Chinese man who oversaw administrative affairs in Chengdu. He took personal revenge with his power. He would kill people that offended him. On a less deadly side, Donald Trump is another example of abuse of authority. He was allegedly soliciting foreign interference during the 2020 elections. Abuse of power is displayed in writing as well. Throughout time there have been writings that portray different forms of abusive behavior. From modern text to ancient writing abuse of power is a recurring theme. Abuse of power was portrayed in Exodus and Oresteia. The article “Cleansing My Abuse: A Reparative Response Model of Perpetrating Abusive Supervisor Behavior” addresses reparative actions that can help repair abuse of power and how abusive behavior can institute constructive behavior while diving into the psychological background of it. This article provides a well-developed and coherent analysis of reparative actions in different environments.

“Cleansing My Abuse: A reparative Response Model of Perpetration Abusive Supervisor Behavior” is a research article published in the Journal of Applied Psychology by Zhenyu Liao, Kai Chi Yam, Russell E. Johnson, Wu Liu, Zhaoli Song. Each of the researchers has a creditable college experience and business experience. Liao attended Washington University in St. Louis, Yam attended the National University of Singapore, Johnson attended Michigan State University, Liu attended the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Song attended the National University of Singapore. Their expertise ranges from management to marketing. In this article, the researchers research abusive behavior in a supervisor situation. In the article, they choose to focus on the consequences of the person of power. Offend while discussing abusive supervision the predominant focus is on the victims while disregarding the physiological cause and effect of abusive behavior.

Studies have indicated that there are many causes of abusive supervision. Narcissism is one of the leading behavioral trends under abusive supervision. Their lack of empathy with others is one of the most telling traits. “Cleansing My Abuse: A reparative Response Model of Perpetration Abusive Supervisor Behavior” discusses how supervisors have telling abusive traits. Eventually, they become morally challenged. After repeatedly conducting their supervision with abusive behavior, supervisors begin to feel guilty and morally challenged. They state, “Within leaders daily, perpetrating abusive supervisor led to an increase in experienced guilt and perceived loss of moral credits…” (Liao, Yam, Johnson, Liu, Song, 1039).  Supervisors begin to have moral cleansing. They realized that actions are morally challenging and begin to question their actions. When leaders begin to place reparative actions to combat the increase in guilt, they are experiencing.

Furthermore, an increase in guilt and the moral challenge is what offend leads supervisors to implement reparative actions. Throughout the article, they conduct two behavioral studies. The first study consisted of a sample of 34 managers and 85 followers who worked for a real estate company in China. The second study consisted of 72 managers and their specific followers who worked in a footwear manufacturing company in China. In each study, they conducted surveys that assess demographic information and workday-related topics. When conducting the studies, multiple measures were taken. Abusive supervisor behavior, guilt, reparative behaviors, and moral courage were measured using different creditable and well-developed scales and tools. To measure abusive supervisor behavior, they used a five-item scale used by Johnson and Colleagues. To measure guilt, they used Tangney, Miller, Flicker, and Barlow’s three-item scale. Lanaj, Johnson, and Lee’s four-item scale were used to measure reparative behaviors. Lastly, Moral courage was measured with a four-item scale adapted from Hannah, Avolio, and May, and Gibbs et al. When these measurements were taken the Managers and followers rated behavioral actions on four or five-item scales. The studies concluded that “applied moral cleansing theory to abusive supervision and found that leaders feet emotionally and cognitively immoral and thus perform reparative actions to cleanse themselves” ( Liao, Yam, Johnson, Liu, Song, 1052).  After conducting two complex studies from different work environments, they both concluded that the presence of guilty and moral courage in abusive supervision can ignite constructive leadership and reparative behavior.

Abuse of power and abusive supervision is a topic in the literature that there is no lack of. Throughout the readings in COR 301, the readings have shown repeated abuse of power. “Cleansing My Abuse: A reparative Response Model of Perpetration Abusive Supervisor Behavior” makes me wonder what if people hundreds of years ago knew about the reparative response model and moral cleansing theory, would the endings be different. For example, Exodus tells a story about a person with power who self-destructs with selfishness and animosity. In Exodus, Pharaoh is the person in the rule of Egypt, but he rules with evil. All his actions are formulated with evil, selfishness, and animosity. Pharaoh conducted abusive supervision in Egypt. Pharaoh let his selfishness and animosity get in the way of his reign. His selfishness and animosity end up causing his self-destruction. Moses and God put an end to Pharaoh’s abuse of power, but Pharaoh is the one who ultimately pulls the trigger. It is difficult to see the reparative response model and moral cleansing theory reform and help a self-destructing situation. 

 “Cleansing My Abuse: A reparative Response Model of Perpetration Abusive Supervisor Behavior” is a well-developed article in the Journal of Applied Psychology that analyzes the effect on abusive supervision and how it can be reparative. They conduct multiplex studies that support their idea that abusive behavior can lead to reparative action soon after. They have charts and diagrams that display scales that measure moral courage, guiltiness, reparative behavior, and abusive behavior. All their evidence is used to support their claim when abusive supervision is morally challenging supervisors themselves with reparative action. Research like this makes readers wonder how Pharaoh and Moses could have handled situations differently. Perhaps if Pharaoh’s reign was longer, he would have been morally challenged and released the Israelites on his own. 

Mistakes can be learning experiences