Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Komarraju, Meera


A recent meta-analysis by Berry, Ones, and Sackett (2007) revealed that perceptions of organizational justice and employee personality were two significant predictors of counterproductive work behaviors. The facets that make up the organizational justice construct are: procedural justice, distributive justice, interpersonal justice, and informational justice (Berry et al., 2007). Employees perceive justice when organizational justice rules are adhered to. However, when these rules are violated, employees may perceive injustice. The effect of perceived injustice on CWB might depend on individual characteristics, such as personality, particularly Dark Tetrad traits. The Dark Tetrad includes narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism (Buckels, Jones, & Paulhus, 2013). The intent of this study was to investigate the relationship between the Dark Tetrad traits and counterproductive work behaviors, as well as examine the moderating influence of perceived organizational injustice (distributive, procedural, interpersonal, informational, and overall injustice) on the relationship between the Dark Tetrad personality traits and four types of CWB; CWB directed towards supervisors, coworkers, the organization itself, and total CWB. Participants completed a two-part online study through Amazon Mechanical Turk, the first of which assessed perceptions of organizational (in)justice (Full-range justice scale; Colquitt, Long, Rodell, & Halvorsen-Ganepola, 2015) as well as levels of Dark Tetrad personality traits (Short Dark Triad Scale SD-3; Jones and Paulhus, 2014, and the Short Sadistic Impulse Scale SSIS; O'Meara, Davies, & Hammond, 2011). The first part of the survey also assessed participants’ negative affectivity (Negative Affectivity subscale of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988), and justice sensitivity (Victim Perspective subscale of the Justice Sensitivity Scale; Schmitt, Gollwitzer, & Arbach, 2005). The second survey was distributed 5 days after the first survey and assessed participants’ frequency of engagement in each type of CWB (Workplace Deviance Scale (WDS); Bennett & Robinson, 2000; modified using items from the Supervisor-Directed Deviance Scale; Mitchell & Ambrose, 2007). It was hypothesized that each DT trait would have a significant positive relationship with each type of CWB. This hypothesis was shown to be supported. It was also hypothesized that low levels of perceived organizational justice would moderate the relationships between the DT traits and CWB. This hypothesis was partially supported. Linear regression analyses were conducted, and the results showed that none of the justice facets significantly moderated the relationship of Machiavellianism with any of type of CWB. However, several justice facets showed significant moderating effects between the other three DT traits (narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism) and types of CWB. These results suggest that when individuals perceive a higher level of perceived organizational justice, those with dark tetrad personality traits are more likely to report engaging in fewer counterproductive work behaviors, relative to those who perceive lower levels of perceived organizational justice. The implications are that by improving perceptions of organizational justice, organizations could potentially reduce counterproductive work behavior in employees with strong dark tetrad personality traits.




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