Frontiers in Psychology (Sep 2020)

How Ingratiation Links to Counterproductive Work Behaviors: The Roles of Emotional Exhaustion and Power Distance Orientation

  • Miao Yan,
  • Yu-ping Xie,
  • Jun Zhao,
  • Yong-jun Zhang,
  • Mohsin Bashir,
  • Ying Liu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11


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Ingratiation is regarded as a powerful impression tactic that helps ingratiator achieve their intended goals. Although there is evidence that the consequences of ingratiation are not always positive, little research considers the dark effect of ingratiation on the ingratiator. Based on conservation of resources theory, we develop and test a model that links employees’ ingratiation to their counterproductive work behaviors. Data were collected from 216 supervisor-employee dyads. The results of examination with Mplus showed that ingratiation had a positive effect on counterproductive work behaviors, and emotional exhaustion played a mediating role in this relationship. Power distance orientation negatively moderated the relationship between ingratiation and emotional exhaustion and the indirect effect of emotional exhaustion on the relationship between ingratiation and counterproductive work behaviors. Our findings raise attention on the consequences of ingratiation for employees and the dark side of ingratiation for organization.