Perceived overqualification and counterproductive work behavior: Testing the mediating role of relative deprivation and the moderating role of ambition

Bert Schreurs*, Melvyn R.W. Hamstra, Jim Jawahar, J. Akkermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this study was to test the mediating role of relative deprivation in the relationship between perceived overqualification and counterproductive work behavior. In addition to testing this mediation, the authors posited that ambition would interact with perceived overqualification to predict relative deprivation and, through it, counterproductive work behavior.

Design/methodology/approach
Survey data collected from 181 employees were analyzed using the SPSS macro PROCESS to test the proposed moderated mediation model.

Findings
Results indicated that perceived overqualification positively associated with perceptions of relative deprivation, which were, in turn, positively related to counterproductive work behavior. This indirect relationship gained in strength with increasing levels of ambition.

Originality/value
By modeling and measuring relative deprivation, this study offers a direct test of the often-invoked relative deprivation explanation of the implications of perceived overqualification for counterproductive work behavior. The study also shows how ambition can have unintended consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1055
Number of pages18
JournalPersonnel Review
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020

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