Virtuous Victims: How Victims’ Responses to Abusive Supervision Influence Third-Parties’ Helping Behavior

Past event — 4 March 2020

Kühne Logistics University
Grosser Grasbrook 17, 20457 Hamburg, Room EE Lecture 2

Spoken language

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Benjamin Korman, PhD

Post-doctoral Researcher

Universität Konstanz

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We investigate whether victims’ reactions to abusive supervision affect the extent to which third parties are willing to help the victim or the abusive supervisor. A field study utilizing critical incident techniques and an experimental vignette provide robust support for our theory that victims who stand up for themselves in the face of an abusive supervisor trigger feelings of elevation (i.e. admiration for virtue) in third parties. Elevation, in turn, promotes third-parties’ victim-directed helping and supervisor-directed helping. Together, our studies unveil victims as a potential source of admiration for third parties while demonstrating the all-encompassing benefits arising when victims stand up for themselves in the face of an abusive supervisor.


Benjamin Korman is a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Christian Tröster in the field of Organizational Behavior and Leadership at the Kühne Logistics University. Prior to joining the KLU in August 2016, Benjamin received his B.Sc. in Biopsychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his M.Sc. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Leiden University in the Netherlands. His Master’s Thesis explored the relationship between structural brain anatomy and cognitive deficits in various psychiatric populations.
Now his scientific investigations explore the influence of social comparisons on employees in the workplace and how such comparisons affect employees’ emotions and subsequent behaviors. Specifically, his work focuses on the social comparisons that arise when employees perceive themselves as being treated differently by their leader relative to how their coworkers are treated by the leader.


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Birgit Kappert

Program Manager