Workplace ostracism is when someone feels excluded or ignored at work. Ostracism also occurs when an individual or group fails to engage another organizational member in an activity when it is socially acceptable to do so.
THE ANTECEDENTS AND OUTCOMES OF OSTRACISM
Researchers in this study (Howard, Cogswell, & Smith, 2020) investigated several predictors and outcomes of workplace ostracism. They performed a meta-analysis (or statistical combination of many studies) and found that ostracism relates to many different types of psychological variables. The findings of this study were numerous, and most are summarized in the tables that follow.
WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO BE OSTRACIZED?
Employees more likely to experience ostracism:
higher level of education
have less social support
the less agreeable
the less extraverted
the more neurotic
the less conscientious
have a worse relationship with the leader
have an abusive or incivil leader
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES OF OSTRACISM?
Outcomes of ostracism for employees:
more emotional exhaustion
worse psychological well-being
more job tension
less belongingness or fulfilment
worse job performance
less employee voice
less job satisfaction, commitment, and engagement
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
Given its clearly detrimental impact, it is important for organizations to tackle workplace ostracism. Leaders must sensitize themselves regularly with the values of their organization and make a commitment to inclusion and fostering a friendly workplace environment. They should also be quick to call out any form of observed mistreatment, incivility, or ostracism and hold others accountable for their negative behavior. Leaders and employees must actively learn about individual differences, cultivate an open mind-set, be attentive to and empathize with victims’ needs, and adapt as required. Lastly, organizations should prioritize interventions that create and improve opportunities for social support.
Howard, M. C., Cogswell, J. E., & Smith, M. B. (2020). The antecedents and outcomes of workplace ostracism: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(6), 577–596.