The dimensionality of counterproductivity: Are all counterproductive behaviors created equal?

Paul E. Spector, Suzy Fox, Lisa M. Penney, Kari Bruursema, Angeline Goh, Stacey Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

750 Scopus citations


Most studies of counterproductive work behavior (CWB) assess it as one or two overall dimensions that might obscure relationships of potential antecedents with more specific forms of behavior. A finer-grained analysis of the relationship between counterproductive work behavior and antecedents was conducted with the five-subscales (abuse toward others, production deviance, sabotage, theft, and withdrawal) taken from the 45-item Counterproductive Work Behavior Checklist, a measure that has been used in a number of prior studies. Described is the rationale for each of the five dimensions, which have been discussed individually in the literature. Data from three combined studies provide evidence for differential relationships with potential antecedents that suggest the use of more specific subscales to assess CWB. Most notably, abuse and sabotage were most strongly related to anger and stress, theft was unrelated to emotion, and withdrawal was associated with boredom and being upset. Finally, the distinct forms of CWB may suggest distinct underlying dynamics, that vary in their balance of hostile and instrumental motivational systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-460
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Aggression
  • Counterproductive work behavior
  • Emotion
  • Job satisfaction
  • Sabotage
  • Theft
  • Withdrawal


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