The Mediating Role of Discrete Emotions in the Relationship Between Injustice and Counterproductive Work Behaviors: A Study in Pakistan

Abdul Karim Khan, Samina Quratulain, Jonathan R. Crawshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Our study explores the mediating role of discrete emotions in the relationships between employee perceptions of distributive and procedural injustice, regarding an annual salary raise, and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs). Design/Methodology/Approach: Survey data were provided by 508 individuals from telecom and IT companies in Pakistan. Confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and bootstrapping were used to test our hypothesized model. Findings: We found a good fit between the data and our tested model. As predicted, anger (and not sadness) was positively related to aggressive CWBs (abuse against others and production deviance) and fully mediated the relationship between perceived distributive injustice and these CWBs. Against predictions, however, neither sadness nor anger was significantly related to employee withdrawal. Implications: Our findings provide organizations with an insight into the emotional consequences of unfair HR policies, and the potential implications for CWBs. Such knowledge may help employers to develop training and counseling interventions that support the effective management of emotions at work. Our findings are particularly salient for national and multinational organizations in Pakistan. Originality/Value: This is one of the first studies to provide empirical support for the relationships between in/justice, discrete emotions and CWBs in a non-Western (Pakistani) context. Our study also provides new evidence for the differential effects of outward/inward emotions on aggressive/passive CWBs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Counterproductive work behaviors
  • Emotions
  • Injustice
  • Pakistan
  • Pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


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