Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 801–815 | Cite as

The Effect of Workplace Negative Gossip on Employee Proactive Behavior in China: The Moderating Role of Traditionality

  • Xiangfan Wu
  • Ho Kwong Kwan
  • Long-Zeng Wu
  • Jie Ma


In this study, we examined the relationship between workplace negative gossip, as perceived by the targets, and proactive behavior by focusing on the mediating role of the target’s emotional exhaustion and the moderating role of the target’s traditionality. Our results from dyadic data on 234 supervisor–subordinate relationships in China revealed that (1) workplace negative gossip was negatively related to proactive behavior; (2) emotional exhaustion mediated this relationship; and (3) traditionality strengthened both the relationship between workplace negative gossip and emotional exhaustion and the indirect effect of workplace negative gossip on proactive behavior via emotional exhaustion. Our findings have a number of theoretical and practical implications for the research on mistreatment and proactive behavior.


Emotional exhaustion Gossip Proactive behavior Traditionality 



This work is supported by the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Grant (2014110766), National Natural Science Foundation of China (project code: 71202001, 71472116), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-13-0892), Shanghai Pujiang Program (13PJC053), and the “Chen Guang” project (12CG44) supported by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and Shanghai Education Development Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiangfan Wu
    • 1
  • Ho Kwong Kwan
    • 2
  • Long-Zeng Wu
    • 3
  • Jie Ma
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Business AdministrationXinjiang University of Finance and EconomicsXinjiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of International Business AdministrationShanghai University of Finance and EconomicsShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of ManagementXiamen UniversityXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.MBA SchoolXinjiang University of Finance and EconomicsXinjiangPeople’s Republic of China

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