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Organizational cynicism is the belief that an organization lacks integrity, which, when coupled with a powerful negative emotional reaction, leads to disparaging and critical behavior. In this article, the author attempts to theoretically clarify the process by which five forms of cynicism develop in the workplace and to empirically relate them to affective outcomes. Societal, employee, and organizational change cynicisms may be attributed to psychological contract violations; work cynicism may be related to burnout; and person-role conflict and personality cynicism may be related to innate hostility. Empirically, personality cynicism emerged as the strongest predictor of organizational cynicism, adversely affecting all of the criteria. Other forms of cynicism had more selective effects. Organizational change cynicism induced job dissatisfaction and alienation, and employee cynicism affected organizational commitment. Societal cynicism actually increased both job satisfaction and commitment. Both personality and work cynicisms were related to organizational citizenship indirectly, through alienation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.




Abraham, R. (2000). Organizational Cynicism: Bases and Consequences. Direct, 26(3), 269–292. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH,2008

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