chapter
16 Pages

Workplace ostracism

What’s it good for?
WithSandra L. Robinson, Kira Schabram

This chapter reviews the existing literature that has identified functional or beneficial effects of ostracizing behaviors relevant to organizational contexts, and proposes the potential or perceived benefits that emerge from their occurrence. Manifestations of ostracism in a work context include behaviors such as not inviting someone to a work event, excluding someone from an email thread, overlooking the input of a committee member, excluding someone from a project team, and failing to respond to the greeting of a coworker. Despite the many adverse consequences of ostracism, there are several features of ostracizing behaviors that make them an attractive alternative among many for organizational members facing everyday problems at work. Ostracism may be a particularly preferred behavior for actors in the workplace for several reasons. The chapter presents the specific benefits that may emerge from the occurrence of ostracism — those that may go to the actor of ostracism, or to the group or organization as a whole.