Research on the feeling of embitterment at work is still in its infancy. The present study investigated the predictors and consequences of the feeling of embitterment at work. It was hypothesised that organisational injustice as well as over-controlling supervision would predict embitterment at work and that embitterment would be associated with work-related rumination. Three hundred and thirty-seven employees completed an online survey. Regression analysis revealed that procedural injustice and over-controlling supervision were significant predictors of embitterment and that embitterment contributed significantly to the prediction of increased affective rumination and reduction in detachment. Mediation analysis indicated that embitterment at work was a significant mechanism through which organisational injustice and over-controlling supervision exerted their effect on affective rumination, which is indicative of insufficient recovery from work. Findings suggest that breaches in organisational justice can generate feelings of embitterment at work, which in turn can interfere with employees? ability to adequately recover from work. Practitioner Summary: The purpose of this study was to investigate predictors and consequences of embitterment in the workplace, by using an online questionnaire. Findings suggest that perceived unfairness, because of structural and organizational aspects, predict feelings of embitterment and that feeling embittered at work can prevent employees from adequately recovering from work.
Clinicians working in occupational health services often recognise features of embitterment in organisations, however, research on interventions for embitterment are scarce. The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of an expressive writing intervention on working adults who experience workplace embitterment. Employing a randomised control trial we sought to test an expressive writing intervention for its effects on reducing embitterment, work-related rumination and sleep quality and assess whether the effect of the intervention was maintained over time by following up participants after one and three months. Findings partially supported our hypothesis as results showed that participants who completed the expressive writing intervention (N = 23) did not show significantly lower levels of embitterment, affective rumination, higher levels of detachment, either improved sleep quality, compared to participants who completed the factual writing (N = 21), when baseline values were controlled for. However, when looking at the mean scores embitterment and affective rumination levels diminished, detachment levels increased and sleep quality improved throughout the course of the intervention for both groups. Given the stability of embitterment and as findings from this study indicate embitterment diminished after a writing exercise irrespective of emotional disclosure taking place or not, further research and investigation is warranted.