Tara Reich

Tara Reich

Senior Lecturer in Work and Organisational Psychology
PhD Business Administration (Organizational Behaviour) (Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Canada); MA Social Psychology (University of Manitoba, Canada); Hons BA Psychology (University of Western Ontario, Canada)
51MS03 (please email for an appointment)




Hershcovis, M. S., Neville, L., Reich, T. C., Christie, A. M., Cortina, L. M., & Shan, J. V. (2017) Witnessing wrongdoing: The effects of observer power on incivility intervention in the workplace.

Research often paints a dark portrait of power. Previous work underscores the links between power and self-interested, antisocial behavior. In this paper, we identify a potential bright side to power—namely, that the powerful are more likely to intervene when they witness workplace incivility. In experimental (Studies 1 and 3) and field (Study 2) settings, we find evidence suggesting that power can shape how, why, and when the powerful respond to observed incivility against others. We begin by drawing on research linking power and action orientation. In Study 1, we demonstrate that the powerful respond with agency to witnessed incivility. They are more likely to directly confront perpetrators, and less likely to avoid the perpetrator and offer social support to targets. We explain the motivation that leads the powerful to act by integrating theory on responsibility construals of power and hierarchy maintenance. Study 2 shows that felt responsibility mediates the effect of power on increased confrontation and decreased avoidance. Study 3 demonstrates that incivility leads the powerful to perceive a status challenge, which then triggers feelings of responsibility. In Studies 2 and 3, we also reveal an interesting nuance to the effect of power on supporting the target. While the powerful support targets less as a direct effect, we reveal countervailing indirect effects: To the extent that incivility is seen as a status challenge and triggers felt responsibility, power indirectly increases support toward the target. Together, these results enrich the literature on third-party intervention and incivility, showing how power may free bystanders to intervene in response to observed incivility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Hershcovis, M. S., Ogunfowora, B., Reich, T. C., & Christie, A. M. (2017) Targeted workplace incivility: The roles of belongingness, embarrassment, and power.

Research to date has largely been unclear about whether a single perpetrator is sufficient to instigate the well‐documented negative consequences of workplace incivility. In the current research, we examine the extent to which perceived belongingness and embarrassment mediate the relationship between incivility from a single perpetrator and two important outcomes (job insecurity and somatic symptoms), and the extent to which the perpetrator's power moderates these relationships. Across two studies using different methods, we find that incidents of single perpetrator incivility are associated with target feelings of isolation and embarrassment, which in turn relate to targets' perceived job insecurity and somatic symptoms (Studies 1 and 2) both the same day and three days later (Study 2). Moreover, we find that perpetrator power moderates the relationship between incivility and embarrassment, such that targets are more embarrassed when the perpetrator is powerful. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fiori, M., Krings, F., Kleinlogel, E., & Reich, T. (2016) Whose side are you on? Exploring the role of perspective-taking on third-party’s reactions to workplace deviance.

We introduce perspective taking as an antecedent of third-party reactions to different forms of workplace deviance. Varying the perspective taken by third-parties, the target and the type of workplace deviance, we show that third-parties who take the perpetrator’s perspective perceive the incident as less of a moral violation, make less internal, and more external attributions for the perpetrator’s behavior, which in turn reduces endorsement of punishment. Findings were consistent across four studies, and the mediating mechanisms supported by the instrumental variable method and the concurrent double randomization design.

Reich, T. C., & Hershcovis, M. S. (2014) Observing workplace incivility.

Interpersonal mistreatment at work often occurs in the presence of others; however, these “others” are rarely examined in empirical research despite their importance to the context of the negative interaction. We conducted 2 experiments to examine how witnessing incivility affects observer reactions toward instigators and targets. In Study 1, participants (N = 60) worked virtually with an ostensible instigator and target. In Study 2, participants (N = 48) worked in vivo with confederates (hired actors) on a job task. Across these 2 studies, we found that observers of incivility tend to punish instigators while their reactions to targets were generally unaffected. Further, the effect of witnessing incivility was mediated by observers’ negative emotional reaction toward the instigator. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Turner, N., Hershcovis, M.S., Reich, T.C., & Totterdell, P. (2014) Work-family interference, psychological distress, and workplace injuries.

We draw on conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 1989) to investigate in two studies the relationship between work–family interference (i.e., work–family conflict and family–work conflict) and workplace injuries as mediated by psychological distress. In Study 1, we use split survey data from a sample of UK health care workers (= 645) to first establish the model, and then cross‐validate it, finding that work–family conflict (but not family–work conflict) was partially related to workplace injuries via psychological distress. In Study 2, we extend the model with a separate two‐wave sample of manufacturing and service employees (Study 2; = 128). We found that psychological distress fully mediated the relationship between work–family conflict and workplace injuries incurred 6 months later, controlling for prior levels of workplace injuries. The implications of making workplaces safer by enabling employees to better manage competing work and home demands are discussed.

Alards-Tomalin, D., Ansons, T. L., Reich, T. C., Sakamoto, Y., Davie, R., Leboe-McGowan, J. P., & Leboe-McGowan, L. C. (2014) Airport security measures and their influence on enplanement intentions.

Airport security measures can be grouped into two types; standardized screening techniques, which all passengers must undergo (e.g., baggage X-rays, metal detecting scans); and elevated-risk screening (including pat-downs and strip searches) for which only a sub-set of passengers are selected. In the current study, an undergraduate sample (n = 636) was surveyed regarding the professionalism of security screening staff, as well as perceived safety, threat to dignity, and enplanement intentions, following standard and elevated-risk screening measures. Consistent with our hypotheses, perceived professionalism and safety were positively correlated with enplanement intentions, and dignity threat was negatively associated with perceived safety. As the perceived safety from the use of a security measure decreased, enplanement intentions also decreased. Notably, when a screening measure is perceived as having negative consequences (e.g., threatening one's sense of dignity) the safety of the measure is personally invalidated.

Hershcovis, M. S., & Reich, T. C. (2013) Integrating workplace aggression research: Relational, contextual, and method considerations.

The present article takes an integrative perspective on the field of workplace aggression to highlight areas of ambiguity and opportunities for future research. First, by simultaneously examining the perpetrator‐ and target‐focused literatures, we identify a great deal of overlap between predictors and outcomes in the two literatures, giving rise to the question of whether key constructs are predictors, outcomes, or both. Second, we determine that the question of “who is the perpetrator?” and “who is the target?” is considerably more ambiguous than implied within each of these independent literatures. Third, our examination suggests that a greater focus on the relational aspect of workplace aggression is particularly important to enable a more comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon. We examine and critique current methods and measurement and propose different approaches to explore workplace aggression in a more dynamic and contextualized way. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Stride, C. B., Turner, N., Hershcovis, M. S., Reich, T. C., Clegg, C. W., & Murphy, P. (2013) Negative safety events as correlates of work-safety tension.

We investigate the extent to which three types of self-reported negative safety events (i.e., being injured at work, working in an unsafe way, witnessing others working in an unsafe way) correlate with work-safety tension. Work-safety tension is bi-dimensional, defined here as the perceived conflict between production and following safety rules (“barriers to safety compliance”) and production and proactive ways of working more safely (“barriers to safety participation”). Directly experiencing or witnessing negative safety events may send signals to employees about the extent to which their organization prioritizes production over safety. We tested a model of negative safety events as predictors of both barriers to safety compliance and barriers to safety participation using survey data from 316 front-line supervisors (97% male, mean age = 44 years) working for a UK rail maintenance company. The number of injuries directly experienced had a positive relationship with perceived barriers to safety compliance, whereas the number of times respondents witnessed others work in an unsafe way had a positive relationship with perceived barriers to safety participation.

Hershcovis, M. S., Reich, T. C., Parker, S. K., & Bozeman, J. (2012) The relationship between workplace aggression and target deviant behaviour: The moderating roles of power and task interdependence.

We investigate how employees’ deviant responses to experiencing workplace aggression are shaped by the social context in which the aggressive acts occur. Drawing on the group value model and theories of belongingness, we investigated three moderators of the relationship between workplace aggression and employee deviant behaviour: (1) perpetrator formal power (relating to their position within the organization), (2) perpetrator referent power (derived from their social position at work), and (3) task interdependence between the perpetrator and victim. Participants (N=299) consisted of North American employees in a variety of industries. Power and task interdependence interacted with workplace aggression to predict the extent and the direction of deviant behaviour. Specifically, we found that when the perpetrator had high power (either formal power or referent power) and low task interdependence with the target, victims were most likely to engage in deviance directed towards the perpetrator in response to aggression. These results are consistent with the idea that perpetrator power motivates victims to retaliate, but they are most likely to do so if they are not highly dependent on the perpetrator to complete their work tasks. This study suggests that spirals of workplace aggression depend on the nature of the perpetrator-victim relationship.

Totterdell, P., Hershcovis, M. S., Niven, K., Reich, T. C., & Stride, C. (2012) Can employees be emotionally drained by witnessing unpleasant interactions between coworkers? A diary study of induced emotion regulation.

The aim of this study was to investigate whether employees experience emotional drain when they witness unpleasant interactions between coworkers. This was tested in a sample of staff in a UK hospital department, which included nurses, doctors, specialists and administrative staff. The study used a diary method in which participants recorded their reactions to over 1000 interpersonal interactions between coworkers across 15 work days. Multilevel analyses indicated that staff felt significantly more emotionally drained after witnessing unpleasant interactions compared to pleasant ones. This effect was mediated both by what the staff felt in response to what they witnessed and by the extent to which they controlled their feelings. Staff felt more emotionally drained when they took the perspective of the target to a greater extent and when they witnessed interactions directly (first-hand) rather than indirectly (hearsay). Witnesses appear to be vulnerable to emotional depletion because they experience an affective reaction and self-regulate their own emotional response to what they have seen or heard. This third-party effect on the witnesses of unpleasant interactions has the potential not only to have a negative effect on the individual but to pervade the organisation.

Hershcovis, M. S., Parker, S. K., & Reich, T. C. (2010) Moderating effect of equal opportunity support and confidence in grievance procedures on sexual harassment from different perpetrators.

This study drew on three theoretical perspectives – attribution theory, power, and role identity theory – to compare the job-related outcomes of sexual harassment from organizational insiders (i.e., supervisors and co-workers) and organizational outsiders (i.e., offend- ers and members of the public) in a sample (n = 482) of UK police officers and police support staff. Results showed that sexual harassment from insiders was related to higher intentions to quit, over-performance demands, and lower job satisfaction, whereas sexual harassment from outsiders was not significantly related to any of the outcome variables investigated. We also examined two moderator variables: equal opportunity support and confidence in grievance procedures. Consistent with our hypotheses, equal oppor- tunity support mitigated the effects of sexual harassment from supervisors on intent to quit and over-performance demands. Confidence in grievance procedures moderated the relationship between sexual harassment from supervisors and all outcome variables. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Morry, M. M., Reich, T., & Kito, M. (2010) How do I see you relative to myself? Relationship quality as a predictor of self- and partner-enhancement within cross-sex friendships, dating relationships, and marriages.

Individuals tend to rate themselves more positively than strangers or acquaintances—a self-enhancement effect. But such self-enhancement is potentially detrimental to one's intimate relationships. We hypothesized that higher relationship quality would predict (1) partner-enhancement (i.e., rating the partner more positively than the self) and (2) higher feelings of being understood and validated (FUV). In addition, (3) partner-enhancement would add to relationship quality's prediction of FUV. These hypotheses were tested among cross-sex friendships (N = 92) and dating relationships (N = 90) in University students and in a married, non-University sample (N = 94). All hypotheses were supported in romantic relationships. For cross-sex friendships, regardless of relationship quality, individuals partner-enhanced on the negative traits but neither self- nor partner-enhanced on the positive traits. Finally, relationship quality predicted partner-perceptions more strongly than self-perceptions.

Reich, T. C., & Hershcovis, M. S. (2012) Observing sexual harassment at work: A gendered extension of a gendered construct. In S. Fox & T. Lituchy (Eds.), Gender and the dysfunctional workplace (pp. 120-134).
Reich, T. C., & Hershcovis, M. S. (2011) Interpersonal relationships at work. In S. Zedeck, H. Aguinis, W. Cascio, M. Gelfand, K. Leung, S. Parker, & J. Zhou (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 223-248).

Interpersonal relationships in the workplace are an inescapable reality for all those working in organizations. While they have often been studied from a negative perspective, for many these relationships may facilitate a context in which working individuals can fulfill their “need to belong”(Baumeister & Leary, 1995). The current chapter reviews literature in the area of positive interpersonal relationships in the workplace. We take a multi-level approach, examining the area from organizational, group, and dyadic perspectives, and focus both on the outcomes and the predictors of positive working relationships. We also review some common methodologies used in this type of research before concluding with some implications for science and practice as well as suggestions for future research.

Hershcovis, M. S., & Reich, T. C. (2010) Occupational stress. In I. Weiner & E. Craighead (Eds.), Corsini encyclopedia of psychology (4th ed).

Occupational stress poses a significant threat to the health and well‐being of employees as well as potential costs to organizations. Occupational stressors are stress‐producing events or conditions in an organization and can include factors associated with one's work role (e.g., role ambiguity, overload, work‐family conflict, and interpersonal conflict), the social context of the work environment (e.g., workplace aggression, injustice, sexual harassment), and the physical work environment (e.g., safety, spatial organization, ambient environment).

Hershcovis, M. S., Reich, T. C., & Niven, K. (2015) Workplace bullying: Causes, consequences, and intervention strategies.

Workplace bullying is detrimental to employees and organizations, yet in a meta-analytic review of studies representing a range of countries (North America, Scandinavian, and other European), approximately 15% of employees report being victimized at work (Nielsen, Matthiesen, & Einarsen, 2010). Workplace bullying is defined as repeated exposure, over a period of time, to negative acts such as abuse, teasing, ridicule, and social exclusion (Einarsen, 2000). Researchers have traditionally conceptualized bullying to involve face-to-face interactions; however, the increasing use of technology in the workplace has seen a rise in “cyberbullying,” whereby employees may be victimized over email or social networking websites (Weatherbee, 2010). Though bullying behaviors can originate from anyone at work (e.g., coworkers, supervisors, or subordinates), more often than not, the perpetrator has more power or perceived power than the target (Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002).