Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD in Human Resource Management, kharazmi, University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Management, University of Gilan, Gilan, Iran


One of the most important and debatable issues in the field of employees' emotions is the issue of envy in the workplace. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the antecedents and consequences of envy in the workplace based on social comparison theory. To this end, a framework for understanding the antecedents and consequences of envy in the workplace was first developed based on Festinger's social comparison theory. In the next step, we implemented this model in Sapco. In this regard, 158 questionnaires were distributed among the sample members through the Relative stratified sampling method. The results of data analysis showed that narcissism, neuroticism, and competition have a positive and significant effect on envy in the workplace; Self-esteem and perceived control have a significant adverse effect on envy in the workplace. The results also showed that envy in the workplace has a negative and significant effect on organizational citizenship behavior and organizational perceptions; envy in the workplace has a positive and significant effect on turnover intentions, moral dysfunction, and counterproductive work behaviors.
The antecedents and consequences of envy in the work environment have been studied from different perspectives (Crusius, 2020; Ganegoda & Bordia, 2019; Puranik et al., 2019), but there are few empirical analyses of envy. There is no consensus about the conceptualization of envy and its antecedents and consequences, and the results of previous studies are often contradictory and scattered (Li et al., 2021). Previous studies focus on antecedents and consequences as subsets of workplace envy and lack a broad conceptual perspective. To address this gap, we use social comparison theory to identify the antecedents and consequences of employees' envy. Because envy is a product of upward social comparison (Smith, 2000), it occurs when people compare themselves upward with others who are better off (Li et al., 2021).
 Literature Review
 Social comparison as a basis for envy
The conceptual foundation of the envy model in the work environment is the social comparison theory or, more appropriately, social comparison theories (Gerber et al., 2018). Social comparison means "the process of thinking about (or comparing) information about one or more people who are related to the person" (Smith et al., 2017).
 Workplace envy
Envy is an unpleasant negative emotion that has received less attention. Envy occurs when a person lacks another superior quality, achievement, or possession and either wants or wishes the other person did not have it. In the management literature, envy is usually considered detrimental to organizational health, as the envious person often engages in counterproductive workplace behaviors, including social attrition, sabotage, abuse, taking pleasure in another's misery, and demeaning the person being envied. (Mohd. Shamsudin et al., 2022).
The current research is applied in terms of its purpose Because the research findings can be used to solve the executive issues of Sapco. In terms of the data collection method, it is considered a part of descriptive research and a branch of survey studies. In order to determine the minimum sample size, the test-based method and G-Power version 3.1 software were used (Faul et al., 2009). The number of 158 questionnaires has been distributed among people through the stratified sampling method.
The results of hypothesis 1 show that the narcissism of Sapco employees has a positive and significant effect on their workplace envy. The results of hypothesis 2 show that the neuroticism of Sapco employees has a positive and significant effect on their workplace envy. The results of hypothesis 3 show that the self-esteem of Sapco employees negatively and significantly affects their workplace envy. The results of hypothesis 4 show that the perceived control of Sapco employees negatively and significantly affects their workplace envy. The results of hypothesis 5 show that the competition factor between Sapco employees positively and significantly affects their workplace envy. The results of hypothesis 6 show that the envy of Sapco employees in the workplace negatively and significantly affects their organizational citizenship behavior. The results of hypothesis 7 show that workplace envy of Sapco employees has a negative and significant effect on their organizational perceptions (identification, job enthusiasm, and satisfaction). The results of hypothesis 8 also show that workplace envy of Sapco employees has a positive and significant effect on their intention to leave their jobs. The results of hypothesis 9 show that workplace envy of Sapco employees has a positive and significant effect on their moral indifference. The results of hypothesis 10 show that workplace envy of Sapco employees has a positive and significant effect on their unproductive work behavior.
What is seen more than ever in organizations is the issues related to mental and psychological pressures and their proper management so that organizations can grow and develop quickly and show off their ability against all these changes and environmental developments. In the workplace, a key factor in determining whether a manager will be in a better position is improving the management of employee emotions. One of the important and debatable issues in the field of employees' emotions is the discussion of workplace envy. The model of workplace envy presented in this research follows the social comparison theory. When employees make upward social comparisons in their work situations, they will experience workplace envy.
Due to the imbalance in personality traits, narcissistic employees show various deviant behaviors that cause problems for themselves and colleagues. Neurotic employees react to physical and emotional situations and are vulnerable. Self-esteem significantly predicts workplace envy so social comparison may be based on self-evaluations of abilities and opinions. Perceived control refers to people making a positive adjustment in the environmental conditions they were influenced. Perceived control can be a factor that reduces dissatisfaction and incompatibility. Creating a competitive atmosphere for scarce resources and promotions in the organization (for example, if an employee gets an advantage and a promotion will not reach another employee) increases the competition between employees to obtain these scarce resources and ultimately makes employees envy each other—employees who are envious of what other employees have usually refrained from performing organizational citizenship behaviors. Workplace envy leads to more negative emotions and organizational perceptions (i.e., identification, job passion, and satisfaction) and increases the tendency to change jobs. Social desirability can reduce real or symbolic workplace envy, and workplace envy can facilitate moral indifference. Upward social comparison (and the resulting destructive envy) is destructive to the organization's and work group's effectiveness.


Main Subjects

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