COVID-19 Conspiracies At Work

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Berry, Kaitlyn Ethel-Jean
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Middle Tennessee State University
Previous research has illustrated several links between workplace aggressive behaviors, such as ostracism, and paranoid thinking patterns such as conspiracy beliefs. Research has also indicated that there are unique differences in aggression and ostracism based on individuals of different status. The purpose of this study is to examine these effects in tandem to explore how individuals may treat others in the workplace with aggression or ostracism based upon coworker and supervisor beliefs in COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Participants were presented with a hypothetical scenario depicting either a coworker or supervisor as the source of information discussing their belief or disbelief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories before completing scales assessing their intentions to be aggressive or ostracizing toward the hypothetical individual. Results show an interesting interaction between belief similarity and information source on ostracism intention. While future research is needed to elucidate these findings, these results highlight a potential need for organizations to have caution regarding these discussions in the workplace.
Aggression, Conspiracy, COVID-19, COVID-19 conspiracy, Ostracism, Organizational behavior, Social psychology, Psychology