Why am I ostracized and how would I react? — A review of workplace ostracism research

Yina Mao, Yan Liu, Chunyan Jiang, Iris D. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Ostracism is an important issue in the workplace and studies on this issue are diverse and large. This paper comprehensively reviews the literature related to workplace ostracism in five aspects. First, in discussing why ostracism occurs, it outlines that individuals are ostracized due to their dispositions, ability and skills, behavioral features, and perpetrators’ ostracism motives. Second, in investigating the consequences of ostracism, it outlines that victims would respond with affective and attitudinal, physical, and behavioral tendencies, and these reactions can be either positive or negative. Third, in describing specific mechanisms for ostracism to take effect, it summarizes that threat-to-needs as well as affective and cognitive responses play important roles. Fourth, regarding the mixed findings of ostracism’s impact, it points out that extant inconsistencies lie in individual differences, temporal effects, and situational cues. Last, in recommending future research areas, it suggests several promising directions, particularly the role of culture in shaping victims’ responses to ostracism. We hope this article will be a good foundation for management researchers in Asia Pacific regions to conduct indigenous studies of workplace ostracism relevant to their own contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-767
Number of pages23
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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