Sins of Commission and Omission: The Implications of an Active–Passive Categorization of Counterproductive Work Behavior

Jonathan B. Evans, Jerel E. Slaughter, Mahira L. Ganster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper introduces an active–passive framework to the conceptualization and measurement of counterproductive work behavior (CWB), in order to establish a dimension that categorizes the content of behaviors within the existing interpersonally directed (CWBI) and organizationally directed (CWBO) framework. Doing so provides new insights into the relationship between workplace counterproductivity and sleep. Stressor-emotion models of CWB predict that employees engage in counterproductivity in response to workplace stressors, but extant research suggests that counterproductive behavior increases strain, including reduced sleep quality. We develop a new scale for measuring CWB that differentiates active and passive behaviors and demonstrates the potential for positive intrapsychic consequences for passive CWBI. In Study 1, using five samples, we demonstrate the convergent and discriminant validity, reliability, and acceptable psychometric properties of a 19-item scale that reconceptualizes CWB into four dimensions: active CWBI, passive CWBI, active CWBO, and passive CWBO. In Study 2, using experience-sampling methodology, we found that when employees engage in active CWBO at work in the afternoon they experience reduced sleep quality that evening, whereas engaging in passive CWBI was related to increased sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-117
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Counterproductive work behavior
  • Measurement
  • Scale
  • Sleep quality
  • Workplace deviance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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