Is it Better to Be Average? High and Low Performance as Predictors of Employee Victimization
Based on the victim precipitation model, we extend research on the relationship between job performance and victimization at the individual and group level. We invoke social comparison theory to explain why individual low and high performers are more likely to be victimized than average performers and apply attribution theory to explain why greater performance polarization within groups relates to greater within-group victimization. We argue these effects are mitigated by equity sensitivity such that benevolent high and low performers are less likely to be victimized than their entitled counterparts and that groups comprised of more benevolent members experience lower within-group victimization. Results from data collected at three different time points from 576 individuals in 62 workgroups support the proposed framework. The findings suggest that performance is not merely an endpoint, but also a precipitating factor to negative treatment in the workplace, with implications for individual and group effectiveness.