Victimization Behavior in the Workplace


This measure, (Victimization Behavior in the Workplace) developed by Aquino, Grover, Bradfield, and Allen (1999), uses eight items to describe victimization resulting from another’s aggres­sive behavior. The measure contains two dimensions: indirect victimization and direct victimization. Indirect victimization includes behaviors that inflict harm without being detected, such as someone sabotaging an em­ployee’s work. Direct victimization includes behaviors that are overt and visibly aggressive, such as being cursed at by another employee.


Coefficient alpha value for indirect victimization was .81. Alpha for direct victimization was .76. Exploratory factor analysis showed the items loaded on the two dimensions (Aquino, Grover, et al., 1999).


Direct victimization correlated positively with indirect victimization and negative affectivity. Direct victimization correlated negatively with greater employee self-determination (Aquino, Grover, et al., 1999). Indirect victim­ ization also correlated positively with negative affectivity and negatively with employee self-determination. Confirmatory factor analysis showed the two factors were empirically distinct (Aquino, Grover, et al., 1999).


Aquino, K., Grover, S. L., Bradfield, M., & Allen, D. G. (1999). The effects of negative affectivity, hierarchal status, and self-determination on work­ place victimization. Academy of Management Journal, 42(3), 260-272.


Responses are obtained using a 5-point Likert-type scale where 1 = never, 2 = one to three times, 3 = four to six times, 4 = seven to nine times, and 5 = more than ten times. Respondents are instructed to answer based on the num­ ber of times they personally have witnessed a co-worker directing the described behaviors toward themselves within the last year.

Indirect victimization behaviors:

  1. Said bad things about you to your co-workers
  2. Sabotaged your work
  3. Did something to make you look bad
  4. Lied to get you in trouble

Direct victimization behaviors:

  1. Made an ethnic, racial, religious, or offensive slur toward you
  2. Made an obscene comment or gesture in front of you
  3. Threatened you with physical harm
  4. Cursed at you