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Journal of Management Development

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Work-family Interference, Incivility and Psychological


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Distress
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Journal: Journal of Management Development

Manuscript ID JMD-06-2017-0207

Manuscript Type: Original Article


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Keywords: Nigeria., psychological distress,, incivility,, work-family conflict,


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Page 1 of 19 Journal of Management Development

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4 Work-family Interference, Incivility and Psychological Distress
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8 Abstract
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11 Purpose: This study contributes to the scarce literature at the practical and academic
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13 juncture of work-family interference, supervisor, coworker incivility and psychological
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distress in the hospital settings.
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16 Methods: Applying COR theory, linear (SEM) and non-linear (artificial neural network)
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18 methods this paper investigate the relationship between aforementioned variables.
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20 Utilizing survey data from a sample of Nigerian health workers (n = 447).
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Findings: Results from SEM and ANN revealed that work-family conflict, family-work
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conflict, supervisor and coworker incivility have positive impacts on psychological distress.
25 Originality: Work-family interference and incivility are pervasive problems in the
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27 workplace, but the simultaneous nature of this influence are poorly understood. This paper
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29 provide preliminary support for this interaction, and the implications for making the
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31 workplace better and safer are discussed.
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36 Keywords: work-family conflict, incivility, psychological distress, Nigeria.
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40 Overview
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42 Substantial changes in the workforce demographics and family setup have altered
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44 our lives in many ways. This is because a greater number of the individuals in the labor
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46 market are from dual-earner families or single-parent families, as opposed to traditional


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48 two-parent, single income families (Palmer et al., 2012). As such they strive to balance the
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49 competing demands of work and family roles, which results in conflict between work and
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51 family roles (Palmer et al., 2012). Such conflict can affect critical finite resources e.g., work
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53 schedules, time, energy, task deadlines, intimacy and family commitments; which may
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55 eventually causes psychological strain (Hobfoll, 2001).
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Research has shown that incivility directed toward healthcare staff was costly, in
5 that such behavior cost US$1,235 per nursing assistant and US$1,484 per registered nurse
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7 in lost productivity (Hutton & Gates, 2008). Workplace incivility is defined as “low-
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9 intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of
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11 workplace norms for mutual respect” (Andersson & Pearson, 1999, pp. 457). It is
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characterized by impolite, rude, or discourteous actions. Supervisor, and coworker
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14 incivility are among the two main sources of incivility. Porath and Pearson (2010)
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16 estimated that about 96% of the workforce experienced workplace incivility. It would be
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18 interesting to explore the explanatory nature of incivility when entangled with work-family
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20 conflict.
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23 This paper diagnosed the impact of work-family conflict, family-work conflict,
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25 supervisor and coworker incivility on psychological distress. Conflict between work-family
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27 or vice versa may threaten an individual’s ability to meet demands in each domain (Peeters
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29 et al., 2013), and when entwined with social imbalance e.g., workplace incivility, together
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31 these factors may predict psychological strain. As an artificial intelligence method, artificial
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neural network (ANN) outsmart other methods like (i.e., Regression and Structural
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34 equation modeling (SEM)), as it can detect both linear and nonlinear relationships with
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36 high predictive accuracy (Leong et al., 2015).
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40 Moreover, ANN requires no multivariate assumptions such as normality, linearity or
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homoscedasticity to be fulfilled. Even with its capacity ANN is not so ideal for testing causal
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43 relationships due to it’s black-box operating nature and since linear models (e.g. SEM) have
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45 the possibilities of over-simplifying the complexities in decision making processes (Sim,
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47 Tan, Wong, Ooi, & Hew, 2014). As such SEM and ANN were employed to boost the
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49 reliability of this investigation. More subtly, the use SEM–ANN approach would
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complement each other (Leong et al., 2015), as the non-compensatory ANN is able to
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complement the weaknesses of compensatory linear SEM (Shmueli & Koppius, 2011).
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56 Theory and Hypotheses


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4 Work-family interference
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Work-family interference is an emerging area of study that relates to the work-
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7 family balance of an employee and how that balance, or lack thereof, affects employee
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9 psychological well-being. Work-family conflict (WFC) occurs when work-life interferes
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11 with family-life, while family-work conflict (FWC) is when family-life interferes with work-
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13 life (Turner et al., 2014). Alas, valued resources are not always compatible, the demands of
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one domain (e.g., work or family) sometimes require the reallocation of resources that take
16 an individual away from his/her other priorities (Shaffer et al., 2001). COR theory suggests
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18 that resource loss can lead to further resource loss, to regain lost resources, individuals
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20 tend to invest more resources; resulting to individuals playing ‘catch-up’ as they work to
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offset their losses. Without much tautology, role conflict such as WFC or FWC is associated
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with psychological health and psychological distress; a substantial body of research has
25 supported the notion (e.g., Amstad et al., 2011; Greenhaus et al., 2006; Janzen et al., 2007;
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27 Michel et al., 2011; Peeters et al., 2013; Sharma et al., 2015; Shockley & Singla, 2011).
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29 Hindrance stressors produce undesirable consequences in the workplace by decreasing
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31 engagement and increasing burnout (Crawford, LePine, & Rich, 2010). The scarcity of WFC
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33 and FWC research in West Africa provides additional lacuna for more exploration. Based on
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34 the aforementioned theoretical arguments, the following hypotheses are proposed.


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36 Hypothesis 1: WFC is related to psychological distress
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38 Hypothesis 2: FWC is related to psychological distress


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Supervisor and Co-worker’s Incivility
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44 Supervisor’s incivility refers to uncivil behaviors that are instigated by individual’s
45 supervisor, such as hurtful remarks, “snippy” emails, gossip, and shunning (Reio, 2011).
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47 Coworker incivility refers to uncivil behaviors that are instigated by a coworker, such as
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49 negligence to say “please” or “thank you” to fellow coworker, raising one’s voice or ignoring
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51 others (Pearson et al., 2001). In line with COR theory, incivility reduces the general well-
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53 being of workers, because psychological health requires effort, and effort requires
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resources (Hobfoll, 1988, 1989). Researchers have proposed several theoretical
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56 frameworks for understanding the effects of workplace incivility (e.g., Hershcovis, &
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Barling, 2010, Keashly & Harvey, 2005; Lim et al., 2008). The common theme linking these
5 framework is the emphasis on stressors, stress, and strains. The quality of relationship
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7 with coworkers may affect an individual psychological well-being, this is because social
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9 exclusion is associated with anxiety and depression (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Two,
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11 because a critical part of an individual’s sense of self is their need to belong (Baumeister &
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Leary, 1995).
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16 In a scenario where a coworkers’ behaviors are unpleasant and unwelcoming;
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18 respect and social support is broken which may manifest emotional exhaustion, and other
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20 health problems (Kobayashi et al., 2008). Several empirical findings denote that coworker
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initiated incivility has the tendency to cause psychological distress (Lim, & Lee, 2011),
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23 discomfort and overall happiness (Lim et al., 2008), and decreased mental, emotional, and
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25 social energy (Giumetti et al., 2013; Sliter et al., 2012) among victims. Unfortunately, there
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27 is little empirical research linking coworker incivility with supervisor incivility as well as
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29 WFC in organizations. Based on the aforementioned theoretical arguments, the following
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31 hypotheses are proposed.
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Hypothesis 3: Coworker incivility is related to psychological distress.
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36 Supervisors’ legitimate positions allow them to control important workplace
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38 resources, such as promotions, compensation and task distribution (Rupp & Cropanzano,
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40 2002), employees expect their superiors to treat them in a respectful manner. Thus, uncivil
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behaviors from a supervisor may signal to the victims that they matter less, and that their
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43 position within the company is in jeopardy (Kivimaki et al., 2005), which may have adverse
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45 effect. For instance, if supervisors publicly embarrass, make fun of, curse at, gossip about,
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47 or ostracize their subordinate, the victims work engaged behaviors and productivity might
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49 decline (Pearson & Porath, 2005). According to COR theory, dealing with uncivil supervisor
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may exhaust ones resources, furthermore, that person may lack the social and emotional
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energy require to perform well in his or her job, resulting in psychological distress (Hobfoll,
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54 1988, 1989). Based on the aforementioned theoretical arguments, the following hypotheses
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56 are proposed.
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58 Hypothesis 4: Supervisor incivility is related to psychological distress.
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Work/Family
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16 Conflict
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Family/Work
20 Psychological
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24 Supervisor
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30 Incivility
31 Figure 1: Conceptual Model
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36 Methods
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Nigeria is a medical brain drained, poor resource and infrastructure, multiethnic,
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40 and culturally laden country. The need for organizational restructuring of the health sector
41 exist. Lasebikan & Oyetunde (2012) suggested that excess workload, frequent night shifts,
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43 poor wages, doctor/nurse conflict, inadequate personnel predicted burnout among nurses
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45 in the southwestern part of the country. In similar fashion, I expected WFC, FWC,
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47 supervisor and coworker’s incivility to predict psychological distress. Stress may lead to
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49 fatigue-related errors for health workers who work in a demanding and unsupportive
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workplace (Lasebikan & Oyetunde, 2012). Data was obtained from healthcare workers in a
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52 large public hospital in northern Nigeria. The survey questionnaire was accompanied with
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54 a cover letter explaining the voluntary nature of the study.
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Procedures
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A temporal separation via time lag was utilized to help minimize the potential risk of
5 common method bias as suggested by (Podsakoff et al., 2003). At time one, seven hundred
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7 questionnaires were distributed to assess psychological distress. Anonymity and
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9 confidentiality was also assured to help reduce the potential threat of common method bias
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11 as suggested by (Podsakoff et al, 2003), the health workers were informed that they would
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be receiving another short survey in approximately four weeks. Five hundred and forty
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14 valid questionnaires were returned, resulting to 77% response rate. At time two, those
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16 who completed the survey at time one (identification number assigned enabled the
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18 researcher to match the respondents) were given a second survey that assessed WFC, FWC
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20 and incivility from coworker and supervisor. Readers might be puzzled by the order of the
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data collection, but the intent of this procedure was to separate the predictor and criterion
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23 variables at different times in order to reduce response bias. This procedure might reduce
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25 temporary effects of mood or very recent personal experiences. Furthermore, four weeks
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27 lag is too short to have much relevance causal effect in the observed relationships. Finally, a
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29 single factor model was tested to gauge the potential threat of common bias (See table 1). A
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31 total of four hundred and sixty four questionnaires were returned, resulting to eighty five
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per cent response rate, at the end only four hundred and forty seven were used for analysis
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34 due to missing data.


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36 Measures
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38 WFC was measured with two items borrowed from (Frone, Russell, & Cooper,
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40 1992). The response choice was 5 (very often) to 1 (never) with high scores indicating
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greater WFC. The items loaded well (.83, .80); composite reliability (CR) = .80; average
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variance extract (AVE) = .67; Cronbach alpha (α) = .77; mean (M) = 4.6 and standard
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45 deviation (SD) = .70.
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47 FWC was measured with two items borrowed from (Frone et al., 1992). The
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49 response choice was 5 (very often) to 1 (never), with high scores indicating greater FWC.
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51 The items loaded well (.99, .58); CR = .87; AVE = .79; α = .78; M = 3.37 and SD = .91.
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Supervisor incivility was measured with four items borrowed from (Sliter et al.,
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54 2012). The response choice was 5 (very often) to 1 (never), with high scores indicating
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greater Supervisor incivility. The items loaded well (.57, .99, .96, .99); CR = .94; AVE = .81; α
5 = .93; M = 2.44 and SD = 1.17.
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7 Co-worker incivility was measured with four items borrowed from (Sliter et al.,
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9 2012). The response choice was 5 (very often) to 1 (never), with high scores indicating
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11 greater co-worker incivility. The items loaded well (.53, .58, .88, .84); CR = .81; AVE = .53; α
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= .82; M = 3.41 and SD =1.00.
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14 Psychological distress was measured with four items adopted from the General
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16 Health (GH) Questionnaire (Goldberg, 1978). Large-sample analyses (Shevlin & Adamson,
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18 2005) have suggested a 3-factor model (i.e., anxiety–depression, social dysfunction, and
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20 loss of confidence), with the items used in the current study constituting the anxiety–
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depression factor. The response scale was from 5 (much more than usual) to 1 (not at all),
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23 with higher scores indicating greater psychological distress. The items loaded well (.69, .70,
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25 .83, .85); CR = .86; AVE = .60; α = .85; M = 4.27 and SD = .77.
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27 Demographics. The current study sample includes 64% (285) female health
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29 workers, (41%) were between 25 and 34 years old; (35%) were between 35 and 44 years
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31 old, and (23%) were below 24 years old. Sixty three percent of the respondents were
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33 married, while the rest were single or divorced. Majority of the participants (59%) have
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34 some college degrees; (31%) have bachelor’s degrees, and (10%) have high school
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36 diplomas. In terms of work experience, (41%) have worked for the organization between 5
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38 and 8 years; (23%) have worked for between 1 and 4 years; (18%) worked for above 9
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40 years and the rest worked for less than 1 year. Forty eight percent (48%) of the
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respondents have between 1 and 3 dependents; (38%) have between 4 and 6 dependents;
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(11%) reported none and the rest have more than 6 dependents.
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Research Findings
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48 The proposed structural model was examined using IBM SPSS AMOS v20, the four
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50 factor model yielded a good fit and one factor model presented yielded a poorer fit. Based
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52 on this, we concluded that the potential threat of common bias was eliminated (Podsakoff
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53 et al., 2003). See Table 1. The model fits measures were reasonable and acceptable as
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suggested (Wheaton et al., 1977; Bentler, & Bonett, 1980; Jöreskog, & Sörbom, 1984;
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57 Tanaka, & Huba, 1985; Bollen, 1989a; Bollen, 1989b). Standardized loadings, alphas, CR
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and AVE were deemed adequate in terms of convergent and discriminant validity (Hair et
5 al., 1998). Table 2 presents bivariate correlations among the study variables.
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TABLE 1 Model test for fitness
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15 Variables X2 df GFI CFI NFI RMSEA X2/df
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17 One Factor Model 5015.9 103 .50 .14 .14 .327 48.7
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19 Work-Family Conflict 309.3 93 .92 .96 .95 .072 3.33
20 Family-Work Conflict
21 Co-worker Incivility
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22 Supervisor Incivility
23 Psychological Distress
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27 TABLE 2 Pearson Correlations.
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30 Variables 1 2 3 4 5
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32 1. Work-Family Conflict -
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4. Supervisor Incivility -.030 -.035 -.023 -
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37 5. Psychological Distress .066 .059 .202** .101* -
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Notes*Significant at the p < 0.05 level; **significant at the p < 0.001 level. (Two-tailed
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43 Intra-class correlations analysis (ICC) with the aid of two-way mixed and absolute
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45 agreement definitions, were used to assess the level of agreement between-groups. That is
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46 whether the groups can be differentiated on the variables under investigation. Single and
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48 average measures were observed. For WFC (ICC = .62 and .77; p = .00); FWC (ICC = .64 and
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50 .78; p = .00); supervisor incivility (ICC = .78 and .93; p = .00); coworker incivility (ICC = .51
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52 and .81; p = .00); psychological distress (ICC = .59 and .85; p = .00). These results indicate
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54 that it was appropriate to analyze the data, because it appears that the effects observed in
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the present study are attributable to employee’s perceptions and not necessarily unit
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57 supervisor’s or coworker’s behaviors in the hospital. The results presented in table 3
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confirmed that WFC (β = .10, ρ < .05), FWC (β = .09, ρ < .05), Coworker incivility (β = .22, ρ
5 < .001) and supervisor incivility (β = .22, ρ < .05) explains R2 (psychological distress) = 56% of the
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7 variance. This provides empirical support to hypothesis 1, 2, 3 and 4.
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TABLE 3 Maximum likelihood estimates
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16 Exogenous variable Endogenous variable βeta β (t) Confidence interval p
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19 Work-Family Conflict-> Psychological Distress .111 .100(2.21) (.011 to .195) .027**
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Family-Work Conflict .078 .090(1.99) (-.004 to .185) .046**
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22 Co-worker Incivility .172 .222(4.89) (.127 to .315) ***

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Supervisor Incivility .074 .112 (2.47) (.021 to .201) .014**
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26 Notes: *Significant at the p < 0.1 level;**Significant at the p < 0.05 level; ***significant at the p < 0.001 level. (Two-tailed)
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30 ANN multi-layer perceptron utilizing Resilient Backpropagation with Weight


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32 Backtracking algorithm provided in R (neuralnet package) was employed for the purpose
33 of this study. Logistic function is used as the activation function for both hidden and output
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35 layer of the ANN model and sum squared errors (sse) was used as differentiable error
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37 function. The number of hidden nodes generated was (4, 2). First, a generalized linear
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39 model (GLM) function was employed to check the model predictive accuracy. Using
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41 prediction function in neuralnet GLM predicted a Root Mean Square of Error (RMSE) that is
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equals to 0.614, neural network predicted the model better with an RMSE of 0.029. The
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44 synaptic weights of the input nodes on the hidden and output nodes are shown in Figure 2.
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Figure 2: Neural network model
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The training process needed 4764 steps until all absolute partial derivatives of the
5 error function were smaller than 0.01. The estimated weights shows that WFC, FWC,
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7 supervisor and coworker incivility have a significant non-linear effects on psychological
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9 distress corroborating the findings in SEM. The generalized weights are given for all
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11 covariates within the same range. The distribution of the generalized weights in Figure 3, 4,
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5, and 6 suggests that WFC, FWC, supervisor and coworker incivility have a nonlinear
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35 Figure 3: WFC and psychological distress
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Figure 4: WFC and psychological distress


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41 Figure 6: Supervisor incivility and psychological distress
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44 To bypass the problem of potential bias as a result of model over-fitting, a 10-fold
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46 cross-validation test was carried with a ratio of 75:25 data for training and testing. RMSE
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48 from ten networks was used to examine the accuracy of the model. The RMSEs are
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50 presented in Table 4, overall the results shows that model predictions are is reliable.
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Table 4: Neural network - RMSEs
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6 Neural network Training Testing
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1 0.020 0.025
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13 4 0.025 0.017
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17 7 0.030 0.015
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18 8 0.029 0.011
19 9 0.016 0.024
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10 0.022 0.021
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Mean RMSE 0.023 0.021
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24 Notes: Input nodes – WFC, FWC, supervisor and coworker incivility; Output nodes – psychological distress
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Implications
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31 Previous incivility and workplace mistreatment studies have focused more on
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employees’ psychological outcomes, such as stress and emotional exhaustion (e.g., Lim et
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34 al., 2008; Lim & Lee, 2011). It has been consistently shown that incivility and social
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36 mistreatment can have unwanted effects on employees’ work experiences and outcomes,
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38 but their combined effects were ignored. Likewise, the majority of WFC and FWC
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40 researches have focused on the negative effects on employee’s well-being e.g., life
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satisfaction, burnout, job satisfaction. To date no study has tested their joint effects.
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45 The present findings are theoretically and practically important, because the study
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47 has provided a more nuanced understanding of the relationships between WFC, FWC,
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49 supervisor incivility, coworker incivility and psychological distress. The current findings
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51 showed that WFC and FWC manifested psychological distress among health workers,
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providing support to H1 and H2. This is in line with past studies (Peeters et al., 2013;
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54 Turner et al., 2014), which is now validated in West Africa, precisely Nigeria. Supervisor
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incivility and coworker incivility manifested psychological distress, providing support to
5 H3 and H4, in line with previous mistreatment studies (Kobayashi et al., 2008).
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9 The findings suggest that resource depletion, as a result of WFC, FWC and incivility
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11 from multiple sources, can affect an employee’s psychological well-being. Thus, resource
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depletion can have a true cost for an organization. Therefore, policy makers are encourage
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14 to show a zero-tolerance policy for incivility, punishing incivility and teaching civil
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16 workplace conduct as a starting point (Pearson, & Porath, 2005). WFC, FWC, supervisor
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18 and coworker incivility might pose a danger to a health worker, which indirectly affects
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20 his/her ability to work efficiently; in addition psychological distress might reduce attention
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to patients, resulting in harmful errors in treatment. Ensuring a high-quality relationship
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23 between supervisors, and subordinates, buffered the effects of WFC on employee
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25 exhaustion (Bakker, Demerouti, & Euwema, 2005). It would not be wrong to say that the
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27 absence of supervisor and coworker incivility in the workplace might take off the pressure
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29 of WFC and/or FWC, which might increase the workers focus on their job.
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Health organizations might reduce psychological distress resulting from WFC and
33
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34 FWC, by implementing programs that allow employees to better meet family demands e.g.
35
36 on-site day care facilities, flexible time arrangements, and provide more autonomy (Turner
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38 et al., 2014). Policy makers are mostly reluctant in adopting such programs, primarily due
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40 to cost, and the belief that such programs may reduce productivity. But that’s not true,
41
because research has shown that work-life programs positively relates with productivity,
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43 and the costs associated with such programs can be covered by the increased productivity
44
45 (De Sivatte, Gordon, Rojo, & Olmos, 2015). According to Lo (2003), implementing work-life
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47 friendly policies is a win-win situation for both employers and employees. In the medical
48
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49 context, such programs could enhance attention to patients, and reduce the number of
50
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medical errors, although our data did not measure this, but it could be a viable research
52
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avenue.
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56 Occasional disappointments at work, and in life, as well as uncivil behaviors are


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58 virtually unavoidable. Nevertheless, health organization administrators and policy makers
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should foster employees’ positive psychology by implementing programs to strengthen it
5 (Jung & Yoon, 2015). Special humorous lectures and operating counseling rooms will
6
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7 encourage employees to regard their job from a positive and hopeful perspective (Jung &
8
9 Yoon, 2015). Such programs can be set up to boost the psychological wellbeing of health
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11 workers, as it is anticipated that they would overcome a lot of different challenges.
12
13
lo
14 Nonetheless the results should be interpreted in light of the study’s inherent
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16 limitations. First, the self-report nature of the data is potentially limiting in that social
17
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18 desirability bias. Second, non-experimental nature of the study design, the absence of a
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20 second study to provide confirmatory support to the current findings. Third, the findings
21
may not be generalizable to other national settings with more effective resource, as well as
an
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23 regulatory systems that may limit incivility and/or promote work/family balance. Finally,
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25 this study’s adherence to methodologies established by other scholars, increased our
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27 confidence in its results (i.e., the use of well-established methods like temporal separation,
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29 confidentiality, and one factor test). Future studies can extend the model by adding work
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31 overload and customer incivility as regressors, employee cynicism as mediator, sabotage
32
and absenteeism as explanatory variables. Finally, more studies from West Africa region is
33
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34 needed to provide a coherent reference framework.


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