Karl Aquino


Relevant Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2021)
Sisters at Arms: Female Same-Sex Conflict at Work (2014)

I propose and test portions of a two-stage model that investigates the pervasive belief that women have more dysfunctional same-sex workplace relationships than men. In the first stage of this model, I assume that female same-sex conflict transpires more frequently than male same-sex conflict and make a series of propositions about why this might be the case. For example, I propose that perhaps women react worse than men to non-communal women in workplace contexts, which then sets the stage for enhanced conflict. In the second stage, I set aside consideration of gender differences in same-sex conflict frequency and discuss why female same-sex conflict might simply be problematized by third parties relative to male same-sex conflict. I conducted five studies to determine which of these two explanations best accounts for the belief that women have more dysfunctional same-sex workplace relationships than men. In Chapter 1, I present the entirety of the model, and associated propositions, that I have developed as the basis for my dissertation and future research. In Chapter 2, I present the results of two scenario studies, which, taken together suggest that third parties view female same-sex conflict as more person-related (e.g., caused by interpersonal disliking) (Study 1) and more disruptive to relationship quality and work-related attitudes (Study 2) than male same-sex conflict. In Chapter 3, I turn to first parties’ perceptions in order to test the first stage of my model. Study 3 provides support for my proposition that women react worse than men to non-communal women, and that this leads to greater collective threat. Study 4, however, demonstrated that men and women did not experience different frequencies of same-sex conflict, nor did their same-sex conflict differ in meaningful ways. Finally, Study 5 demonstrated that individuals did not generally report more or less negative outcomes of workplace conflict as a function of their gender and the gender of their co-party in conflict. Overall, the results of my dissertation are more suggestive of a generalized problematization of female same-sex workplace conflict (relative to male same-sex conflict) than they are of a generalized dysfunction within women’s same-sex workplace relationships.

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Third Party Reactions to Justice Failure: An Empirical Test (2014)

I propose a model that explores the consequences of justice failure. I conceptualize justice failure as a threat to meaning and propose that one way third party observers could react to justice failure is by engaging in fluid compensation. I also propose that identity influences individuals’ reaction to justice failure such that for individuals high in moral identity, compensation is more likely to occur in the moral domain than in other domains. Finally, as a result of affirming the moral domain, individuals high in moral identity are more likely to (a) engage in more ethical behavior (b) judge morally ambiguous behaviors as more immoral and (c) more supportive of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs than individuals low in moral identity. Five experiments were conducted to partially test this model. In Chapter 1, I present an experiment demonstrating that not everyone is equally threatened by justice failure; rather, those who strongly endorse belief in just world are more threatened by justice failure than those who endorse such belief less strongly (Experiment 1). In Chapter 2, I present two experiments demonstrating the effect of moral identity on third parties’ reaction to justice failure (Experiments 2a, 2b, and 3). In Chapter 3, I present two additional experiments demonstrating that exposure to justice failure led third parties to 1) purchase more green products 2) support a fellow university student for a job promotion if they were high in environmental (Experiment 4) and university identity (Experiment 5). Finally, in Chapter 5, I discuss the implications of my theory and findings for research on third party justice and meaning maintenance.

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Third parties' morally-motivated responses to mistreatment in organizations (2013)

Why do third parties, individuals who are not the direct target of an act of mistreatment, attempt to either punish the perpetrator or help the victim? Starting with the basic proposition that third parties intervene when they perceive an act of mistreatment as morally wrong and that intervening is the morally right thing to do, I construct a model of third parties’ morally-motivated responses to others’ mistreatment. I draw from theories of deontic justice, moral intuitions, moral identity and moral emotions to explain why some third parties will be motivated to respond while others will not. I incorporate third party power, in the form of personal resources and hierarchical position, to provide a more nuanced explanation of how third parties will respond once motivated to do so in an actual workplace setting. In Studies 1 to 3, I test the basic propositions of my model. Study 1 finds that moral anger mediates the relationship between third parties’ moral identity and injustice cognitions. Study 2 finds that moral anger mediates the relationship between third parties’ moral identity and punishment. Study 3 finds that resource power is associated with helping the victim and indirect punishment and that relative position power is associated with direct and indirect punishment. In Studies 4 to 6, I extend my research to consider whether third parties react differently depending on the type of justice violation. I test the proposition that third parties’ moral reactions are stronger in response to interpersonal injustice than the other types of injustice commonly studied in the organizational sciences. I find evidence for the stronger impact of interpersonal injustice in comparison to distributive injustice (Studies 4 and 5) and procedural injustice (Study 6). I conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of this dissertation.

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