Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Management (Business Administration)

First Advisor

Arthur G. Bedeian


The purpose of this dissertation was to develop a conceptual scheme that advances understanding of workplace whining. It reports an investigation into eight theoretically relevant antecedents to workplace whining, classified into four categories (i.e., dispositional, attitudinal, relational, behavioral). Additionally, it explores the role of organization-based self-esteem in mediating the link between each antecedent and workplace whining. Kowalski's (1996) theory of complaining and self-esteem theory (Coopersmith, 1967, Epstein, 1973; Jones, 1973; Leary & Downs, 1995, Mruk, 1995; Pierce et al., 1989) provided the primary theoretical underpinnings for a series of hypothesized relationships. Data on 471 schoolteachers and their immediate supervisors from 25 elementary, middle, and high schools generally support the proposed conceptual scheme, indicating that when individuals detect discrepancies between their ideal states and their perceived actual states they become dissatisfied, which in turn results in a reduction in current levels of organization-based self-esteem. This deflation of self-esteem then motivates individuals to whine in an effort to distance themselves from negative and dissatisfying states or outcomes. Furthermore, results support full mediation between workplace whining and seven of the eight specified antecedents. That is, the effects of negative affectivity, overall job satisfaction, facet satisfaction, affective commitment, procedural justice, distributive justice, and leader-member exchange with workplace whining were fully mediated through organization-based self-esteem. The relationship between the eighth antecedent (i.e., job performance) and workplace whining was partially mediated by organization-based self-esteem, indicating job performance significantly influenced workplace whining directly, as well as indirectly.