The impact of dispositional cynicism on job‐specific affect and work intentions

Taylor Peyton Roberts, Drea Zigarmi
Published Online:
13 Mar 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 49 Issue 5

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Working from the Employee Work Passion Appraisal (EWPA) model, this article examines the relationship between employee dispositional cynicism, job‐specific affect (i.e. positive and negative) and work intentions including intent to use discretionary effort, intent to perform, intent to endorse, intent to stay and intent to be an organisational citizen. An online survey generated participation from 747 current and potential clients of an international consulting company. To evaluate the fit of the data in accordance with the EWPA framework, structural equation modeling was conducted to test the overall fit of the proposed model and to examine the hypothesised relationships between constructs. Analyses confirmed correlations between dispositional cynicism and job‐specific affect, supported notable relationships between positive job‐specific affect and all work intentions, provided evidence for job‐specific affect's mediation of cynicism and work intentions and uncovered a direct negative relationship between cynicism and intent to use organisational citizenship behaviour. Results suggest that state‐specific workplace emotions are important for understanding the degree to which employee dispositional cynicism will ultimately influence most performance‐related work intentions. However, independent of affect, employee cynicism may directly result in somewhat lower intentions to help others at work. Study limitations and practical implications for employee selection and training are considered.

© 2014 International Union of Psychological Science