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Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology






Individuals often attend meetings at work to which at least one person arrives late. Building from attributional theories of interpersonal behaviour, we conducted an experiment to determine the cognitive, affective, and behavioural components of people's reactions to meeting lateness. Participants read one of eight experimental vignettes that described someone arriving 5 or 15 min late to an important or unimportant meeting, after which the person who arrived late offered either a controllable or an uncontrollable reason for being late. Participants reported greater anger and a willingness to punish the late arrival who gave a controllable excuse, whereas sympathy and prosocial intentions followed the late arrival who gave an uncontrollable excuse. To establish generalizability, we replicated the results using a survey of workers who reported on their thoughts and experiences in their last meeting to which someone arrived late. Overall, our findings also indicated that accounting for the severity of the transgression uniquely contributed to emotional and behaviour reactions, which is an improvement on existing attributional models.


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Funded by the University of Nebraska at Omaha Open Access Fund