Publication Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Territoriality represents a new area of exploration in organizations. In this study we examine that happens when individuals at work experience infringement of their territories. specifically, we develop a theory of infringement that explores how individuals react when others use, claim or take that which they perceive to belong solely to them, be it a physical object, space, ideas, or even relationships at work. By content analyzing open ended survey questions from 133 employees, we examined reactions to territorial infringement and factors that influence these reactions. We found that the degree of psychological ownership, and type of infringement impacted the strength of the reaction. Moreover, the intensity of elicited negative emotions mediated the relationship between psychological ownership and strength of reaction, and that attributions regarding the intentionality of the infringement moderated this relationship. We discuss these findings and suggest several directions for future research in this emerging area.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Human Resources Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources