(How) are Emotionally Exhausted Employees Harmful?
International Journal of Stress Management 2012, Vol. 19, No. 3, 198–216
19 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014
Date Written: July 9, 2012
Previous research has not considered potential mediating mechanisms (e.g., employee attitudes) through which emotional exhaustion influences counterproductive work behaviors (CWB) targeted at individual stakeholders (CWB-I) and the organization (CWB-O). Drawing upon the stressor-emotion model of CWB and social exchange theory, we examine organizational commitment as a mediator between emotional exhaustion and CWB. One hundred and 13 general employees in a large, South Korean banking company, completed surveys along with their supervisors. Results show that organizational commitment fully mediates the relation between emotional exhaustion and both CWB-I and CWB-O; the 95% confidence intervals for the indirect effect through organizational commitment do not include zero for both CWB-I (.02, .21) and CWB-O (.01, .22). These empirical findings indicate that emotional exhaustion leads to CWB through a decline in the commitment of an employee, which consequently makes the occurrence of CWB more likely. We discuss the implications for the function of organizational commitment in the stressor-emotion model of CWB and implications for reducing stress in the workplace.
Keywords: Emotional exhaustion, counterproductive work behavior, organizational commitment, stressor-emotion model, social exchange theory
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation