Supervisors' emotional exhaustion and abusive supervision: The moderating roles of perceived subordinate performance and supervisor self-monitoring

Catherine K. Lam*, Frank Walter, Xu HUANG

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    74 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Drawing from conservation of resources theory, this study aims to create new knowledge on the antecedents of abusive supervision. Results across 2 independent field studies within a manufacturing context (Study 1) and a customer service context (Study 2) consistently demonstrated a 3-way interaction pattern, such that supervisors' experiences of emotional exhaustion, perceived subordinate performance, and self-monitoring were jointly associated with subordinates' abusive supervision perceptions. A supplementary scenario experiment further corroborated this pattern. Together, the present studies illustrate a contingency model of abusive supervision's origins, highlighting emotional exhaustion as an important risk factor that is particularly likely to trigger abusive behavior among supervisors with lower (rather than higher) self-monitoring who are faced with a relatively underperforming subordinate. As such, this research advances the abusive supervision literature by offering new insights into the complex resource conservation processes that may give rise to subordinates' abuse perceptions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1151-1166
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
    Volume38
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Applied Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Psychology(all)
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • abusive supervision
    • emotional exhaustion
    • self-monitoring

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