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

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1166
Journal / PublicationJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number8
Online published11 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


Drawing from conservation of resources theory, this study aims to create new knowledge on theantecedents of abusive supervision. Results across 2 independent field studies within amanufacturing context (Study 1) and a customer service context (Study 2) consistently demon-strated a 3‐way interaction pattern, such that supervisors' experiences of emotional exhaustion,perceived subordinate performance, and self‐monitoring were jointly associated with subordi-nates' abusive supervision perceptions. A supplementary scenario experiment further corrobo-rated this pattern. Together, the present studies illustrate a contingency model of abusivesupervision's origins, highlighting emotional exhaustion as an important risk factor that is partic-ularly 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 researchadvances the abusive supervision literature by offering new insights into the complex resourceconservation processes that may give rise to subordinates' abuse perceptions.

Research Area(s)

  • abusive supervision, emotional exhaustion, self-monitoring

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