The interactive effects of abusive supervision and entitlement on emotional exhaustion and co-worker abuse
Article first published online: 26 AUG 2013
© 2013 The British Psychological Society
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume 86, Issue 4, pages 477–496, December 2013
How to Cite
Wheeler, A. R., Halbesleben, J. R. B. and Whitman, M. V. (2013), The interactive effects of abusive supervision and entitlement on emotional exhaustion and co-worker abuse. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86: 477–496. doi: 10.1111/joop.12034
- Issue published online: 3 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 26 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 30 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 5 APR 2012
- psychological entitlement;
- abusive supervision;
- emotional exhaustion
In this study, we examine the relationship between employee perceptions of supervisor abuse, emotional exhaustion, psychological entitlement, and subsequent co-worker abuse. We hypothesize that higher levels of employee psychological entitlement moderate the abusive supervisor – emotional exhaustion relationship – and this interaction mediates the abusive supervision – co-worker abuse relationship. Using multilevel-moderated mediation analysis to analyse day-level survey data from a lagged panel design across five working days from 132 working adults and their co-workers across multiple industries, we found support for our hypothesized model. We discuss implications for theory, future research, and management practice that result from our study.
- Psychologically entitled employees who perceive more abusive supervision are more emotionally exhausted and more likely to abuse their co-workers; therefore, organizations need to identify patterns indicative of these types of employees.
- Stressed environments likely exacerbate these relationships, and organizations might consider regular workforce surveys assessing employee emotional exhaustion, which is a trigger for harmful employee work behaviours.