Understanding Emotional Exhaustion In the Workplace

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We’ve all experienced that occasional afternoon slump at the office. But when workplace emotional exhaustion accumulates on a daily basis, it can seriously impact job performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and job satisfaction.

In their article “A Head Start or a Step Behind? Understanding How Dispositional and Motivational Resources Influence Emotional Exhaustion,” published this week in the Journal of Management, John D. Kammeyer-Mueller of the University of Florida, Lauren S. Simon of Portland State University, and Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame find that individual personality and motivation have much to do with our level of exhaustion when we start the workday versus when we clock out:

JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWAlthough it may seem unlikely for employees to leave work feeling less emotionally exhausted than when they arrived, some researchers (Sonnentag, 2005: 273) have suggested that “mentally distancing oneself from the job requirements during work might appear as a promising ‘escape’ route for mentally exhausted employees” who cannot psychologically detach themselves from work during off-hours. This suggests that temporarily “taking it easy” at work may at least reduce the rate at which resource deficits accumulate. Yet some individuals may be more willing to employ this resource regulation tactic than others.

Click here to read more, and find related research in the Journal of Management’s special collection on Work Stress and Health.

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