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Organizational Justice and Individuals' Withdrawal: Unlocking the Influence of Emotional Exhaustion


  • Michael S. Cole
  • Jeremy B. Bernerth
  • Frank Walter
  • Daniel T. Holt


This study examined the relationships between organizational justice and withdrawal outcomes and whether emotional exhaustion was a mediator of these linkages. Data were obtained from 869 military personnel and civil servants; using structural equation modelling techniques, we examined an integrative model that combines justice and stress research. Our findings suggest that individuals' justice perceptions are related to their psychological health. As predicted, emotional exhaustion mediated the linkages between distributive and interpersonal (but not procedural and informational) justice and individuals' withdrawal reactions. Results showed that distributive and interpersonal justice negatively related to emotional exhaustion and emotional exhaustion negatively related to organizational commitment which, in turn, negatively influenced turnover intentions. These findings were observed even when controlling for the presence of contingent-reward behaviours provided by supervisors and individuals' psychological empowerment. Copyright (c) 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael S. Cole & Jeremy B. Bernerth & Frank Walter & Daniel T. Holt, 2010. "Organizational Justice and Individuals' Withdrawal: Unlocking the Influence of Emotional Exhaustion," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 367-390, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:47:y:2010:i:3:p:367-390

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Deery, 2002. "Work Relationships in Telephone Call Centres: Understanding Emotional Exhaustion and Employee Withdrawal," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 471-496, June.
    2. Elfenbein, Hillary Anger, 2007. "Emotion in Organizations: A Review in Stages," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2bn0n9mv, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ghosh, Debjani & Sekiguchi, Tomoki & Gurunathan, L., 2017. "Organizational embeddedness as a mediator between justice and in-role performance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 130-137.
    2. Benzarour, Choukri, 2016. "الإدارة العامة: كيف يمكن الإفلات من لعنة أمراضها؟
      [Public Administration diseases: How can we escape from its curse?]
      ," MPRA Paper 75008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Breugst, Nicola & Patzelt, Holger & Rathgeber, Philipp, 2015. "How should we divide the pie? Equity distribution and its impact on entrepreneurial teams," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 66-94.
    4. Benzarour, Choukri, 2016. "لإدارة العامة: بعض الأمراض المستعصية و طرق مواجهته
      [Public Administration: some incurable diseases and ways to deal with them]
      ," MPRA Paper 80229, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Rabia Imran & Kamaal Allil, 2016. "The Impact of Organizational Justice on Employee Retention: Evidence from Oman," International Review of Management and Marketing, Econjournals, vol. 6(2), pages 246-249.
    6. Catherine Lam & Frank Walter & Kan Ouyang, 2014. "Display rule perceptions and job performance in a Chinese retail firm: The moderating role of employees’ affect at work," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 575-597, June.
    7. Yuntao Bai & Peter Li & Youmin Xi, 2012. "The distinctive effects of dual-level leadership behaviors on employees’ trust in leadership: An empirical study from China," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 213-237, June.
    8. Hongwei He & Weichun Zhu & Xiaoming Zheng, 2014. "Procedural Justice and Employee Engagement: Roles of Organizational Identification and Moral Identity Centrality," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 122(4), pages 681-695, July.
    9. Ali BAYRAM & Gokben BAYRAMOGLU, 2014. "The Effect of Human Resource Practices on Burn-Out and the Mediating Role of Perceived Organizational Justice," International Conference on Economic Sciences and Business Administration, Spiru Haret University, vol. 1(1), pages 37-45, December.

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