IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jijerp/v17y2020i3p976-d316500.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ethical Leadership as the Reliever of Frontline Service Employees’ Emotional Exhaustion: A Moderated Mediation Model

Author

Listed:
  • Hao Zhou

    (Business School, Sichuan University, 29 Wangjiang Road, Chengdu 610064, China)

  • Xinyi Sheng

    (Business School, Sichuan University, 29 Wangjiang Road, Chengdu 610064, China)

  • Yulin He

    (Business School, Sichuan University, 29 Wangjiang Road, Chengdu 610064, China)

  • Xiaoye Qian

    (Business School, Sichuan University, 29 Wangjiang Road, Chengdu 610064, China)

Abstract

Based on the conservation of resources theory, this study aims to create new knowledge on the antecedents of emotional exhaustion. We explore the internal mechanism and boundary conditions of the impact of ethical leadership on emotional exhaustion, using data gathered from 460 frontline service employees at an airport in China. Employees completed questionnaires regarding ethical leadership, emotional exhaustion, organizational embeddedness, job satisfaction, and demographic variables. After controlling for the effects of demographic variables and company tenure, ethical leadership was found to have a negative impact on emotional exhaustion (β = −0.128, p < 0.01), and to be positively related to organizational embeddedness (β = 0.518, p < 0.01). After adding in the mediating variable (organizational embeddedness), the effect of ethical leadership on emotional exhaustion was no longer significant (β = 0.012, ns), while organizational embeddedness emerged as significantly related to emotional exhaustion (β = −0.269, p < 0.01), implying that the effect of ethical leadership on emotional exhaustion was completely mediated by organizational embeddedness. Simultaneously, the results suggested that job satisfaction could strengthen the mediating effect of organizational embeddedness on emotional exhaustion (the difference in the mediating effect between the groups with respective high and low job satisfaction was −0.096, p < 0.05). This study proposed and validated a moderated mediation model, the implications of which are that ethical leadership is an effective way to alleviate frontline service employees’ emotional exhaustion.

Suggested Citation

  • Hao Zhou & Xinyi Sheng & Yulin He & Xiaoye Qian, 2020. "Ethical Leadership as the Reliever of Frontline Service Employees’ Emotional Exhaustion: A Moderated Mediation Model," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(3), pages 1-13, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jijerp:v:17:y:2020:i:3:p:976-:d:316500
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/3/976/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/3/976/
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Yi Tu & Xin Lu, 2013. "Erratum to: How Ethical Leadership Influence Employees’ Innovative Work Behavior: A Perspective of Intrinsic Motivation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 457-457, August.
    3. Jean-Pierre Neveu & Stevan E. Hobfoll & Jonathon Halbesleben & M Westman, 2018. "Conservation of resources in the organizational context : the reality of resources and their consequences," Post-Print hal-02472360, HAL.
    4. Monica Sharif & Terri Scandura, 2014. "Do Perceptions of Ethical Conduct Matter During Organizational Change? Ethical Leadership and Employee Involvement," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 124(2), pages 185-196, October.
    5. Shenjiang Mo & Junqi Shi, 2017. "Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Burnout, Workplace Deviance and Performance: Testing the Mediating Roles of Trust in Leader and Surface Acting," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 144(2), pages 293-303, August.
    6. Dennis J. Marquardt & Lee Warren Brown & Wendy J. Casper, 2018. "Ethical Leadership Perceptions: Does It Matter If You’re Black or White?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 599-612, September.
    7. Aamir Chughtai & Marann Byrne & Barbara Flood, 2015. "Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Well-Being: The Role of Trust in Supervisor," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 653-663, May.
    8. Ozgur Demirtas & A. Akdogan, 2015. "The Effect of Ethical Leadership Behavior on Ethical Climate, Turnover Intention, and Affective Commitment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 59-67, August.
    9. Brown, Michael E. & Trevino, Linda K. & Harrison, David A., 2005. "Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 117-134, July.
    10. Yidong Tu & Xinxin Lu & Yue Yu, 2017. "Supervisors’ Ethical Leadership and Employee Job Satisfaction: A Social Cognitive Perspective," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 229-245, February.
    11. K. Kacmar & Martha Andrews & Kenneth Harris & Bennett Tepper, 2013. "Ethical Leadership and Subordinate Outcomes: The Mediating Role of Organizational Politics and the Moderating Role of Political Skill," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 33-44, June.
    12. Rupp, Deborah E. & Cropanzano, Russell, 2002. "The mediating effects of social exchange relationships in predicting workplace outcomes from multifoci organizational justice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 925-946, September.
    13. Brown, Michael E. & Mitchell, Marie S., 2010. "Ethical and Unethical Leadership: Exploring New Avenues for Future Research," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 583-616, October.
    14. Matthew J. Quade & Sara J. Perry & Emily M. Hunter, 2019. "Boundary Conditions of Ethical Leadership: Exploring Supervisor-Induced and Job Hindrance Stress as Potential Inhibitors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 158(4), pages 1165-1184, September.
    15. Huiwen Li & Beibei Yuan & Qingyue Meng & Ichiro Kawachi, 2019. "Contextual Factors Associated with Burnout among Chinese Primary Care Providers: A Multilevel Analysis," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 16(19), pages 1-12, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Tajneen Affnaan Saleh & Abdullah Sarwar & Md. Amirul Islam & Muhammad Mohiuddin & Zhan Su, 2022. "Effects of Leader Conscientiousness and Ethical Leadership on Employee Turnover Intention: The Mediating Role of Individual Ethical Climate and Emotional Exhaustion," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(15), pages 1-17, July.
    2. Sang-Hoon Lee & Won-Moo Hur & Yuhyung Shin, 2023. "Struggling to Stay Engaged During Adversity: A Daily Investigation of Frontline Service Employees’ Job Insecurity and the Moderating Role of Ethical Leader Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 184(1), pages 281-295, April.
    3. Hyewon Lee & Saemi An & Ga Young Lim & Young Woo Sohn, 2021. "Ethical Leadership and Followers’ Emotional Exhaustion: Exploring the Roles of Three Types of Emotional Labor toward Leaders in South Korea," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(20), pages 1-13, October.
    4. Xiao Han & Mengxiao Xue & Qi Zhang & Xiaotian Dong, 2022. "Impact of COVID-19 Risk Perception on Emotional Exhaustion among Chinese Hospitality Employees: The Mediating Effect of Job Insecurity," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(22), pages 1-14, November.
    5. Sajjad Ahmad Afridi & Asad Javed & Sania Zaheer Ali & Sheeba Zafar & Maqsood Haider, 2023. "Cultivating Sustainability: The Role of Generative Leadership, Green Passion, and Green Work Behavior in Pakistan’s Tourism Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(19), pages 1-18, September.
    6. Xiaoye Qian & Meijuan Zhang & Qiang Jiang, 2020. "Leader Humility, and Subordinates’ Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Withdrawal Behavior: Exploring the Mediating Mechanisms of Subordinates’ Psychological Capital," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(7), pages 1-14, April.
    7. Song Liu & Hao Zhou, 2020. "The Role of Sense of Power in Alleviating Emotional Exhaustion in Frontline Managers: A Dual Mediation Model," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(7), pages 1-16, March.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tran Quang Bao Phuc & Khalida Parveen & Duyen Thi Truc Tran & Dao Thi Anh Nguyen, 2021. "The linkage between ethical leadership and lecturer job satisfaction at a private higher education institution in Vietnam," Journal of Social Sciences Advancement, Science Impact Publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 39-50.
    2. Ahmed Mohammed Sayed Mostafa & Sam Farley & Monica Zaharie, 2021. "Examining the Boundaries of Ethical Leadership: The Harmful Effect of Co-worker Social Undermining on Disengagement and Employee Attitudes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 174(2), pages 355-368, November.
    3. Matthew J. Quade & Sara J. Perry & Emily M. Hunter, 2019. "Boundary Conditions of Ethical Leadership: Exploring Supervisor-Induced and Job Hindrance Stress as Potential Inhibitors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 158(4), pages 1165-1184, September.
    4. Yushan Wu & Qinghua Fu & Sher Akbar & Sarminah Samad & Ubaldo Comite & Mirela Bucurean & Alina Badulescu, 2022. "Reducing Healthcare Employees’ Burnout through Ethical Leadership: The Role of Altruism and Motivation," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(20), pages 1-17, October.
    5. Misbah Hayat Bhatti & Umair Akram & Muhammad Hasnat Bhatti & Hassan Rasool & Xin Su, 2020. "Unraveling the Effects of Ethical Leadership on Knowledge Sharing: The Mediating Roles of Subjective Well-Being and Social Media in the Hotel Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(20), pages 1-20, October.
    6. S. Hansen & Bradley Alge & Michael Brown & Christine Jackson & Benjamin Dunford, 2013. "Ethical Leadership: Assessing the Value of a Multifoci Social Exchange Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 435-449, July.
    7. Yidong Tu & Xinxin Lu & Yue Yu, 2017. "Supervisors’ Ethical Leadership and Employee Job Satisfaction: A Social Cognitive Perspective," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 229-245, February.
    8. Muel Kaptein, 2019. "The Moral Entrepreneur: A New Component of Ethical Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 156(4), pages 1135-1150, June.
    9. Angela J. Xu & Raymond Loi & Hang-yue Ngo, 2016. "Ethical Leadership Behavior and Employee Justice Perceptions: The Mediating Role of Trust in Organization," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 493-504, March.
    10. Wei Su & Juhee Hahn, 2021. "Improving Millennial Employees’ OCB: A Multilevel Mediated and Moderated Model of Ethical Leadership," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(15), pages 1-17, July.
    11. Wei Xuecheng & Qaisar Iqbal, 2022. "Ethical Leadership, Bricolage, and Eco-Innovation in the Chinese Manufacturing Industry: A Multi-Theory Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(12), pages 1-15, June.
    12. Sean R. Martin & Kyle J. Emich & Elizabeth J. McClean & Col. Todd Woodruff, 2022. "Keeping Teams Together: How Ethical Leadership Moderates the Effects of Performance on Team Efficacy and Social Integration," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 176(1), pages 127-139, February.
    13. Rita Paralta & Eduardo Simões & Ana Patrícia Duarte, 2023. "Subjective Well-Being in Organizations: Effects of Internal Ethical Context and Ethical Leadership," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(5), pages 1-17, March.
    14. Xiu Jin & Chenglin Qing & Shanyue Jin, 2022. "Ethical Leadership and Innovative Behavior: Mediating Role of Voice Behavior and Moderated Mediation Role of Psychological Safety," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(9), pages 1-24, April.
    15. Agarwal, Upasna A & Gupta, Megha & Cooke, Fang Lee, 2022. "Knowledge hide and seek: Role of ethical leadership, self-enhancement and job-involvement," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 770-781.
    16. Jin Cheng & Haiqing Bai & Xijuan Yang, 2019. "Ethical Leadership and Internal Whistleblowing: A Mediated Moderation Model," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 155(1), pages 115-130, March.
    17. Jesse T. Vullinghs & Annebel H. B. Hoogh & Deanne N. Den Hartog & Corine Boon, 2020. "Ethical and Passive Leadership and Their Joint Relationships with Burnout via Role Clarity and Role Overload," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 165(4), pages 719-733, September.
    18. Dennis J. Marquardt & Wendy J. Casper & Maribeth Kuenzi, 2021. "Leader Goal Orientation and Ethical Leadership: A Socio-Cognitive Approach of the Impact of Leader Goal-Oriented Behavior on Employee Unethical Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 545-561, September.
    19. Jie Feng & Yucheng Zhang & Xinmei Liu & Long Zhang & Xiao Han, 2018. "Just the Right Amount of Ethics Inspires Creativity: A Cross-Level Investigation of Ethical Leadership, Intrinsic Motivation, and Employee Creativity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 645-658, December.
    20. Jue Wang & Hae-Ryong Kim & Byung-Jik Kim, 2021. "From Ethical Leadership to Team Creativity: The Mediating Role of Shared Leadership and the Moderating Effect of Leader–Member Exchange Differentiation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(20), pages 1-19, October.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jijerp:v:17:y:2020:i:3:p:976-:d:316500. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: MDPI Indexing Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.mdpi.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.