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The Impact of Moral Stress Compared to Other Stressors on Employee Fatigue, Job Satisfaction, and Turnover: An Empirical Investigation

Listed author(s):
  • Kristen DeTienne


  • Bradley Agle


  • James Phillips


  • Marc-Charles Ingerson


Registered author(s):

    Moral stress is an increasingly significant concept in business ethics and the workplace environment. This study compares the impact of moral stress with other job stressors on three important employee variables—fatigue, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions—by utilizing survey data from 305 customer-contact employees of a financial institution’s call center. Statistical analysis on the interaction of moral stress and the three employee variables was performed while controlling for other types of job stress as well as demographic variables. The results reveal that even after including the control variables in the statistical models, moral stress remains a statistically significant predictor of increased employee fatigue, decreased job satisfaction, and increased turnover intentions. Implications for future research and for organizations are discussed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (October)
    Pages: 377-391

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:3:p:377-391
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1197-y
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    1. Boles, James S. & Babin, Barry J., 1996. "On the front lines: Stress, conflict, and the customer service provider," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 41-50, September.
    2. Kathie Pelletier & Michelle Bligh, 2008. "The Aftermath of Organizational Corruption: Employee Attributions and Emotional Reactions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 80(4), pages 823-844, July.
    3. Ulrich, Connie & O'Donnell, Patricia & Taylor, Carol & Farrar, Adrienne & Danis, Marion & Grady, Christine, 2007. "Ethical climate, ethics stress, and the job satisfaction of nurses and social workers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(8), pages 1708-1719, October.
    4. David Coldwell & Jon Billsberry & Nathalie Meurs & Philip Marsh, 2008. "The Effects of Person–Organization Ethical Fit on Employee Attraction and Retention: Towards a Testable Explanatory Model," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(4), pages 611-622, April.
    5. Linda Thorne, 2010. "The Association Between Ethical Conflict and Adverse Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 269-276, March.
    6. Jay Mulki & Jorge Jaramillo & William Locander, 2008. "Effect of Ethical Climate on Turnover Intention: Linking Attitudinal- and Stress Theory," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(4), pages 559-574, April.
    7. Ross, William T. & Robertson, Diana C., 2000. "Lying: The Impact of Decision Context," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 409-440, April.
    8. Craig VanSandt & Jon Shepard & Stephen Zappe, 2006. "An Examination of the Relationship Between Ethical Work Climate and Moral Awareness," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(4), pages 409-432, November.
    9. Maureen Ambrose & Anke Arnaud & Marshall Schminke, 2008. "Individual Moral Development and Ethical Climate: The Influence of Person–Organization Fit on Job Attitudes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 323-333, February.
    10. Hosmer, Larue Tone, 2000. "It’s Time for Empirical Research in Business Ethics," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 233-242, January.
    11. Johnson, Richard A. & Neelankavil, James P. & Jadhav, Arvind, 1986. "Developing the executive resource," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 29-33.
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