Does Abusive Supervision Affect Healthcare Employees’ Turnover Intention? Investigating the Mediating Role of Emotional Exhaustion and Moderating Role of Employee Resilience and Future Work Self-Salience

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran- School of Business, Nipissing University, ON, Canada


Introduction: The main objective of the present study is to investigate the effect of abusive
supervision on turnover intention among healthcare employees. A model has been developed
and tested which explains how abusive supervision affects the employee turnover intention
directly and through emotional exhaustion and how employees’ personality traits (employee
resilience and future work self-salience) moderate the relationship between these variables.
Methods: With a sample of 375 front-line employees who work in private hospitals of
Mashhad, data were collected through questionaries with a Likert scale. The face validity
and structural validity of the questions were tested, and then data were analyzed using IBMSPSS-
AMOS 23.0 software.
Results: The findings demonstrated that abusive supervision affected the turnover intention
(P=0.17, t=3.93) and emotional exhaustion (P=0.29, t=5.28). Emotional exhaustion impacted
turnover intention (P=0.67, t=12.46) and also played a mediating role in the relationship
between abusive supervision and turnover intention (P=0.19, t=4.86). Moreover, employees’
resilience was found to mitigate the relationship between abusive supervision and emotional
exhaustion (sig=0.022, t=-2.29), while future work self-salience increased the likelihood of
turnover intention among the employees who experienced abusive supervision. (sig=0.027,
Conclusion: The findings showed that the supervisors’ behavior had a significant impact on
the employees’ feelings and actions. However, this impact was not equal for all the employees,
and their personality traits played an essential role. It can be concluded that if health care
organizations attempt to control abusive supervision by properly training the supervisors,
they will have less emotionally exhausted employees with lower turnover intention. Moreover,
hospitals should be aware that enhancing the employees’ resilience benefits the organization
by decreasing emotional exhaustion, while future work self-salient employees negatively
impacted the health sectors by increasing turnover intention.


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