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Article

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

Business School, Sichuan University, 29 Wangjiang Road, Chengdu 610064, China
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 976; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030976
Received: 3 December 2019 / Revised: 24 January 2020 / Accepted: 31 January 2020 / Published: 4 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health Psychology)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: emotional exhaustion; ethical leadership; organizational embeddedness; job satisfaction; conservation of resources theory emotional exhaustion; ethical leadership; organizational embeddedness; job satisfaction; conservation of resources theory
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhou, H.; Sheng, X.; He, Y.; Qian, X. Ethical Leadership as the Reliever of Frontline Service Employees’ Emotional Exhaustion: A Moderated Mediation Model. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 976. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030976

AMA Style

Zhou H, Sheng X, He Y, Qian X. Ethical Leadership as the Reliever of Frontline Service Employees’ Emotional Exhaustion: A Moderated Mediation Model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(3):976. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030976

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhou, Hao, Xinyi Sheng, Yulin He, and Xiaoye Qian. 2020. "Ethical Leadership as the Reliever of Frontline Service Employees’ Emotional Exhaustion: A Moderated Mediation Model" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 3: 976. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030976

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