A new study has revealed that sticking to an organization out of obligation or for lack of job options can fuel emotional exhaustion.
This is a chronic state of burnout resulting from continuous stress and excessive job demands. Researchers also found that people with high self-esteem are most affected by a perceived lack of employment alternatives - possibly because that perception is inconsistent with their self-view as important and competent people.
"Our study examined whether some forms of commitment to an organisation could have detrimental effects, such as emotional exhaustion and, eventually, turnover," says co-author Alexandra Panaccio, assistant professor of management at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business.
"When employees stay with their organisation because they feel that they have no other options, they are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion," explains Panaccio, the journal Human Relations reports.
The implication is that employers should try to minimize this 'lack of alternatives' type of commitment among employees by developing their competencies, thus increasing their feeling of mobility and, paradoxically, contributing to them wanting to stay with the organisation," said Panaccio, according to a Concordia statement.
Panaccio and her colleagues surveyed 260 workers from various industries, including information technology, health services, engineering and architecture. Participants were, on an average, 34 years old; 33 percent held managerial positions, while 50 percent worked in the public sector.
"It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organisation, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness - a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time," says Panaccio.