General job performance of first-line supervisors: the role of conscientiousness in determining its effects on subordinate exhaustion

Date

Authors

Perry, Sara J.
Rubino, Cristina
Witt, L. A.

Access rights

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Wiley Online Library

Abstract

In an integrated test of the job demands-resources model and trait activation theory, we predicted that the general job performance of employees who also hold supervisory roles may act as a demand to subordinates, depending on levels of subordinate conscientiousness. In a sample of 313 customer service call centre employees, we found that high-conscientiousness individuals were more likely to experience emotional exhaustion, and low-conscientiousness individuals were less likely as the general job performance of their supervisor improved. The results were curvilinear, such that high-conscientiousness individuals' exhaustion levelled off with very high supervisor performance (two standard deviations above the mean), and low-conscientiousness individuals' exhaustion levelled off as supervisor performance improved from moderate to high. These findings suggest high-conscientiousness employees may efficiently handle demands presented by a low-performing coworker who is their boss, but when performance expectations are high (i.e. high-performing boss), these achievement-oriented employees may direct their resources (i.e. energy and time) towards performance-related efforts at the expense of their well-being. Conversely, low-conscientiousness employees suffer when paired with a low-performing boss, but benefit from a supervisor who demonstrates at least moderate job performance.

Description

Keywords

Citation

Perry, S. J., Rubino, C., & Witt, L. A. (2011). General job performance of first-line supervisors: the role of conscientiousness in determining its effects on subordinate exhaustion. Stress and Health, 27(2), e83-e93. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.1339