Emotional intelligence as a moderator in abusive supervision-intention to quit relationship among Indian healthcare professionals

Sajeet Pradhan (Department of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, International Management Institute, New Delhi, Delhi, India)
Lalatendu Kesari Jena (School of Human Resource Management, Xavier Institute of Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, India)

Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration

ISSN: 1757-4323

Publication date: 3 April 2018



Despite knowledge of the destructive effect of abusive supervision on several individual and organizational outcomes, the construct remains scarcely investigated, especially in Indian organizations. Drawing upon the conservation of resources theory, the purpose of this paper is to explore the linkage between abusive supervision (an interpersonal stressor) and subordinate’s intention to quit and to focuss on the moderating role of subordinate’s emotional intelligence as a neutralizer in curbing the pernicious effect of abusive supervision on subordinate’s intention to quit.


The participants of this study were 353 healthcare professionals working in a large Indian hospital chain having all India presence. The authors have collected data on our predictor and criterion variables at two time points with a separation of three to four weeks for reducing common method bias (Podsakoff et al., 2012). At Time 1, participants rated the perception of their supervisor’s abusiveness and answered few demographic questions. At Time 2, participants completed measures of intention to quit and their emotional intelligence.


The finding of this study corroborates the assertion that subordinates who perceive their supervisors to be abusive have higher intension to quit organization. But surprisingly, this study reports that the moderating effect of emotional intelligence showed stronger relationship between abusive supervision and intention to quit when emotional intelligence is high than low.

Practical implications

Organization should take serious note of supervisors or managers that are abusive or are perceived to be abusive by their subordinates. As it is impossible to completely eradicate abusive and deviant supervisory behaviors at workplace, these toxic behaviors can be checked at several levels like hiring people high on emotional intelligence and through imparting emotional intelligence training and counseling to both the accused and the victim.


The study finds support to the relationship between abusive supervision and intention to quit in Indian context. The finding of this study fails to empirically corroborate the assumption that emotional intelligence will act as a neutralizer in mitigating the pernicious effect of abusive supervision on subordinates’ intention to quit.



Sajeet Pradhan and Lalatendu Kesari Jena (2018) "Emotional intelligence as a moderator in abusive supervision-intention to quit relationship among Indian healthcare professionals", Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 35-49

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: https://doi.org/10.1108/APJBA-09-2017-0089



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