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The effects of abusive supervision, emotional exhaustion and organizational commitment on cyberloafing: a moderated-mediation examination

Pang Kiam Lim (Graduate School of Business, SEGi University, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)
Kian Yeik Koay (Department of Marketing, Sunway University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Wei Ying Chong (Graduate School of Business, SEGi University, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 16 September 2020

Issue publication date: 10 March 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Cyberloafing (employees' non-work-related online activities at work) has become a common workplace problem for many organizations. Research investigating the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions under which abusive supervision influences cyberloafing remains largely underdeveloped. Drawing from social exchange theory and conservation of resources theory, we developed a moderated-mediation model in which emotional exhaustion was theorized as a unique mechanism underlining why employees are more likely to engage in cyberloafing under the supervision of abusive leaders. In addition, we proposed that organizational commitment to be a relevant boundary condition to influence such a relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

We collected 255 data from employees working in public listed companies in Malaysia and used partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to analyze the data.

Findings

The results showed that the influence of abusive supervision on cyberloafing through emotional exhaustion is only significant when organizational commitment is low.

Originality/value

This study constructed a moderated-mediation model by introducing the potential mediating effect of emotional exhaustion and the moderating effect of organizational commitment to reveal the mechanism through which abusive supervision related to cyberloafing.

Keywords

Citation

Lim, P.K., Koay, K.Y. and Chong, W.Y. (2021), "The effects of abusive supervision, emotional exhaustion and organizational commitment on cyberloafing: a moderated-mediation examination", Internet Research, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 497-518. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-03-2020-0165

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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