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The moderated relationship between job burnout and organizational cynicism

Aditya Simha (Department of Management, University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin, USA)
David F. Elloy (Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, USA)
Han-Chung Huang (Chang Gung University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between two components of job burnout (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization) and organizational cynicism. Another aim of this research was to examine the role of moderating variables such as role conflict, work-family conflict, perceived fairness, and trust in coworkers on the relationship between burnout and organizational cynicism.


The methodology was a survey-based quantitative method. Totally, 172 nurses in a Taiwanese hospital were surveyed, and 169 completed responses were obtained. The nurses filled out self-report surveys that measured their levels of burnout, organizational cynicism, and various other variables including demographic variables.


The results indicate that several variables acted as moderators in the relationship between emotional exhaustion and organizational cynicism, and in the relationship between depersonalization and organizational cynicism. Trust in coworker, perceived fairness, and role conflict all were found to negatively influence the relationship between a burnout component and cynicism, whereas work-family conflict had a positive influence on the relationship between depersonalization and cynicism.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this research are that the study is cross-sectional in nature, and is based on a Taiwanese sample. Future research should aim to study these variables in a longitudinal fashion and in different contexts.

Practical implications

The practical implications from this study include managers being able to harness various variables (such as perceived fairness and trust in coworkers) in order to reduce cynicism.


The value of this study is that it connects burnout and organizational cynicism together. It also uncovers several moderating variables that influence the relationship between burnout and organizational cynicism. This is also one of the first studies that have obtained a positive effect of role conflict.



Simha, A., F. Elloy, D. and Huang, H.-C. (2014), "The moderated relationship between job burnout and organizational cynicism", Management Decision, Vol. 52 No. 3, pp. 482-504.



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