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Abusive Supervision, Employee Well-Being and Ill-Being: The Moderating Role of Core Self-Evaluations

Emotions and Organizational Governance

ISBN: 978-1-78560-998-5, eISBN: 978-1-78560-997-8

ISSN: 1746-9791

Publication date: 7 June 2016



This chapter investigates the relationship between abusive supervision and employee well-being (i.e., job satisfaction, engagement) and ill-being (i.e., burnout, workaholism) and examines whether follower core self-evaluations (CSE) moderate this relationship.


The study uses cross-sectional survey data collected from 111 professional employees across a range of industry sectors.


Results show that abusive supervision is negatively related to employee well-being (i.e., engagement and job satisfaction) and positively related to employee ill-being, namely burnout. In addition, employees low in CSE are less engaged and less satisfied than employees high in CSE.

Research limitations/implications

The study’s cross-sectional design limits the strength of its conclusions.

Practical implications

This chapter notes the ethical and legal obligations of organizations to provide a safe working environment and identifies the policies and procedures that will signal a commitment to employee well-being.


The study contributes to the leadership and well-being literatures by exploring the influence of abusive leaders on follower well-being and engagement. It also goes beyond merely identifying correlations between leadership style and follower well-being outcomes to investigate how leader and follower attributes can combine to influence these outcomes.




This study was supported by funding from Brother International Europe. The authors also wish to acknowledge the guidance of Dr. Stephanie Downey and the DCU Link Workshop Series 2013–2014: Moderation, Mediation & Moderated Mediation.


O’Donoghue, A., Conway, E. and Bosak, J. (2016), "Abusive Supervision, Employee Well-Being and Ill-Being: The Moderating Role of Core Self-Evaluations", Emotions and Organizational Governance (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-34.



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