Lack of Alternatives

Lack of Alternatives

Emotional exhaustion is much more incapacitating than physical exhaustion, and it’s prevalent among those who stay in an organization because they feel obligated to their teammates or employers. According to researchers from Concordia University and the Université de Montréal, these workers are much more likely to experience burnout and stress-related problems. The same applies when employees stay because they don’t see employment alternatives outside their company. While this finding wasn’t particularly shocking, what was surprising was the fact that those with high self-esteem appeared to be most affected.

Lead researcher Alexandra Panaccio, an assistant professor in the Department of Management at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, said that employees who stay due to perceived lack of external options are much “more likely to experience emotional exhaustion.” The researchers hypothesize that the reason that those with high self-esteem are most affected is because believing they have no choices is inconsistent with their self-view as important and competent people.

The research suggests employers work to minimize this “lack of alternatives” type of commitment by developing employees’ competencies. This increases their feeling of mobility, which, paradoxically, contributes to them wanting to stay with the organization.

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