Effects of compassion on employees' self-regulation.
The basic principle behind theories of self-regulatory resources is that an individual can control his or her emotions, behaviors, and thoughts by using internal resources for self-regulation to change or suppress impulses or desires. These resources are, however, analogous to a finite energy source that can be depleted (DeWall, Baumeister, Stillman, & Gailliot, 2007; Muraven & Baumeister, 2000). As such, a portion of our capacity for self-regulation is permanently consumed every time it is utilized, and, as a result, the ability to regulate oneself also decreases (Bauer & Baumeister, 2004; DeWall et al., 2007). Moreover, a shortage or depletion of self-regulatory resources leads to regulatory failure (Bauer & Baumeister, 2004), which, in turn, impairs an individual's ability to suppress impulses and desires, thereby negatively impacting on their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.
Direct Effects of Compassion
In order to replenish regulatory resources, a certain amount of time must be allotted for rest or sleep (Bauer & Baumeister, 2004; Rothman, Baldwin, Hertel, & Fuglestad, 2004). Regardless, personal rest alone is not sufficient to fully replenish self-regulatory resources (Shirom & Ezrachi, 2003). Therefore, we proposed that an environment of compassion will be a mechanism for replenishing regulatory resources.
As noted above, according to Clark (1997), compassion is similar to self-regulatory resources in that it is finite. From the perspective of an individual acting compassionately toward others, to provide compassion is to provide a portion of one's finite resources to replenish the resources of another, whereas from the perspective of a recipient of compassion, to receive compassion is to obtain a certain amount of restorative resources. More broadly, compassion is a positive experience that can be encountered within an organization. The more often compassion is experienced, the more positive are the emotions and feelings of the members of an organization (e.g., Engen & Singer, 2015; Lilius et al., 2008). These positive experiences and perceptions assist in the maintenance of self-regulatory resources (Bauer & Baumeister, 2004). Accordingly, compassion can be seen as being strongly related to and significantly beneficial for the recovery and maintenance of regulatory resources.
Following the literature on self-regulation, the effects of self-regulation can be broadly classified as relating to emotions, behaviors, and thoughts (e.g., Engen & Singer, 2015; Leary & Guadagno, 2004; Muraven & Baumeister, 2000), and because compassion also assists in the recovery of regulatory resources, we believe that it will have similar effects on the emotions of anxiety and burnout, the behavior of workplace deviance, and thoughts related to the intention to quit. Anxiety, which is an acute uneasiness about the future, including a fear of things to come (Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1968), can be described as displeasure with high arousal. In contrast, burnout is a state of fatigue and breakdown caused by an overly demanding environment (Maslach, 1982). Thus, we formed the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1a: There will be a negative relationship between experiencing compassion at work and anxiety.
Hypothesis 1b: There will be a negative relationship between experiencing compassion at work and burnout.
Hypothesis 1c: There will be a negative relationship between experiencing compassion at work and workplace deviance.
Hypothesis 1d: There will be a negative relationship between experiencing compassion at work and intention to quit.
Mediators of the Relationship Between Compassion and Self-Regulation
To further examine the relationship between compassion and self-regulation, we proposed that self-esteem and self-efficacy would act as mediators, such that compassion will replenish self-regulatory resources by rehabilitating self-esteem and self-efficacy. This is in line with the findings of previous researchers, who have used self-esteem and self-efficacy as predictors of self-regulation (e.g., Arora, Haynie, & Laurence, 2013; Cervone, Mor, Orom, Shadel, & Scott, 2004).
Self-esteem and self-efficacy, while sharing common qualities, are clearly distinct theoretical concepts. Self-esteem has to do with appraising one's overall worth, whereas self-efficacy concerns determining one's actual ability (Bandura, 1995). Because there is a strong correlation between self-esteem and self-efficacy, some researchers have argued that it is difficult to distinguish between them (Eden & Aviram, 1993; Stanley & Murphy, 1997); however, others have supported the idea that these are distinguishable (e.g., Tan, Ma, & Li, 2015). Indeed, Chen, Gully, and Eden (2004) found empirical evidence of the difference between self-esteem and self-efficacy in terms of traits related to motivational states and affective states. Along similar lines, we attempted to distinguish self-esteem from self-efficacy in this study. Even so, we examined these constructs in state-level terms because we believe that compassion can lead to positive changes in an individual. Thus, we simultaneously examined the mediating effects of self-esteem and self-efficacy in the compassion-self-regulation relationship, and determined the differences between these two variables.
Compassion, Self-Esteem, and Self-Efficacy
Self-esteem can be developed through taking an interest in and developing respect for others, reaching personal achievements, and increasing one's social status and acceptance, among other qualities and experiences. It is closely linked with the innate human desires for affiliation, love, sympathy, and esteem (Coopersmith, 1967; Maslow, 1970), and is influenced by positive and negative social experiences (Allen & Knight, 2005). Qualities that build self-esteem, such as love and a sense of affiliation, are very similar to factors that influence compassion, which begins with love and a sense of affiliation with a group, and is strongly related to positive experiences (Engen & Singer, 2015; Lilius et al., 2008; Wang, 2005). For example, compassion creates positive emotions in members of an organization (Lilius et al., 2008), thus allowing these individuals to see themselves as not merely human resources, but also worthy human beings with valuable inner states (Fredrickson, 1998). Thus, we predicted that compassion would make a positive contribution to the formation of self-esteem. Clark (1997) found that compassionate counseling increases individuals' self-esteem, and Rifkin (2010) reported that when individuals in similar circumstances share compassion for one another and support one another unconditionally without judgment, both parties are able to develop and/or rebuild their self-esteem and sense of worth.
Self-efficacy is influenced by four main factors: performance accomplishment, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Of these, the latter two are influenced by compassion, in that verbal persuasion motivates self-improvement and resistance to dwelling on personal shortcomings when faced with difficult situations, and physiological states relate to one's health and physical condition (Bandura, 1995). Extending compassion to others, which is a form of social support, can induce positive emotions and feelings through engaging in behavior that supports others. Consequently, compassion can reduce stress and related illnesses, such as depression. Verbally expressed supportive behavior (Bandura, 1995; Lilius et al., 2008), together with the positive emotions it produces, is likely to enhance the physiological condition and self-efficacy of individuals in environments of compassion. Moreover, experiencing compassion within an organization can induce positive emotions, such as confidence from having a feeling of affiliation (Cialdini et al., 1976), and strengthen the social bond between an individual and the person providing compassion to that individual (Clark, 1997). Recognizing the existence of a person within one's organization who is available in times of need can engender confidence about navigating the environment and circumstances in one's place of employment (Gillath, Shaver, & Mikulincer, 2005). Thus, we formed the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 2a: There will be a positive relationship between experiencing compassion at work and self-esteem.
Hypothesis 2b: There will be a positive relationship between experiencing compassion at work and self-efficacy.
Indirect Effects of Compassion on Self-Regulation
We expected to observe greater self-esteem and self-efficacy among those who experience compassion than those who do not. As mechanisms that facilitate control over personal emotions, behaviors, and thoughts, improved self-esteem and self-efficacy alleviate negative emotions, behaviors, and attitudes (see, e.g., Christian & Ellis, 2011).
When individuals with low self-esteem have negative experiences, they lack the motivation to change the resulting emotions from negative to positive, and they also tend to be susceptible to both external attacks and self-criticism (Heimpel, Wood, Marshall, & Brown, 2002). Tendencies to strongly experience feelings of inferiority, together with a lack of will to stop these thoughts from occurring, can cause individuals to fall deeper into their negative emotions. Thus, in comparison to those with high self-esteem, individuals with low self-esteem require a much higher consumption of personal energy to escape feelings of negativity (Gilbert & Irons, 2005).
Further, individuals with low self-esteem have a greater fear of rejection, and pursue strategies to increase their rank within an organization, such as rapid promotion, to escape these fears in work-related contexts. This is because individuals with low self-esteem believe that the control that comes with having a high outward social status can protect against inner inferiority complexes and help them to escape criticism (Blatt, 1995). However, attaining high social status does not result in feelings of security for these individuals (Gilbert & Irons, 2005). In the context of self-regulatory theory, this correlates with self-regulation being easy when an individual feels secure in his or her environment, but difficult otherwise (Wang, 2005). Therefore, because of insecurities about their environment and difficulties with self-regulation, individuals with low (vs. high) self-esteem are more likely to have negative emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.
The argument that negative experiences consume more energy than positive experiences do implies that self-regulatory resources become depleted more quickly in negative contexts, and that negative consequences are more likely to occur. As a result, individuals with low (vs. high) self-esteem tend to be more susceptible to anxiety, and because they consume more regulatory resources, tend to more easily burn out (Gilbert & Irons, 2005). Following the work of Christian and Ellis (2011), self-regulatory resource depletion can lead to self-regulatory failure, and--in the context of organizations--to workplace deviance caused by an inability to suppress anger and other negative emotions. Moreover, we believe that the continued pursuit of a secure environment, even after achieving one's goals, will be related to the intention to leave the current place of employment.
Self-efficacy also plays a central role in self-regulation (Bandura, 1995; Cervone et al., 2004). When faced with difficult problems, individuals with low self-efficacy tend to dwell on their own shortcomings or the potential negative consequences of their efforts, rather than focusing on how to successfully solve the issue at hand. As a result, their self-efficacy is slow to recover from experiences of failure or breakdown, and lack of belief in their abilities means that these individuals also tend to give up easily (Bandura, 1995). If individuals see themselves as incompetent, then they perceive problems as being more difficult than they really are (Beck, 1967), and set their goals higher than what is actually feasible. The latter behavior, in particular, causes dissonance between ideals and reality, which results in a tendency toward experiencing negative emotions and engaging in self-criticism (Cervone, Kopp, Schauman, & Scott, 1994). The tendency toward self-criticism is related to further negative tendencies, such as social anxiety, affect regulation disorders, anger, and aggression (Gilbert & Irons, 2005), which implies that individuals with low self-efficacy are prone to negative experiences, thereby causing them to be exposed to negative emotions for long periods of time. Consequently, the consumption of self-regulatory resources is accelerated, leading to resource depletion and, eventually, regulatory failure. Thus, employees with low self-efficacy are exposed to more anxiety and burnout, and have a higher rate of workplace deviance, causing them to tend to avoid engaging with the roles and objectives that are required of them (Cervone et al., 2004), which may be linked to an increased intention to quit. Thus, we formed the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 3a: Self-esteem will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and anxiety.
Hypothesis 3b: Self-esteem will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and burnout.
Hypothesis 3c: Self-esteem will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and workplace deviance.
Hypothesis 3d: Self-esteem will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and intention to quit.
Hypothesis 4a: Self-efficacy will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and anxiety.
Hypothesis 4b: Self-efficacy will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and burnout.
Hypothesis 4c: Self-efficacy will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and workplace deviance.
Hypothesis 4d: Self-efficacy will mediate the relationship between experiencing compassion at work and intention to quit.
Participants and Procedure
Nursing is an occupation with a high requirement for compassion among colleagues because of the challenging working conditions, such as work overload owing to serious labor shortages on an international scale (Christian & Ellis, 2011; DeLucia, Ott, & Palmieri, 2009; Lilius et al., 2008). Accordingly, we focused our analysis on large hospitals characterized by this type of work environment, collecting data from nurses at three general hospitals in Korea with over 400 beds each. We collected data for 1 week during June of 2014.
We received approval from the Department of Nursing at each of the hospitals and obtained signed consent forms from participating nurses after we had fully explained the purposes and procedures of the study. Of the 323 questionnaires returned to us, 284 usable responses were included in the final analysis, whereas 39 were deemed unusable and were excluded. Regarding the survey respondents' demographic details, 93% were permanent workers (n = 264) and 96.1% were female (n = 273). The mean working age was 30.01 years (SD = 6.54), with 54.6% (n = 155) being aged in their 20s, 33.4% (n = 95) in their 30s, 11.6% (n = 33) in their 40s, and 0.4% (n = 1) in their 50s. In terms of rank, 6% were senior nurse managers (n = 17), 13% were nurse managers (n = 37), and 81% were registered nurses (n = 230). In relation to monthly pay level, 8.1% earned less than $1,700 (n = 23), 73.2% earned $1,700-2,500 (n = 208), 14.8% earned $2,500-3,400 (n = 42), and 3.9% earned more than $3,400 (n = 11).
Responses to all variables, with the exception of demographic variables, were rated on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). All scales were translated into Korean and we used back-translation, with the assistance of qualified researchers in the field, to check the equivalence of the scales.
Experiencing compassion. Experiencing compassion was measured using three items based on the work of Lilius et al. (2008): "How frequently do you experience compassion (a) on the job, (b) from your supervisor, and (c) from your coworkers?" The reliability coefficient was .76 in this study.
Self-esteem. Self-esteem was measured using five items based on the work of Rosenberg (1965). Example items include "I have a positive attitude toward myself" and "On the whole, I am satisfied with myself." The reliability coefficient was .79 in this study.
Self-efficacy. Self-efficacy was measured using eight items from the work of Sherer et al. (1982). Example items include "One of my problems is that I cannot focus on my work when I should" and "I give up easily." All items were reverse-coded. The reliability coefficient was .85 in this study.
Anxiety. Anxiety was measured using nine items based on the work of Spielberger et al. (1968). Items pertaining to trait anxiety were excluded, leaving only those having to do with state anxiety, which is defined as a temporary emotional state. Example items include "I feel indecisive" and "I feel frightened." The reliability coefficient was .89 in this study.
Burnout. Burnout was measured using four items from the work of Maslach and Jackson (1981). Only items associated with emotional exhaustion were used. Example items include "Working with people all day is really a strain for me" and "I feel frustrated by my job." The reliability coefficient was .83 in this study.
Workplace deviance. Interpersonal deviance and organizational deviance components of workplace deviance were measured using 13 items from the work of Bennett and Robinson (2000). Items irrelevant to hospital work were excluded. Seven items were used to assess interpersonal deviance, with examples including "I have made fun of someone at work" and "I have acted rudely toward someone at work." The reliability coefficient was .87. Six items used to assess organizational deviance were used, with examples including, "I spend too much time fantasizing or daydreaming instead of working" and "I have intentionally worked slower than I could have." The reliability coefficient was .81 in this study.
Intention to quit. Intention to quit was measured using three items based on the work of Wayne, Shore, and Liden (1997). Example items include "As soon as I can find a better job, I will leave" and "I am seriously thinking about quitting my job." The reliability coefficient was .84 in this study.
Control variables. On the basis of previous study findings, we selected as control variables several factors that can affect the variables we tested in this study. First, we controlled for respondents' gender, age, occupational rank, and pay level. Second, prior researchers (Allen & Knight, 2005; Howe, 2012) have determined that personality traits, such as agreeableness, influence the overall testing of the compassion effect; thus, we included agreeableness, which is the tendency to empathize and assist others, and is one of the Big Five characteristic measurement tools identified by Goldberg (1999), as a control variable. We used five items used to measure agreeableness, examples of which include, "I feel others' emotions" and "I have a soft heart." Third, we used Watson, Clark, and Tellegen's (1988) Positive and Negative Affect Schedule to reduce latent common method bias. Because we used dependent variables with negative characteristics, we only controlled for the respondents' negative emotions occurring within the past week. Examples of negative emotions experienced included "distressed," "scared," "hostile," "jittery," and "afraid."
To examine the distinctiveness of the study variables, we conducted a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) using AMOS version 18.0. Prior to testing the hypotheses, correlation analysis was conducted with SPSS version 18.0 to examine the relationships among variables. To analyze the hypotheses, structural equation modeling (SEM) was used with AMOS version 18.0. In addition, bootstrapping tests were used to test the significance of the indirect effects of experiencing compassion via the mediators of self-esteem and self-efficacy on anxiety, burnout, interpersonal and organizational workplace deviance, and intention to quit (Cheung & Lau, 2008). To test model fit, we calculated chi-square (%2) and degrees of freedom (df) statistics, along with root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), goodness-of-fit index (GFI), comparative fit index (CFI), normed fit index (NFI), and Tucker-Lewis index (TLI).
As can be seen in Table 1, the CFA results reveal that Model 1 has a better fit than the other models. These results confirm the independence of the eight-factor structure of the concepts measured in this study, as well as the discriminant validity of the measurement scales.
The SEM results support the existence of relationships between experiencing compassion and anxiety ([beta] = -.209, p < .05), burnout ([beta] = -.551, p < .001), interpersonal workplace deviance ([beta] = -.178, p < .05), organizational workplace deviance ([beta] = -.191, p < .05), and intention to quit (P = -.664, p < .001). The fit of the structural model had the following parameters: [chi square] (1264) = 2804.333,p < .001, RMSEA = .06, GFI = .71, CFI = .79, NFI = .68, and TLI = .79, thus supporting Hypotheses 1a-1d, in which we posited that experiencing compassion would be negatively correlated with anxiety, burnout, interpersonal and organizational workplace deviance, and intention to quit.
Next, we tested the mediation effects of self-esteem and self-efficacy by comparing our research model with two alternative models to test whether self-efficacy and self-esteem function as full or partial mediators of the compassion-self-regulation relationship. In the full mediation model, experiencing compassion did not have a direct pathway to anxiety, burnout, or interpersonal or organizational workplace deviance, but all pathways were mediated by self-esteem and self-efficacy. The parameters of the model's fit were as follows: [chi square] (1257) = 2665.876, RMSEA = .63, GFI = .72, CFI = .81, NFI = .70, TLI = .80, and expected cross validation indices (ECVI) = 10.275. The competing model, partial mediation Model 1, showed direct pathways from experiencing compassion to anxiety, burnout, interpersonal and organizational workplace deviance, and intention to quit, as well as pathways mediated by self-esteem and self-efficacy. The parameters of the model's fit were as follows: [chi square] (1252) = 2644.459, RMSEA = .63, GFI = .72, CFI = .81, NFI = .70, TLI = .80, and ECVI = 10.235. In partial mediation Model 2, the statistically nonsignificant pathways of partial mediation Model 1 were excluded. Partial mediation Model 2 included the direct pathways from experiencing compassion to burnout and intention to leave, as well as the pathways that were mediated by self-esteem and self-efficacy. The fit statistics for this model were as follows: [chi square] (1255) = 2646.757, RMSEA = .63, GFI = .72, CFI = .81, NFI = .70, TLI = .80, and ECVI = 10.222. The [chi square] value of all three models was significant, and because these models are related by an inclusion relationship in the nested model, the values of their overall fit indices were similar. A comparison of the ECVI results showed that partial mediation Model 2 was superior to both the full mediation model and partial mediation Model 1, in that a lower ECVI is desirable. However, because these differences were minimal, we used a [chi square] difference test to further compare the three models. The results revealed a statistically significant difference ([DELTA][chi square] = 21.417 and Adf = 5, p < .001) between the full mediation model and partial mediation Model 1; thus, partial mediation Model 1 was a better fit than the full mediation model was. The results of a [chi square] difference test between the two partial mediation models revealed that the differences were not statistically significant ([DELTA][chi square] = 21.417, [DELTA]df = 5, p < .001). As such, we selected partial mediation Model 2, in which self-esteem fully mediated the relationship between experiencing compassion and anxiety; self-efficacy fully mediated the relationships between experiencing compassion and anxiety, burnout, interpersonal workplace deviance, and organizational workplace deviance; and self-efficacy partially mediated the relationship between experiencing compassion and intention to quit.
The results of the mediation tests are shown in Figure 1. The pathways from experiencing compassion to burnout (r = -.363, p < .05) and intention to quit (r = -.549, p < .001) were significant. Similar to the findings in partial mediation Model 1, only the path to anxiety (r = -.341, p < .001) was significant for self-esteem, whereas self-efficacy had statistically significant path coefficients with anxiety (r = -.213, p < .001), burnout (r = -.310, p < .05), individual workplace deviance (r = -.326, p < .001), organizational workplace deviance (r = -.369, p < .001), and intention to quit (r = -.326, p < .05). The results of bootstrapping tests show that the indirect effects of experiencing compassion on anxiety via the mediators of self-esteem and self-efficacy were statistically significant (r = -.204, p < .05). For self-efficacy, the indirect effects of experiencing compassion on interpersonal workplace deviance (r = -.204, p < .05) and organizational workplace deviance (r = -.149, p < .05) were also significant. Experiencing compassion had both a direct effect and an indirect effect (r = -.143, p < .05), with the latter connection mediated by self-efficacy, on burnout. However, no indirect effect was found in the case of intention to quit (r = -.067, p = ns).
Taking into account the fit and path coefficients of the final model, together with the results of bootstrapping tests for indirect effects, we found that self-esteem fully mediated the path from experiencing compassion to anxiety, whereas self-efficacy fully mediated the paths from experiencing compassion to anxiety, interpersonal workplace deviance, and organizational workplace deviance. Self-efficacy also partially mediated the path from experiencing compassion to burnout. Although experiencing compassion had a direct effect on intention to quit, the indirect effects were not statistically significant; thus, self-esteem and self-efficacy cannot be said to have mediation effects on the intention to quit. Our findings fully support Hypotheses 2a-2b and partially support Hypotheses 3a-3d and 4a-4d.
Our main goal in this study was to empirically demonstrate using self-regulatory resource theory the positive effects of compassion on reducing the negative emotions, behaviors, and thoughts of employees. Our results show that compassion is negatively related to the emotions of anxiety and burnout, to deviant behaviors in the workplace, and to thoughts about leaving one's current place of employment. Even though the concept of compassion is based on the purposeful alleviation of individuals' negative states (Blum, 1980), previous empirical researchers of compassion have mainly used positive variables to demonstrate its effectiveness (e.g., Ko & Moon, 2012; Lilius et al., 2008). Thus, one contribution we have made in our study is the use of the conceptual definition of compassion in designing our model in order to examine negative dependent variables alone.
We also attempted to elucidate a mechanism that better explains the relationships between compassion and the dependent variables that are focused on herein. On the basis of the existing literature on self-regulation (e.g., Bauer & Baumeister, 2004; Chen et al., 2004; Christian & Ellis, 2011), we identified self-esteem and self-efficacy as possible mediating variables. Our results show that compassion can increase the self-esteem and self-efficacy of employees in an organization. Moreover, we found that, through these two mediating variables, compassion has a negative indirect impact on anxiety, burnout, and workplace deviance. Specifically, when self-esteem and self-efficacy are simultaneously included as variables in a model testing the relationship between compassion and its dependent variables, self-esteem is limited to mediating the emotion of anxiety, whereas self-efficacy mediates not only the emotions of anxiety and burnout, but also interpersonal and organizational deviant workplace behaviors. Thus, the effective scope of self-efficacy can be said to be broader than that of self-esteem, and its mediating effects on the relationships between compassion and anxiety, burnout, and workplace deviance, are correspondingly stronger.
This distinct difference between the mediating effects of self-esteem and self-efficacy brings into focus the conceptual difference between the two variables as the cause of their effective differences. Self-esteem is the self-perception that an individual has about his or her own value. It is largely intuitive, in that the assessment of one's value is not grounded in specific information (i.e., "I am satisfied with myself"). Conversely, self-efficacy is an assessment of an individual's confidence in his or her abilities, and, in comparison to self-esteem, it is a relatively objective measure of ability. An individual evaluates his or her self-efficacy based on measurable points of reference, such as his or her performance in regard to responsibilities at work or past behavior. This finding contributes to expanding the scope of self-regulation as a subject of research by identifying self-esteem and self-efficacy as distinct concepts, and empirically validates the related aspects of the work of Bandura (1995).
We also examined emotion by dividing it into two components in the context of the workplace--namely, anxiety and burnout. Compassion is provided among employees in order to assuage the emotional states of grief and suffering (e.g., Kanov et al., 2004; Lilius et al., 2008). Accordingly, compassion can be regarded as being deeply related to resulting emotions. From the viewpoint of these emotions, we attempted to establish in greater detail the relationship between compassion and findings involving emotion. According to Shirom and Ezrachi (2003), anxiety and burnout, although similar, are concepts that occupy different emotional domains. As an abstract feeling, anxiety does not have a specific target (i.e., "I feel anxious"), whereas burnout is felt in relation to something specific (i.e., "I feel frustrated by my job"). In work-related contexts, anxiety relates to role ambiguity and role conflict, whereas burnout relates to work overload and job difficulty (Shirom & Ezrachi, 2003). On the basis of this reasoning, it can be argued that because self-esteem is largely intuitive and its assessment is not grounded in measurable information, it can have a significant relationship with the (similarly abstract) emotion of anxiety, despite not having a significant relationship with burnout. Furthermore, it can be argued that because self-efficacy is a self-perceived measure of one's current ability based on past patterns of behavior, self-efficacy has significant relationships with both burnout (a relatively narrow concept) and anxiety (a much broader concept). Likewise, the reason why only self-efficacy has mediating effects in the relationship between compassion and workplace deviance may be that self-efficacy is more closely related to behavior or behavior intentions than is self-esteem. Thus, compassion reduces anxiety by enhancing the self-perception of one's value, and reduces anxiety, burnout, and workplace deviance by increasing confidence in one's capabilities. These findings contribute to the literature on the consequences of emotions in the context of organizations by partially supporting the argument of Shirom and Ezrachi (2003) that anxiety and burnout are distinct measures.
However, neither self-esteem nor self-efficacy was found to mediate the relationship between compassion and employees' intention to quit. One potential reason for this finding is the very direct effect that compassion has on the intention to quit. Lilius et al. (2008) reported the case of a nurse who, after experiencing compassion from colleagues, discovered a never-before-felt love for the job. Thus, because experiencing compassion is a mechanism that can immediately engender a sense of belonging and attachment to an organization, it can directly reduce an employee's intention to quit. In other words, there is no need for mediation by self-esteem or self-efficacy in the relationship between compassion and intention to quit.
We also observed a partial mediating effect of self-efficacy in the relationship between compassion and burnout, which may infer the existence of an additional mechanism. In other words, experiencing compassion may not, by itself, sufficiently replenish an employee's resources to the point of completely preventing burnout, which occurs due to work-related fatigue and stress experienced over an extended period of time (Maslach & Jackson, 1981; Shirom & Ezrachi, 2003). Generally speaking, people simultaneously experience the effects of both physical and psychological factors. Thus, although compassion can alleviate burnout by rehabilitating belief in one's competence, compassion may also alleviate negative emotions, such as burnout, by facilitating sleep and/ or other ways of achieving physical and physiological rest. This aligns with the assertion by Bauer and Baumeister (2004) that self-regulatory resources are replenished through sleep and other kinds of rest.
Our study has several limitations. The first limitation is that the sample was made up entirely of nurses, 95% of whom were women. According to Colquitt, LePine, Zapata, and Wild (2011), using homogenous research samples with limited variety in occupation and gender demographics makes it difficult to ensure the generalizability of findings. In particular, the nursing profession has several unique characteristics, such as strong employment standards and supervision requirements (Christian & Ellis, 2011). Thus, research on other occupations, in which employees are given more autonomy, may produce results that differ from ours. Furthermore, according to Clark (1997), compassion may be influenced by differences in gender. Females are known to be more capable of and more likely to show compassion than males are (see, e.g., Howe, 2012). Further research using a heterogeneous sample will contribute to a more universal understanding of trends that cultivate compassion at work.
Hyung Jin Choi, Sangmin Lee, Se-Ri No, Eung Il Kim
Eung Il Kim
State University of New York at Binghamton
Hyung Jin Choi, Sangmin Lee, and Se-Ri No, School of Business, Hanyang University; Eung Il Kim, School of Management, State University of New York at Binghamton.
This work was supported by the research fund of Hanyang University (HY-2009). We are grateful to Kyung Hoon Cho for his assistance in revising this paper.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sangmin Lee, School of Business, Room 520, Hanyang University, 222 Wangshimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 133-791, Republic of Korea. Email: email@example.com
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Table 1. Confirmatory Factor Analysis Model [chi square]df) RMSEA GFI Model 1: Factor 8 Compassion, self-esteem, [chi square](917) .058 .777 self-efficacy, anxiety, = 1797.727 *** burnout, workplace deviance_0, workplace deviance_I, intention to quit Model 2: Factor 7 Compassion, self-esteem + [chi square](924) .065 .742 self-efficacy, anxiety, = 2035.888 *** burnout, workplace deviance 0, workplace deviance I, intention to quit Model 3: Factor 7 Compassion, self-esteem, [chi square](924) .066 .745 self-efficacy, anxiety + = 2046.796 *** burnout, workplace deviance_0, workplace deviance_I, intention to quit Model 4: Factor 6 Compassion + self-esteem + [chi square](930) .070 .722 self-efficacy, anxiety, = 2219.350 *** burnout, workplace deviance_0, workplace deviance_I, intention to quit Model CFI NFI TFI Model 1: Factor 8 Compassion, self-esteem, .862 .757 .851 self-efficacy, anxiety, burnout, workplace deviance_0, workplace deviance_I, intention to quit Model 2: Factor 7 Compassion, self-esteem + .826 .724 .814 self-efficacy, anxiety, burnout, workplace deviance 0, workplace deviance I, intention to quit Model 3: Factor 7 Compassion, self-esteem, .825 .723 .812 self-efficacy, anxiety + burnout, workplace deviance_0, workplace deviance_I, intention to quit Model 4: Factor 6 Compassion + self-esteem + .799 .700 .786 self-efficacy, anxiety, burnout, workplace deviance_0, workplace deviance_I, intention to quit Note. Workplace deviance_0 = organizational workplace deviance, Workplace deviance_I = interpersonal organization deviance. [chi square] = chi-square, df = degrees of freedom, RMSEA = root mean square error of approximation, GFI = goodness-of-fit index, CFI = comparative fit index, NFI = normed fit index, TLI = Tucker-Lewis index. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001. Table 2. Means and Standard Deviations of, and Correlations Among Study Variables Variables M SD 1 2 3 1. Experiencing 3.39 0.55 compassion 2. Self-esteem 3.59 0.55 .38 ** 3. Self-efficacy 3.58 0.51 .28 ** -.50 ** 4. Anxiety 2.58 0.71 -.23 ** -.44 * -.50 ** 5. Burnout 2.53 0.74 -.33 ** -.38 ** -.44 ** 6. Interpersonal 2.23 0.65 -.12 * -.15 ** -.28 ** workplace deviance 7. Organizational 1.69 0.54 -.17 * -.21 ** -.36 ** workplace deviance 8. Intention 3.02 0.91 -.27 * -.22 ** -.31 ** to quit Variables 4 5 6 7 1. Experiencing compassion 2. Self-esteem 3. Self-efficacy 4. Anxiety 5. Burnout .60 ** 6. Interpersonal .24 ** .24 ** workplace deviance 7. Organizational .26 ** .27 ** .47 ** workplace deviance 8. Intention .35 ** .51 ** .21 ** .18 ** to quit Note. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001.
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|Author:||Choi, Hyung Jin; Lee, Sangmin; No, Se-Ri; Kim, Eung Il|
|Publication:||Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2016|
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