The effect of customer-related social stressors on employee job satisfaction: A relationship mediated by emotional exhaustion
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In recent years, Cyprus has been plagued by economic recession due to the financial crisis of 2008 with additional economic strains added on due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing geopolitical events around the globe. These have led to sudden and drastic changes to work environments with job uncertainty and emotional strains that potentially still linger in employee’s minds. Job satisfaction, an important factor of employee wellbeing, significantly impacts on employees at a personal level but, also on the organization itself, since it bears influence on productivity and work effort, absenteeism and turnover. As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to surface existential questions and added work-related stress it has also renewed the focus on both the physical and psychological aspects of work-related wellbeing. Employees around the world are setting new personal standards on expectations and requirements for job satisfaction with added emphasis on wellbeing. On the psychological end of the spectrum, it is, therefore important for organizations to evaluate how emotional strains impact employees. A common feature for many professions is employee interaction with customers which, in financially-challenging times can be particularly strenuous for both employees and customers alike. The main aim of this thesis dissertation is to examine the effect of customer-related social stressors on employee job satisfaction. Furthermore, it examines potential, relevant roles of emotional intelligence, the ability to acknowledge and effectively manage emotions, and of emotional exhaustion, a psychological symptom that can lead to burnout. For this cross-sectional study, data were collected by snowballing using an online questionnaire. Statistical analysis of the data from 113 employees in Cyprus, indicates that emotional intelligence is not associated with job satisfaction. However, customer-related social stressors are shown to lead to emotional exhaustion which in extent, associates with decreased employee job satisfaction through a fully mediated effect.