Mitigating Burnout Through Organizational Justice: Customer Support Workers’ Experiences of Customer Injustice and Emotional Labor

Heewon Kim, Rebecca B. Leach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Employee burnout is a critical organizational concern that can be prevalent among customer support workers whose day-to-day tasks inherently include emotional labor. This study examines emotional labor and burnout among call center workers in customer service industries, specifically focusing on the influences of injustices from customers and supervisors. The findings demonstrate that: (a) customer injustice was associated with an increase in emotional labor, which in turn exacerbated customer support workers’ disengagement and exhaustion; (b) interpersonal justice perceived in the interactions with supervisors was negatively associated with disengagement; and (c) procedural justice perceived in supervisors’ decision-making processes was also negatively associated with disengagement. The findings indicate the mitigating role of interpersonal and procedural justice in reducing burnout among customer support workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • burnout
  • customer injustice
  • emotional labor
  • organizational justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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