Job demands when exhausted: the relationship between exhaustion and the perception of job demands mediated by self-undermining

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Lucia Rațiu
Ana-Maria Dobre


There is a large body of literature devoted to factors that shape performance in organizations. Although much of this literature focuses on the relationships between job demands, job resources and performance, Bakker and his colleagues (2014; 2018) have recently drawn attention to self-undermining effects that can add support for a deeper understanding of such a relationship. The following contribution explores self-undermining related to exhaustion at work and its mediating role in the perception of three types of job demands in a sample of employees working in IT companies. More specifically, the paper draws on the concept of self-undermining to reflect on how it activates a loss cycle of job demands and potential negative reactions at work. We argue that (i) exhaustion has an indirect effect on the perception of job demands through self-undermining; and so on referring to each dimension of job demands: (ii) exhaustion has an indirect effect on the perception of workload through self-undermining; (iii) exhaustion has an indirect effect on the emotional load through self-undermining; (iv) exhaustion has an indirect effect on the cognitive load through self-undermining. In order to test the hypotheses, a cross-sectional design was employed. The regression analyses revealed that self-undermining mediated the relationship between exhaustion and the perception of workload meeting our expectations, and a significant indirect effect of exhaustion on the perception of job demands and emotional load. However, there is a need for future studies to generalize the results. Finally, theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


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Rațiu, L., & Dobre, A.-M. (2020). Job demands when exhausted: the relationship between exhaustion and the perception of job demands mediated by self-undermining. Psihologia Resurselor Umane, 18(1), 38–50.
Research articles


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