Are anxious workers less productive workers? It depends on the quality of social exchange.J Appl Psychol. 2016 Feb; 101(2):279-91.JA
In this article, we draw from Conservation of Resources Theory to advance and test a framework which predicts that emotional exhaustion plays an explanatory role underlying the relation between workplace anxiety and job performance. Further, we draw from social exchange theories to predict that leader-member exchange and coworker exchange will mitigate the harmful effects of anxiety on job performance. Findings across a 3-wave study of police officers supported our model. Emotional exhaustion mediated the link between workplace anxiety and job performance, over and above the effect of cognitive interference. Further, coworker exchange mitigated the positive relation between anxiety and emotional exhaustion, while leader-member exchange mitigated the negative relation between emotional exhaustion and job performance. This study elucidates the effects of workplace anxiety on resource depletion via emotional exhaustion and highlights the value of drawing on social resources to offset the potentially harmful effects of workplace anxiety on job performance.