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The consequences of empathic concern for the actors themselves: Understanding empathic concern through conservation of resources and work-home resources perspectives.

Authors
  • Lin, Szu-Han Joanna1
  • Poulton, Emily C1
  • Tu, Min-Hsuan2
  • Xu, Mengjie1
  • 1 Department of Management.
  • 2 Department of Organization and Human Resources.
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of applied psychology
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2022
Volume
107
Issue
10
Pages
1843–1863
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/apl0000984
PMID: 34941290
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Whereas the majority of research to date has shown that having employees with empathic concern brings a number of beneficial outcomes to those on the receiving end, we shift this focus from the targets to a focus on how empathic concern influences the actors. Drawing from conservation of resources (COR) theory and the work-home resources model, we examined the detriments and benefits of empathic concern on the actors themselves by investigating how empathic concern drains and supplies actors' volatile personal resources. Using two experience sampling studies, our results revealed that empathic concern is associated with both resource loss and resource gain. Specifically, empathic concern requires actors to expend their volatile personal resources, leaving them emotionally exhausted and further prompting them to psychologically withdrawal from work. In addition, empathic concern also helps employees acquire new volatile personal resources, boosting their self-efficacy, and further promoting their engagement in organizational citizenship behaviors toward individuals. We also found that individuals with lower trait positive affect are less likely to obtain resource gain (self-efficacy) from empathic concern and more likely to result in resource loss (emotional exhaustion). Overall, our research answers the questions of why and when the negative and positive outcomes of empathic concern are likely to occur for the actors themselves. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

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