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The Relationship Between Organizational Dehumanization and Outcomes

The Mediating Role of Emotional Exhaustion

Caesens, Gaëtane PhD; Stinglhamber, Florence PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 9 - p 699–703
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001638

Objective: The present research examines the influence of organizational dehumanization on the core dimension of burnout, that is, emotional exhaustion. In addition, we examine how emotional exhaustion in turn influences employees’ health (ie, psychological strains and physical complains) and turnover intentions. In other words, we investigated the mediating role played by emotional exhaustion in the relationship between organizational dehumanization and employees’ health and turnover intentions.

Methods: Data were collected among a sample of Belgian employees through questionnaires.

Results: As expected, the results of structural equation modeling analyses indicated that emotional exhaustion mediates the relationships between organizational dehumanization on the one hand and employees’ health and turnover intentions on the other hand.

Conclusions: These findings contribute to the literature on employees’ burnout by highlighting a new predictor of this syndrome and its subsequent outcomes.

Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Address correspondence to: Gaëtane Caesens, PhD, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Place Cardinal Mercier, 10, L3.05.01, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (

This work was funded by ARC under grant n°16/20-071 of the French Community of Belgium awarded to the last author.

Clinical Significance: Some conclusions can be made from this study notably in how to promote workers’ psychological and physical health. First, based on study’ findings, we suggest that organizational dehumanization should be incorporated and considered as an important job demand in the burnout prevention programs. Second, based on the current findings, it can be proposed ways to reduce perceptions of dehumanizing treatments received from the organization such as by promoting fairness in the workplace.

Caesens, and Stinglhamber have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine