Emotional exhaustion has consistently been a theme of interest for scholars, because it significantly impacts quality of work life and the optimization of organizational functions. Emotional exhaustion affects job performance, health, citizenship behavior, and voluntary turnover
Psychological safety describes how people think about the possible risks and consequences of interpersonal communication they face in a specific environment, such as a workplace. It is an essential factor which makes people feel safe and have the ability to change their behavior to face up with shifting organizational challenges
The loss spiral referenced in COR theory states that investment becomes more difficult when individuals lose resources , such as in a changing environment. The loss of resources brings stress, leading to an iterative spiral.
During this stress iteration process, individuals and organizations will lack the resources to effectively accommodate the further loss of resources, causing the momentum and amplitude of the loss spirals to rapidly increase .
This eventually leads to emotional exhaustion. But psychological safety, acting as a positive resource, helps people overcome the anxiety and defensiveness. Through the enhancement of psychological safety, psychological empowerment can prevent resource loss spirals. This alleviates the employee’s emotional exhaustion. Therefore, we hypothesized that psychological safety acts as mediator in a negative relationship between psychological empowerment and emotional exhaustion.