The Interaction Effect of Crisis Communication and Social Support on The Emotional Exhaustion of University Employees during the COVID-19 Crisis

The Interaction Effect of Crisis Communication and Social Support on The Emotional Exhaustion of University Employees during the COVID-19 Crisis

Authors

รศ.ดร.พีรยุทธ เจริญสุขมงคล อาจารย์ประจำวิทยาลัยนานาชาติ และ Tipnuch Phungsoonthorn (2022), International Journal of Business Communication, 59(2), 269-286.

Published

อ่านบทความฉบับเต็มได้ที่ https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488420953188

Article first published online: September 4, 2020
Issue published: April 2022

Abstract

Although formal communication from an organization’s management is crucial during a crisis to reduce the uncertainties of employee, less is known about the moderating role of social support that could make employees rely less on formal communication to reduce those uncertainties. Grounded in uncertainty reduction theory, this research examines the role of crisis communication on the perceived uncertainties and emotional exhaustion of employees who work at private international universities that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, this research explores the moderating effect of social support in terms of supervisor support and coworker support on the association between crisis communication and perceived uncertainties. Questionnaire data were collected from 300 employees from two private international universities in Thailand. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was used for data analysis. The analysis shows that perceived uncertainties mediate the negative association between crisis communication and emotional exhaustion. Moreover, the moderating effect analysis shows that the association between crisis communication and perceived uncertainties is significantly moderated by coworker support, but not by supervisor support. Simple slope analysis also clearly shows that the negative association between crisis communication and perceived uncertainties only presents in employees with a low level of coworker support. For employees with high coworker support, crisis communication does not associate negatively with perceived uncertainties. This research implies that the informal communication that employees obtain from social support could play a compensatory role for their need to rely on formal communication to reduce uncertainties during the crisis.