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Staying in a job you hate is bad for you: Study

Research says those who stay on out of misguided loyalty invariably experience exhaustion, then burn out and often leave the company without warning

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Staying in a job that you hate for the sake of loyalty or for lack of alternatives is bad both for you and your employer, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from the Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in Canada found that those who stay on out of misguided loyalty experience exhaustion, then burn out and often leave the company without warning.

"Employees often stay with their organisation because they feel that they have no other option," said study co-author Alexandra Panaccio.

"Then they are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion. This feeling, in turn, may lead them to leave the organisation," Panaccio was quoted by the Daily Mail.

Instead, the researchers suggested, companies should focus on training and moving staff within an organisation so that fewer of their staff are staying on simply because they "feel they should".

"Our study examined whether some forms of commitment to a company could have detrimental effects, such as emotional exhaustion and, eventually, turnover," Panaccio said.

"The implication is that employers should try to minimise this 'lack of alternatives' type of commitment among employees by developing their competencies, thus increasing their feeling of mobility and, paradoxically, contributing to them wanting to stay with the organisation."

Panaccio and her colleagues surveyed 260 workers from various industries, including information technology, health services, engineering and architecture. Participants were, on average, 34 years old; 33 per cent held managerial positions, while 50 per cent worked in the public sector.

The researchers, who reported their study in the journal Human Relations, measured various types of organisational commitments like whether employees identified with a company's goals and values and whether they felt an obligation to stay.

"It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organisation, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness -- a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time," Panaccio added.

First Published: Thu, May 03 2012. 18:13 IST