When power hurts: An explorative study on the relationship between toxic leadership, emotional exhaustion, turnover intention and job satisfaction


  • Ginevra Gravili
  • Amelia Manuti University of bari
  • Viviana Meirinhos




The present study is aimed to two related objectives: 1) to make a systematic review of the relationship between toxic leadership, burnout and turnover intentions in the workplace 2) to use this knowledge to investigate if and to what extent a toxic leadership style might negatively impact workers' burnout and turnover intentions. This second objective was pursuedconducting a survey focused on a convenience sample of 156 employees (48% males and 50% females), working in small and medium enterprises across Italy.

The structured questionnaire adopted is composed of validated measures of emotional exhaustion (Sirigatti et al. 1988 ), toxic leadership (Schmidt, 2008), turnover intention (Mobley et al., 1978) and job satisfaction (Wanous et al., 1997). Results showed that all dimensions of burnout and turnover intentions were positively related to toxic leadership. Limitations of the study as well as practical implications for research and practice in HRM are discussed.