An examination of the role of psychological safety in the relationship between job resources, affective commitment and turnover intentions of Australian employees with chronic illness

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Globally a growing proportion of employees are experiencing some form of chronic illness that may substantially impact on their work role, resulting in perceptions of vulnerability and insecurity. The implications of chronic illness for employees are, however, largely overlooked by researchers and human resource practitioners. This study examines the relationship between job resources, perceptions of psychological safety at work, affective commitment and turnover intentions for employees with chronic illness (N = 92) compared to a referent group of general employees (N = 512). Using multigroup SEM analysis the results demonstrate that psychological safety partially mediates the relationship between job resources and affective commitment for both groups of employees; however, the effect is significantly greater for the chronically ill. An unexpected finding was that the relationship between affective commitment and turnover intentions was stronger for the referent group. The results suggest that the development of a workplace environment characterized by feelings of safety, interpersonal trust and mutual respect will assist in the development of an inclusive organizational climate for this vulnerable group of employees. Our study responds to the call for current theoretical models of work stress and well-being to be more representative and inclusive of marginalized workers, including the chronically ill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1641
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2016


  • affective commitment
  • chronic illness
  • job resources
  • turnover intentions psychological safety

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