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ISSN : 2234-3040(Print)
ISSN : 2234-3059(Online)
The East Asian Journal of Business Management Vol.5 No.4 pp.19-28

The Influence of Verbal Aggression on Job Involvement and Turnover Intention: The Moderating Effect of Self-esteem

Jun-Hwa Song*, Nam-Gyum Lee**, Il-Young Hwang***, Soo-Wook Lee****
*First Author, Department of Management Graduate School, Chungbuk National University, Korea. Email :
**Visiting Professor, Department of Business Administration, Chungbuk National University, Korea. Email: khyibsh
***Co-Author, Visiting Professor, Kwangwoon University, Korea. Email:
****Co-Author, Associate Professor, Kwangwoon Academy, Korea. Email:
**Corresponding Author, Visiting Professor, Department of Business Administration, Chungbuk National University, Korea. Email:
August 18, 2015 October 03, 2015 October 15, 2015


Purpose – Research shows that increased workload and psychological pressure produces tensions in organizations. Such tensions can increase employee aggressive workplace behavior. This study attempted to discover the relationship among verbal aggression, job involvement, and turnover intention. Research design, data, and methodology – A survey of administrative workers in colleges was done between May 20 and May 26, 2015.
Result – The findings were as follows. First, verbal aggression directly increased employee turnover intention. Second, stress recognition also created turnover intention among employees, which was detected in the interviews conducted after the survey. Third, both the survey and the interviews showed that stress recognition did not have a significant effect on job involvement. Fourth, both the findings and the interviews after the survey showed that stress increased turnover intention. Last, the finding on the role of self-esteem showed that self-esteem had a positive moderating effect on the relationship between the influence of verbal aggression and stress recognition.
Conclusion – Having strong talent at work should lower turnover intention and turnover rates and develop the organization continuously.

JEL Classifications: M1, M12, L20.


 1. Introduction

These days, the society has become complicated and multi-sided to live in a lot of information and to increase roles and responsibility of members of the organization to let members job burden as well as psychological pressure. The psychological pressure has bad influence upon not only job demand in the or-ganization but also human relations. The aggressive behavior has bad influence upon human relations from point of view of characteristics and response: The aggressive behavior is said to think much of behavioral result and to give harmful stimulus to other organism(Buss, 1961). The aggressive behavior hurts a person to give harm to his or her belongings(Westling & Fox, 1995), and to be goal oriented response with intention giving harm to others and to be physical and verbal behavior and hurt others intentionally (Berkowitz, 1974).

Modern corporate organization manages and makes use of human resources effectively to create management outcome of corporate organization and to manage continuously and to be the most strategic and important factor in order to have com-petitiveness edge at competition with other corporate organizations. The service organization's attitude toward shop is said to be consumers' overall rating on the shop(Wang, Lee & Park, 2013). Consumers' attitude toward shop has played medi-ating role between shops and purchase intention. The purchase behavior, a kind of the product, connects cognition with attitude that has influence upon purchase intention and to express neg-ative emotion by attitude and to evaluate shop(Kim, Fan & Youn, 2007). Salesmen at service business are sole contact point with customers so that customer service has great influ-ence upon outcome of the sales shop(Crosby et al., 1990). Contact point with customers needs to control stress, and stress of human relations has occupied large portion. Not only effective control of human resources but also members' pride makes members cognize values of job to control unnecessary stress at aggressive behavior. Organizational member's stress may give energy, tension, higher performance, growth and development up to appropriate level, and excessive stress can create heart disease, stomach ulcer, hyper tension, insomnia, depression, ex-haustion, low performance, high accident rate, wrong deci-sion-making and other bad results, and death at the worst case. genetic factor and social support may mediate between stress source and outcome, and individual's stress level and result may vary depending upon moderator variables(Kim, Song, Jeong & Park, 2015).

Organizational member's job has various kinds of character-stics of the nature, for instance, self-esteem. The one who has high self-esteem tends to have high goal and job accomplish-ment and to be responsible for goal accomplishment as well as job completion and to have relatively high performance (Kim et al., 2013).

The one who takes actions to job stress less sensitively has higher job satisfaction and happiness index than the one with loss self-esteem has. The self-esteem was found to play crea-tiveness at workplace(Kim et al., 2011). So, members' develop-ment of self-esteem was certain to have great influence upon organizational effectiveness.

This study investigated effects of verbal aggression between members and between boss and subordinate upon stress of or-ganizational members. And, the study investigated mediating ef-fects depending upon members' stress perceived to verify ef-fects upon members' job involvement and turnover intention. In this study, an empirical investigation was done to examine mod-erating effects of verbal aggression upon stress perception and to give implications.

2. Theoretical Background

2.1. Investigation into Verbal Aggression

The aggression is said to give the other party psychological pains or to have such a will(Straus, 1991). The verbal ag-gression that is sub group of aggressive behavior belongs to emotional abuse to give the other party psychological wound by language(Choi, 2012). The verbal aggression is said to be ver-bal behavior that makes a fool of other person and gives other person abuse saying and/or behavior and abuses person-ality(Infante & Wigley, 1986). The verbal aggression is said to give psychological and/or social harm to the other party by language. The aggression includes passive aggression, direct aggression, and self-avoiding aggression(Kauffman, 1981), and direct aggression consists of verbal aggression and physical aggression. The verbal aggression that makes appearance in di-rect aggression includes shouting, making fool, abuse, quarrel, giving order in harsh attitude and insult, and so on. Aggression consisted of violence, indirect aggression, excitement, negativity, verbal aggression, sense of guilt and hostility, and verbal ag-gression is said to threaten and/or curse by language(Buss and Dukee, 1957).

2.2. Stress Perception

The stress is said to adapt to behavior, situation and pre-liminary result (Ivancevich & Matteson, 1996) to vary depending upon individual. The stress is not situation itself but adaptation to the situation to have different stress strength depending upon individual(Kim et al., 2013).

The stress perception is said to accept psychological stimulus and pressure and others at living life as stress situation(Han, 2012). The stress perception allows a person to decide upon re-lations of the stress with him or her at a situation, and to de cide upon loss, challenge and threat of the situation, and stress is not produced under external environment to let individual per-ceive and evaluate the case and to decide upon threat factor and stress(Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). The stress perception has close relation with individual's cognitive evaluation on the stress of a case to be given psychological and physical influ-ence depending upon individual's stress perception.

Precedent studies on the stress investigated reaction in cog-nitive process and stimulus level that is pure stimulus of stress and/or case to be stress factor and/or variable.

2.3. Job Involvement and Turnover Intention

2.3.1. Job Involvement

Organizational administrators paid attention to subordinate's attitude toward job that human resource was thought to be important. Individuals were the most important for organization to get outcome, and human desire and/or attitude were likely to connect good behavior and outcome. Job involvement may in-crease organizational effectiveness by connecting individuals and/or organization(Shin, 2003).

Job involvement was said to let an individual have psycho-logical integration on his or her job or to have psychological in-tegration on the value of the job (Lodahl & Kejner, 1965). Job involvement could increase as much as individual's job perform-ance had influence upon self-esteem.

Job involvement was said to let an individual devote to cur-rent job according to belief on relation with current job to decide by not only desire expression but also cognition of desire sat-isfaction possibility(Kanugo, 1982). Job involvement differs from not only work involvement but also organizational involvement to have concrete and specific job context and belief in current job and to decide by satisfaction of current desire(Modway et al., 1982).

2.3.2. Turnover intention

Turnover is said to be a member of the organization and to lose qualification of members and to indicate intention and will of turnover and to forecast turnover by in-vestigating turnover intention(Oh, 2010).

Turnover intention differed from turnover, and turnover in-tention is much likely to be turnover that an empirical study inspected(Bae, 2012). Turnover intention was known to be the largest precedent variable of turnover (Bluedorn, 1982; Mobley et al., 1979).

Turnover intention was said to be idea and intention to leave current organization(Mowday et al., 1982). Turnover in-tention was said to react to job dissatisfaction and to move from current job to another job (Lawler & Hall, 1970).

The turnover intention consists of some factors, for instance, individuals, organization, working environment and job contents. Individual factor includes age, service time, occupational apti-tude, personality, consideration to the family, marital status, posi-tion, and educational background. Factors of organization, work environment and job contents include salary, promotion oppor-tunity, organizational involvement, role expectation, job character-istics, boss administration type, and job satisfaction(Shin, 1994).

2.4. Precedent Studies

2.4.1. Verbal aggression, job involvement and turnover intention

The one who communicated well had was eager to argue to have less verbal aggression (Martin and Anderson, 1996). The one with much verbal aggression tended to react 2.4.2. Verbal Aggression and Stress-tion less and to have low human relations skill.

Communication between team members, communication at occurrence of problem in the team and communication atmos-phere may have influence upon not only job satisfaction but a-lso relation between team members, and verbal aggression was found to have negative influence upon relations between team members(Kim, 1998).

A study on nurses at special department said that boss ver-bal aggression had relation with turnover intention(Kim, 2009). Verbal violence that clinical nurses experienced could increase turnover intention(Oh, 2010).

2.4.2. Verbal Aggression and Stress

The one who experienced verbal aggression and other in the work felt inconvenience and shame continuously to have post traumatic stress disorder at worst case(Lutgen-Sndvik, 2008).

Offender who did aggressive behavior bullied others for his or her own sake to be given negative influence finally: This was because a lot of efforts were needed to bully another person to exhaust an individual's limited resources (Song, 2014).

The offender who did verbal aggression and other bully made effort to cognize gave up puzzle game requiring cognitive efforts earlier to feel negative emotion more than the one who did not offend did(Baumeister et al., 2001). The offender thought that bullying of the one whom he or she hated would be easy, and was exhausted psychologically regardless of feeling and/or impression toward target(Song, 2014).

The stress that one cognizes personal values and/or emotion under specific environment has negative influence upon the one who is given stress to produce bad atmosphere in the work and to have negative influence upon others(Kram & Hall, 1989).

2.4.3. Stress Perception, Job involvement and Turnover Intention

A study on hotel restaurant employee's hosting and complaint settlement, stress was found to have negative influence upon job involvement(Lee, 2012), and nursery school teacher's job stress had negative influence upon job involvement(Hong, 2012).

Long-time stress may produce psychological and/or physical problems to decrease performance and job satisfaction and to be short of motivation(Jackson & Schuler, 1985). Job stress control is thought to be important to elevate organizational members' satisfaction and to increase job involvement(Kim, Ryu & Park, 2011).

Not only definition on the stress but also parameters of job satisfaction were used to verify significant relations between job stress, absence and turnover(Park, 2007). First, job stresses had harmful influence upon most of employees to produce bad job environment. Second, withdrawal behavior that had influence upon job stress and satisfaction had indirect relation. In precedent studies on the stress, stress factors produced stress to have negative influence upon turnover intention(Quick, Quick, Nelson & Hurrel, 1997).

2.4.4. Precedent Studies on Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is said to be individual's thinking of valuable existence by himself or herself, and to be respected by himself or herself(Rosenberg, 1965), and to have relations with negative and/or positive evaluation on him or her, and to think of self-respect and valuable person; And, the one with high self-esteem thinks that all of his or her lives were valuable to live life well in the society, and the one with low self-esteem thinks that he or she was of no value abused him and/or her to have complex and depression(Rosenberg, 1979). The one with high self-esteem relied upon him or her had confidence of his or her job to pursue goals steadily(Kim and Ham, 2007). The one with high self-esteem had self-control, self-determination and autonomy to let him or her be treated to be important person, and the one with low self-esteem was short of self-respect to regard him or her as valueless person to be unimportant and improper(Coopersmith, 1967). Self-esteem formation had two factors: The one was respect, acceptance and interest from others, while the other was individual's experience of success and failure to have objective position and social status.

3. Models and Hypotheses

3.1. Models

The members' psychological pressure had worse influence upon not only job demand from organization but also human relations, and verbal aggression at the work was one of problems of human relations.

Organizational members' stress in the organization should be controlled, and stress of human relations occupied large portion. The stress at aggressive behavior should be controlled to let members have pride of the organization and to cognize their jobs being valuable. Studies on perception of verbal aggression in the work including sexual harassment, rough words and others being given attention in the society were insufficient.

This study investigated effects of verbal aggression upon organizational members' stress. And, the study examined effects of members' stress upon job involvement and turnover intention

In this study, verbal aggression was set to be independent variable, and stress perception was done to be parameter, and job involvement and turnover intention were done to be dependent variable. Research models were made according to theoretical background. See <Figure 1>.

<Figure 1> Research Model

3.2. Hypotheses

Aggressive behavior in the work produced a lot of expenses of not only employees but also organization to have negative influence that should be controlled. Aggressive behavior in the work deteriorated employee's productivity to decrease organizational effects(Muafi, 2011). The behavior that was accepted to be normal process might have adverse influence upon individual's body and psychology because of difficulty and/or avoidance and to hinder work and/or job experience(Johnson, 2009).

Verbal aggression message could decrease relational satisfaction(Infante and Rancer, 1993). Verbal aggression inclination gave adverse function to the organizational members who communicated(Anderson & Martin, 1999). Hypotheses were used:

<Hypothesis 1> Organization member's verbal aggression lowers job involvement.
<Hypothesis 2> Organization member's verbal aggression raises turnover intention.

In qualitative study on turnover intention of beginning nurse, beginner nurses often considered turnover at human relations stress including conflicts with boss and/or fellow nurses(Lee et al., 2013). For instance, beginner nurses suffered from verbal aggression such as neglecting attitude and speech, emotional pressure in relation to job, blaming atmosphere between fellow nurses, superficial relations, takeover of job from senior nurse and other bullying.

In a study on clinical nurse's turnover experience, poor human relations with fellow nurses lowered job satisfaction to consider turnover(Lee and Kim, 2008). Hypothesis was used:

<Hypothesis 3> Verbal aggression increases member's stress perception.

Increase of the stress may produce enormous losses from point of view of person and organization. The stress has influence upon low performance ability, dissatisfaction and alienation and other psychological factors from point of individuals to have great influence upon individual's health. Members were given stress to lower productivity as well as organizational involvement and to increase turnover and/or absence and to worsen job performance(Kwon, 2003).

Excess stress may lower job performance quality, absence, and conflict with boss and/or fellow workers(Beehr & Newman, 1978). As a result, the one who was dissatisfied with job considered turnover.

The one who had high social and psychological stress and less toughness has high turnover intention(Park, 2013a). In a study on newcomer nurses, High self-resilience and job stress could increase turnover intention(Park, 2013b). Role ambiguity and conflict that could create job stress had indirect influence upon job satisfaction and physical symptom(Kemery et al., 1985). Job related stress had negative influence upon organizational effectiveness and turnover intention and others(Park, 2007). Hypotheses were used:

<Hypothesis 4> Organizational member's high stress perception lowers job involvement.
<Hypothesis 5> Organizational member's high stress perception increases turnover intention.

The one who had high self-esteem to control self-system of emotion cognition with motives of constancy and self-enhancement was defensive under threatening situation to be self-service and to be exclusive and to accept selective information and to forecast psychological health by stable self-esteem(Kernis and Goldman, 2002). The one who did not meet high conditional self-esteem standard produced un-safety, worthlessness and low self-esteem to make use of self-deception and self-enhancement and to have difficulty at mental health same as individuals with self-love(Kim, 1998). Unstable and high self-esteem group with high conditional self-esteem could not protect incompetence by high self-esteem. The group felt incompetence less at ordinary times by using high self-esteem, and experienced incompetence the most under frustration and/or self-esteem threatened(Kim, 1998). Hypothesis was used:

<Hypothesis 6> Organizational member's self-esteem is effective to have influence upon stress perception by verbal aggression.

3.3. Material Collection and Analysis

3.3.1. Selection of the Sample and Material Collection

This study investigated effects of verbal aggression between organizational members and between boss and members upon members stress. And, the study investigated effects of members stress upon job involvement and turnover intention. The subject was administrative staffs at 11 universities in Chungcheong and Metropolitan Area (Seoul, Gyeonggi). Questionnaire survey was used. 450 copies were used. After excluding questionnaire with centralization, poor answer and no response, 410 copies were finally used. SPSS 19.0 was used. Interview was done.

<Table 1> Interviewees

The interviewees had demographic features: men (48.5%) and women (51%), and married (37.3%) and unmarried (61.2%). Ages were 25 years old or younger (28.3%), 26 to 30 years old (24.1%), 31 to 35 years old (14.9%), 36 to 40 years old (10.2%), 41 to 45 years old (9.8%), 46 to 50 years old (4.6%), and 51 years old or more (7.6%). Service years were: Less than 1 year (32.9%), 3 to 5 years (23.4%), 5 to 10 years (8%),10 to 15 years (11.5%), 15 to 20 years (7.8%), 20 years or more (15.6%). See .<Table 1>.

3.3.2. Questionnaires

The questionnaire had contents, measuring items and sources <Table 2>:

<Table 2> Contents and Sources

3.3.3. Empirical Analysis

SPSS 19.0 was used. Frequency and Cronbach’s co α - efficient were used to inspect demographic characteristics and internal consistency. Items that worsened reliability were excluded. Exploratory factor analysis was done to verify uni-dimension and validity of the variables, and regression analysis was done to inspect effects of independent variables upon types of dependent variables. Regression was done to inspect mediating effects between parameters and dependent variables.

4. The Findings

4.1. Reliability and Validity

4.1.1. Reliability

Reliability test should be done prior to validity test(Nunnally, 1970). Cronbach's α coefficient was used to verify consistency. Reliability analysis was done to inspect variables to have internal consistency with reliability of 0.713∼0.925. See <table 3>.

<Table 3> Factor Analysis and Reliability

4.1.2. Validity

Varimax rotation was used to inspect validity. In this study, questions that had variable with 0.4 or more of factor loading and 1 or more of Eigen value and 0.5 or more of communality were used. Exploratory factor analysis was done after excluding variables that did not reach loading value to have 0.5 or less of communality and less than 1 of Eigen value. At factor analysis, most of factor loading exceeded 0.6 to have construct validity of all of variables <table 3>.

4.2. Hypotheses Test

Correlation between factors was tested prior to hypothesis test. Correlation test results were<table 4>.

<table 4> Correlation between factors

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

<Hypothesis 1> Organizational members' verbal aggression lowers job involvement.

Regression analysis was done to verify hypothesis 1 <Table 5>: The findings of regression between verbal aggression and job involvement was not significant <Table 5>. Hypothesis 1 was rejected because verbal aggression had no influence upon job involvement.

<Table 5> Regression between verbal aggression and job involvement

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

<Hypothesis 2> Organizational member's verbal aggression in-creases turnover intention.

Regression was done to verify hypothesis <Table 6>:

<Table 6> Regression between verbal aggression and turnover intention

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

Regression between verbal aggression and turnover intention was <Table 6>: The findings were significant (t=8.759, p<.000), and verbal aggression had significant influence upon employee's turnover intention. Hypothesis 2 was adopted.

<Hypothesis 3> Verbal aggression increases stress perception. Regression was done to verify hypothesis 3 <Table 7>:

<Table 7> Regression between verbal aggression and stress perception

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

The regression between verbal aggression and stress percep-tion was <Table 7>: The findings were significant (t=14.266,p<.05) and verbal aggression had significant influence upon employee's stress perception. Hypothesis 3 was adopted.

<Hypothesis 4> Organizational member's stress perception lowers job involvement.

Regression was used to verify hypothesis 4 <Table 8>:

<Table 8> Regression between stress perception and job involvement

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

Regression between employee's stress perception and job involvement was not significant <Table 8>: Employee's stress perception had no significant influence upon job involvement. Hypothesis 4 was rejected.

<Hypothesis 5> Organizational member's high stress increases turnover intention.

Regression was used to verify hypothesis 5 <Table 9>.

<Table 9> Regression between stress perception and turnover intention

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

Regression between employee's stress perception and turnover intention was <Table 10>. The employee's stress perception had influence upon turnover intention (β = .572) to be significant (t = 14.033, p<.05). The employee's stress perception had significant influence upon turnover intention. Hypothesis 5 was adopted.

Multiple regression was used <Table 10>.

To find out mutual reaction significantly confirmed <Table 10> , the study classified interviewees into group with high self-esteem and the one with low self-esteem to investigate relation between verbal aggression and stress.

The one with high self-esteem who listened to aggressive language was given more stress, while the one with low self esteem was given less stress from aggressive language.

<Table 10> Moderating effect of self-esteem between verbal aggression and stress perception

*<.01, **<.05, ***<.001

5. Conclusion

This study investigated effect of verbal aggression between organizational members and between boss and members upon organizational members' stress, and effects of member's stress upon job involvement and turnover intention. The purpose of the study was to investigate effects of stress perception at verbal aggression upon job involvement and turnover intention, and to give implications for effective control of human resources. Hypotheses were used. An empirical investigation was done investigate effects of stress perception upon job involvement and turnover intention. The findings were:

First, verbal aggression had influence upon sub factors of organizational effectiveness(Zapf, 1999) to have no significant relation with job involvement. The interviewees said: "I worked what to do despite much blame from boss and/or senior worker and to be given prize after completion and to devote to what to do regardless of verbal aggression.", "I was scolded regarding what to do, and thought of taking corrective actions, and was devoted to my work by finding out a solution." As such, other factors had strong influence upon job involvement. Inherent control position, self-esteem, motivation and conscience had influence upon job involvement(Colquitt et al., 2000). Second, hypothesis 2 was used: Verbal aggression had significant influence upon turnover intention. Third, hypothesis 3 was used: Regression between verbal aggression and stress perception was significant. Verbal aggression from boss and/or senior worker had significant influence upon member's stress perception. Fourth, hypothesis 4 was used: Stress percept ion had no significant influence upon job involvement that differed from findings of studyon local government officials(Kim & Ham, 2007), study on hotel restaurant employees(Lee, 2012), and study on nursery school teachers (Hong, 2012). On the other hand, some studies had different findings: Stress perception had no consistent influence upon stress perception (Quick et al., 1997). Job stress of geriatric care workers had significantly low relation with job involvement(Lee, Roh & Kang, 2012). Fifth, hypothesis 5 was used: Stress perception had significant influence upon turnover intention.

The one with high self-esteem who heard aggressive saying was given more stress, while the one with low self esteem who heard aggressive saying was given less stress.

Verbal aggression had no significant influence upon job involvement. Verbal aggression had significant influence upon organizational members' stress. And, organizational member's stress had significant influence upon turnover intention and had no significant influence upon job involvement. The one with good talent in the work should lower turnover intention and turnover rate to keep and develop organization continuously and to create performance effectively by control of aggressive verbal behavior and violence and effective outcome creation and no bullying in the work and feedback for members' self-esteem. Verbal aggression often occurred at colleges having high educational level and training talented persons to require immediate reactions.




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