Previous studies have found that role stressors are related to employee withdrawal responses, although the relationships have been rather indirect. The present study examined the mediation effect of strain on the relationships between role stressors and three withdrawal responses (i.e. cynicism, reduced professional efficacy and diminished organizational commitment) among a sample of Malaysian public university academics. We collected data from 357 academics and additional data 6 months later from 210 of these academics. Results showed that role stressors were associated with withdrawal behaviours via strain. Strain mediated the relationships between role ambiguity and all three withdrawal responses and the relationship between role conflict and cynicism. These results suggest that academic managers should focus on resolving role ambiguity to enhance academics' well-being, commitment and professional efficacy. Copyright Â© 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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