Competent subordinates and Managers’ perception: A Threat or an Asset - An Empirical Evidence from the Higher Education Sector of Pakistan


  • Sadia Arshad Department of Business Administration, Kinnaird College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Leena Anum Department of Management Sciences, Lahore Garrison University, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Rafique Ahmad Khan Department of Business Studies, Bahria University Islamabad Campus, Islamabad.
  • Hira Najam Business Administration, Department of Business Administration, Kinnaird College for Women University, Lahore.
  • Tahir Alyas Department of Computer Science, Lahore Garrison University, Lahore, Pakistan.



Manager’s feeling of insecurity, Subordinate’s feeling of ostracism, Manager’s perception of competent subordinate, Core self-evaluation, Emotional exhaustion


Workforce, by becoming more acquainted and versed in recent times proposes a predicament for managers who have years of experience at their hand. Managers who had been part of an organization for handsome numbers of years, expect to have a steadfast position, but get insecure in presence of competent and proficient subordinates, hence the dilemma has its toll on both workforce and organization. The germination of hostile behavior in response to insecurity, considered as workplace ostracism is a contaminant for the physical and mental well-being of the victim and thus has adverse outcomes in the form of emotional exhaustion.

This paper aimed at studying the impact of managers’ feeling of insecurity on emotional exhaustion of employee, through mediating effect of managers’ perception of competent subordinates and subordinates’ feeling of ostracism. In fact an effort was made to examine the complexities of competent workforce behavior and response of managers towards their competent subordinates. In current experiential research, hypotheses were developed and a structured questionnaire, comprising part A (for HODs and Professors) & part B (for all other faculty members), was used to conduct research survey, adopting convenient sampling technique. A sample of 180 respondents was chosen for statistical analysis of the data. The data were treated using statistical tools including Cronbach’s Alpha, Chi square, Regression analysis, CFA and Process Hayes, with help of software SPSS version 23. Findings of the study support all hypotheses have been accepted and manager’s feeling of insecurity does translate into behavior that is conceived ostracism by the subordinate. Managers’ insecurity is also a potential cause for ostracism and emotional exhaustion. When managers are insecure, they perceive the competent subordinates as challengers, rather than colleagues. The study is considered quite useful for the management of higher education sector / public sector Universities. It is equally beneficial for the researchers and academicians and other public and private educational institutions.