Objective The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of work organisation on the emotional labour withdrawal behaviour of Australian community nurses. Methods Using a paper-based survey, a sample of 312 Australian community nurses reported on their emotional dissonance, withdrawal behaviours (i.e. job neglect, job dissatisfaction, stress-related presenteeism) and work organisation. A model to determine the partial mediation effect of work organisation was developed based on a literature review. The fit of the proposed model was assessed via structural equation modelling using Analysis of Moment Structures (AMOS; IMB). Results Community nurses with higher levels of emotional dissonance were less likely to be satisfied with their job and work organisation and had a higher tendency to exhibit withdrawal behaviours. Work organisational factors mediated this relationship. Conclusion Emotional dissonance can be a potential stressor for community nurses that can trigger withdrawal behaviours. Improving work organisational factors may help reduce emotional conflict and its effect on withdrawal behaviours. What is known about the topic? Although emotional labour has been broadly investigated in the literature, very few studies have addressed the effect of the quality of work organisation on nurses’ withdrawal behaviours in a nursing setting. What does this paper add? This paper provides evidence that work organisation affects levels of emotional dissonance and has an effect on job neglect through stress-related presenteeism. What are the implications for practitioners? In order to minimise stress-related presenteeism and job neglect, healthcare organisations need to establish a positive working environment, designed to improve the quality of relationships with management, provide appropriate rewards, recognition and effective workload management and support high-quality relationships with colleagues.