An Empirical Investigation of Personality and Situational Predictors of Job Burnout

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Empirical research exploring the complex phenomenon of job burnout is still considered to be in its infancy stage. One clearly established stream of research, though, has focused on the antecedents of the three job burnout components: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. In particular, situational characteristics have received a great deal of attention to date. Four situational factors: (1) role ambiguity, (2) role conflict, (3) quantitative role overload, and (4) organizational support were included in this analysis to test their significance as predictors of job burnout. Another set of antecedents that has received far less attention in job burnout research ... continued below

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viii, 180 leaves

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Caudill, Helene L. (Helene Litowsky) December 1996.

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  • Caudill, Helene L. (Helene Litowsky)

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Empirical research exploring the complex phenomenon of job burnout is still considered to be in its infancy stage. One clearly established stream of research, though, has focused on the antecedents of the three job burnout components: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. In particular, situational characteristics have received a great deal of attention to date. Four situational factors: (1) role ambiguity, (2) role conflict, (3) quantitative role overload, and (4) organizational support were included in this analysis to test their significance as predictors of job burnout.
Another set of antecedents that has received far less attention in job burnout research is personal dispositions. Individual differences, most notably personality traits, may help us understand why some employees experience burnout whereas others do not, even within the same work environment. Four personality characteristics: (1) self-esteem, (2) locus of control, (3) communal orientation, and (4) negative affectivity were included to test their significance as predictors of job burnout.
An on-site, self-report survey instrument was used. A sample of 149 human service professionals employed at a large government social services department voluntarily participated in this research. The main data analysis techniques used to test the research hypotheses were canonical correlation analysis and hierarchical analysis of sets.
While role ambiguity showed no significant associations with any of the three job burnout components, the remaining situational factors had at least one significant association. Among all the situational characteristics, quantitative role overload was the strongest situational predictor of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, while organizational support was the strongest situational predictor of personal accomplishment.
The personality predictor set as a whole showed a significant relationship with each of the job burnout components, providing strong proof that dispositional effects are important in predicting job burnout. Among all the personality characteristics, negative affectivity was the strongest personality predictor of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, while communal orientation was the strongest personality predictor of personal accomplishment.
Comparisons between the personality and situational predictor sets revealed that personality characteristics were the stronger predictor for all three of the job burnout components. No interactions among the situational and personality predictors proved significant.

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viii, 180 leaves

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  • December 1996

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  • March 26, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

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Caudill, Helene L. (Helene Litowsky). An Empirical Investigation of Personality and Situational Predictors of Job Burnout, dissertation, December 1996; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278937/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .