Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Role of Organizational Socialization in Burnout: A Taiwanese Example

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Role of Organizational Socialization in Burnout: A Taiwanese Example

Article excerpt

Previous research predominantly used the conservation of resources (COR) model (Schaufeli & Enzmann, 1998) and the job demands-resources (JD-R) model (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001) to explain burnout. In this study, organizational socialization was examined as a factor to explain and more completely understand burnout. Results from a sample of 397 employees in people-oriented professions and organizations in Taiwan revealed that organizational socialization was significantly related to all three components of burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. The strength of the prediction was particularly apparent on the dimension of reduced personal accomplishment. The use of organizational socialization as an effective predictor of burnout is a significant departure from previous research.

Keywords: burnout, job demands, organizational socialization, people-oriented, employees, emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment.

Burnout has a negative impact on both individuals and organizations, causing depression, absenteeism, physical illness, diminished organizational commitment, lowered performance, and increases in staff turnover (see Cordes & Dougherty, 1993; Maslach & Goldberg, 1998, for reviews). These negative outcomes mean prevention and reduction of burnout remains an important issue for organizations. Burnout is defined as a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion (feelings of being emotionally overextended and depleted of one's emotional resources), depersonalization (a negative, cynical, or excessively detached response to other people), and reduced personal accomplishment (a decline in feelings of competence and productivity at work) (Maslach, 1993). The two dominant models that have been used in previous studies for explaining burnout are the conservation of resources (COR) model and the job demands-resources (JD-R) model (see Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004, for a review). The COR model posits that stress and burnout occur when individuals perceive that their work-related demands are too high, their work-related resources are threatened or lost, or the return on resources following an investment of resources is insufficient (Schaufeli & Enzmann, 1998, p. 107). The JD-R model, which is built on the COR model, posits that burnout develops irrespective of the type of occupation, when job demands are high and job resources are limited (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001). The two congenerous models have been extensively researched with a focus on identifying indicators that effectively predict burnout (e.g., Bakker, Demerouti, & Verbeke, 2004; Fernet, Guay, & Senécal, 2003; Ito & Britheridge, 2003; Janssen, Schaufeli, & Houkes, 1999; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004). Based on these studies the most widely chosen indicators related specifically to job demands are; workload, role ambiguity, and role conflict. The most widely chosen indicator related to job resources is social support (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001).

Although the COR and JD-R models make contributions to the understanding of burnout, a problem exists: the relationship between the indicators chosen by the two models and reduced personal accomplishment is inconsistent. Among the three components of burnout, emotional exhaustion represents the basic stress dimension. Depersonalization represents the interpersonal dimension of burnout that develops in response to emotional exhaustion (Maslach & Goldberg, 1998). However, of the three components, reduced personal accomplishment is more frequently seen by scholars as problematic, from the standpoint of model construction. The personal accomplishment component represents the self-evaluation dimension of burnout and appears to develop separately, rather than sequentially, from the other two burnout components (Maslach et al., 2001). Since empirical studies have shown that reduced personal accomplishment has a less consistent relationship with basic organizational outcomes (e. …

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