Academic journal article International Management Review

Burnout among Employees of a Multinational Corporation in Malaysia and Pakistan: An Empirical Examination

Academic journal article International Management Review

Burnout among Employees of a Multinational Corporation in Malaysia and Pakistan: An Empirical Examination

Article excerpt

[Abstract]

This study examined the relationship of job stress with burnout, job satisfaction and health problems among employees working in a large North American-based multinational corporation in Malaysia (N = 305) and Pakistan (N = 325). Data were collected from employees by means of a structured questionnaire about overall job stress, job stressors, work overload, ambiguity, conflict, resource inadequacy, and three dependent variables. Bivariate multiple regression and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to test the nature of the relationship between the measures of job stress and the dependent variables. In both countries, significant relationships were found between the measures of job stress and burnout, job satisfaction, and health problems. Overall, 90 percent of comparisons supported the linear relationship between the measures of job stress and the dependent variables. Only in 10 percent of instances was the u-shaped/curvilinear relationship between the measures of job stress and dependent variables supported. Implications of the findings are discussed for future cross- cultural research.

[keywords] Employee; multinational corporation; Malaysia; Pakistan

Introduction

The present study examined the relationship of job stress and job stressors with burnout among employees working in a large multinational corporation in Malaysia (N = 305) and Pakistan (N = 325). A number of reviews of occupational mental health have highlighted the importance of understanding stress and burnout relationship for the well-being of the employees and employing organization (Baba, Jamal and Tourigny, 1998; Beehr, 1998; Lepine, Podsakoff, and Lepine, 2005; Maslach, 2003). Job stress has been labelled as one of the most serious occupational hazards of modern time in industrialized countries (Dollard and Winefield, 1996; Jamal, 2005). Work-related stress affects employee health with 50-70 percent of diseases being psychosomatic or stress-related in nature (Jamal and Badawi, 1993; Daley and Parfitt, 1996). Moreover, the reported cost of work-related stress has been increasing quite rapidly in industrialized countries (Siu and Cooper, 1998). In the United States, the cost of stress and stress-related problems to employers has been estimated at approximately $150 billion annually (Donatelle and Hawkins, 1989). In the United Kingdom, the cost to industry associated with replacing personnel who underperform due to stress is estimated to be approximately $4500 million (Cox, Leather, and Cox, 1990; Siu and Cooper, 1998).

Burnout, on the other hand, has also been recognized as an occupational hazard with peopleoriented professions, such as health care, human services and education (Maslach, 2003). It was first identified in the mid-1970's and its main features included emotional exhaustion, feelings of frustration, anger and cynicism, and a sense of ineffectiveness and failure. The experience impairs both personal and social functioning (Maslach and Goldberg, 1998). The present study was guided by Maslach's General Model of Burnout in which job stress and stressors, such as work overload, ambiguity, conflict, and resource inadequacy, lead to feelings of burnout that, in turn, lead to job dissatisfaction and health problems (Maslach, 2003; Maslach, Schaufeli and Leiter, 2001).

Both job stress and burnout constructs have been developed and empirically tested primarily in developed industrialized countries (Glazer and Beehr, 2005; Jamal, 1999). Their portability and usefulness to developing countries have rarely been tested despite repeated suggestions to do so (Carr and Pudelko, 2006; Jamal, 2005). In this respect, the present research contributes to cross-cultural management literature by examining the nature of the relationship between job stress and burnout among employees working in a North Americanbased multinational company in two developing countries, Malaysia and Pakistan. Our choice of Malaysia and Pakistan as research settings was based not only on practical considerations but also on the suggested empirical findings that these two countries differ from the western countries (i. …

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