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The study investigated influence of perceived organizational support and self efficacy on
burnout among nurses. Two hundred and nine (209) nurses from Federal Medical Centre
Umuahia participated in the study. Among them were 2 males and 207 females. The
Perceived Organizational Support Scale, General Self Efficacy Scale and Maslach
Burnout Inventory were used to elicit the participants’ responses on burnout. A crosssectional
survey design was employed and 2-way ANOVA was used to test the two
hypotheses. The result showed a significant difference on burnout between nurses with
perceived low organizational support and those with perceived high organizational
support F (1, 205) = 14.62, P<.001. The result revealed no significant difference on
burnout between nurses with low self efficacy and those with high self efficacy. The
interaction effect between perceived organizational support and self efficacy on burnout
is significant F (1, 205) =4.30, P<.05. The findings of the study were discussed with
reference to possible socio-cultural variables that can account for the results obtained.
Implications and limitations were also discussed and suggestions for further studies are


Dedication i
Acknowledgment ii
Abstract iii
Table of contents iv
Statement of the problem 8
Purpose of study 9
Operational definition of terms 9
Theoretical review 10
Empirical review 22
Hypotheses 25
Participants 26
Instrument 26
Procedure 29
Design /Statistics 30
Implications of the study 35
Limitations of the study 36
Suggestions for further research 37
Summary and Conclusion 37
References 39


The employee burnout is a topic of major interest for management and
industrial psychological researchers alike, because it has consequential
implication for both individuals and organizations (Cropanzano, Rupp, & Byrne
2003). From the individual perspective, burnouts is related to a myriad of health
related issues, including decreased self- esteem, anxiety, depression, gastro –
intestinal problems, headaches, sleep disturbances, and diminished
psychological well-being (Maslach, 1993; Kahill, 1988; Wright & Bonett, 1997).
From the organizational perspective, burnout is linked with intention to turnover,
decreased level of employee commitment, and job dissatisfaction (Jackson,
Schwab & Schuler, 1986). However, Maslach and Jackson (1986) defined
burnout as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced
personal accomplishment that occur among individuals who do “people work” of
some kind. It seems then that burnout has three dimensions: emotional
exhaustion; which describes the affective feeling states of the individual
characterized by depleted emotional resources, and lack of energy;
depersonalization; which is characterized by negative, cynical attitudes and
feelings about one’s clients. Diminished personal accomplishment refers to the
tendency to evaluate oneself negatively. A sense of diminished personal
accomplishment, which would be increasingly, demonstrated when workers feel
ineffective and incompetent (Maslach, 1982; Lee & Ashforth, 1990).
Contemporarily, burnout is a term that has moved from colloquial speech
into the social and psychological vernacular. There is a growing awareness
within medicine that physicians and other health care professionals are at risk for
burnout, which threatens the sustainability of the health care enterprise. This
feeling of burnout is viewed as a multidimensional construct. Burnout is an
affective reaction to ongoing stress whose core content is the gradual depletion
over time of individuals’ intrinsic energetic resources, including the expression of
emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, and cognitive weariness (Shirom, 1989).
There are many causes of burnout, in which, it stems from the job. Thus anyone
who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout. Burnout is not
caused solely by stressful work or too many responsibilities. Other factors
contribute to burnout, including one’s lifestyle and certain personality traits. Workrelated
causes of burnout includes; feeling of little or no control over one’s work,
lack of recognition or rewards for good work, unclear or overly demanding job
expectations, doing work that is monotonous or unchallenging, working in a
chaotic or high-pressure environment. Lifestyle causes of burnout are among
other things, working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing,
being expected to be too many things to too many people, taking on too many
responsibilities, without enough help from others, not getting enough sleep, lack
of close, supportive relationships.
Burnout is a syndrome characterized by extreme physical and mental
fatigue and emotional exhaustion. In recent time burnout has begun to attract
attention among health care professionals. A wide range of professions
experience burnout, including physicians, educators and nurses. The common
factor of this mentioned group is that all share an intense involvement with
people or provide assistance to people. Maslach and Jackson (1986) maintained
that burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and
reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who do
“people work” of some kind. They modeled that burnout develops in three distinct
Emotional Exhaustion- This describes the affective, feeling state of the individual
characterized by depleted emotional resources and a lack of energy.
Depersonalization: This is characterized by negative, cynical attitudes and
feelings about one’s clients.
Diminished Personal Accomplishment: This is the tendency to evaluate oneself
negatively. Employees experience increased dissatisfaction with their
accomplishments on the job, coupled with a heightened perception of failure to
make work-related progress. Therefore a sense of diminished personal
accomplishment would be increasingly demonstrated when workers feel
ineffective and incompetent (Maslach, & Jackson 1986).
Maslach and Jackson (1977) noted that their concern for burnout is
probably a function of the characteristics of helping professions, the growing
importance of human service delivery is a characteristic of public sector
organizational which may place a burden on service deliverers and
administrators; and create physical and psychological effects of burnout for all
employees. They hypothesized causes of burnout have included
characteristics of employee characteristics (self- efficacy), supervisory
assistance (organization support), organizational structures (both social and
physical) etc. Thus Maslach and Jackson (1986) view of burnout could be
summarized as the dimension/stages, cause and consequences of burnout.
Burnout for them involves total loss of will power and inability to mobilize
interest. One who is “burnout out” becomes physically and mentally depleted
below normal level of performance.
However, Meier (1983), conceptualized burnout as a state resulting from
repeated work experiences in which individuals posses:
– Low expectations regarding the presence of positive reinforcement and high
expectations regarding the presence of punishment in the work environment.
– Low expectation regarding ways of controlling the reinforcers that are present.
– Low expectations for personal competence in performing the behaviors
necessary to control the reinforcement. Individuals who posses expectations at
these low levels will often experience unpleasant feelings such as anxiety and
fear and behave in unproductive ways, such as avoiding work and lacking
presence (Bandura, 1977).
Freudenberger (1974) coined the term “burnout” to describe workers’
reactions to the chronic stress common in occupations involving numerous direct
interactions with people. Work life, however, is not independent from family life;
these domains may even be in conflict. Burnout is a term which is frequently
used to describe the emotional and physical exhaustion experienced by people
as a direct result of excessive study or work related stress. Burnout can cause
significant physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual damage to people
(Schaufeli & Enzmann, 1998). General practitioners seem to have the highest
proportion of burnout cases (according to a recent Dutch study in Psychological
Reports by Clark & Vaccaro (2005), no less than 40% of these experienced high
levels of burnout). These recent studies have linked burnout to job-related
chronic stress.
Work-related burnout in employees is believed to result in physiological,
psychological and behavioural consequences which are detrimental to the health
of the employee and the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization (Van-
Dierendouck, Schandeli & Bunnk, 1998). On the other hand, a high level of
perceived organization support (POS) has been associated with many positive
implications for both employees and management, such as increased
organizational commitment, job satisfaction and reduced turnover rates
(Eisenberger, Cummings, Armeh & Lynch, 1997).
Research on perceived organizational support began with the observation
that if managers are concerned with their employees’ commitment to the
organization, employees are focused on the organization’s commitment to them.
For employees, the organization serves as an important source of socioemotional
resources; such as respect and caring, and tangible benefits; such as
wages and medical benefits. Being regarded highly by the organization helps to
meet employees’ needs for approval, esteem and affiliation. Positive valuation by
the organization also provides an indication that increased effect will be noted
and rewarded. Employees therefore take an active interest in the regard with
which they held by their employer (Conference Research, 2008). Rhoades and
Eisenberger (2002) holds that in order to meet socio-emotional needs and to
assess the benefits of increased work effort, employees form a general
perception concerning the extent to which the organization values their
contributions and cares about their well-being. Such perceived organizational
support (POS) would increase employees’ felt-obligation to help the organization
reach its objectives, their affective commitment to the organization and their
expectation that improved performance would be rewarded. Behavioural
outcomes of POS would include increases in in-role and extra-role performance
and decreases in stress leading to burnout and withdrawal behaviours such as
absenteeism and turnover.
Although, there are relatively few studies of POS, the issue concerning
perceived organizational support has continued to reoccur. POS is assumed to
be a global belief that employees form concerning their valuation by the
organization. Based on the experience of personally relevant organizational
policies and procedures, the receipt of resources and interactions with agents of
the organization, an employee would distill the organization’s general orientation
toward her. POS refers to employees’ overall perception to organizations’
concerns in the contributions and welfare. An element analysis finished by
Rhoades and Eisenberger in 2002 show that three factors affect employee’
perceived organizational support, and rewards and work conditions. Employees
always take the way of leaders treating them as a reflection of organizational
support. The rewards that associated with perceived organizational support in a
positive correlation, supportive work conditions, and leaders’ understanding and
praise can drive employees to generate the perceived organizational support
(Eisenberger, Fasolo & Davis-la Mastro, 1990).
Another variable that may be considered as a factor in burnout is selfefficacy.
Self-efficacy is an individual factor unlike organizational support which is
an organizational factor. The majority of occupational burnout models propose
that burnout in the occupational environment generates negative changes in the
individual in physical, psychological and behavioral terms, (Beehr, 1995). These
models also suggest that the relationship between burnout and their negative
consequences (low turnover) is moderated by different factors, such as
demographic characteristic, personality factors, work environment and self
beliefs (self- efficacy). Brief and Aldag (1998) stated that one’s beliefs about
oneself can act as moderating variable in burnout. Some results have shown that
burnout have a less negative effect when individuals, have more positive selfperceptions,
(Mossholder, Bedein & Armenakis, 1982). According to Bandura
(1997), self-efficacy refers to beliefs in one’s own capacity to organize and
execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situation.
Research show that one’s own beliefs of efficacy function as an important
determinant of motivation, affect, thought and action (Bandura, 1992).
The present research surveyed the influence of perceived organizational
support and self- efficacy on burnout among Nurses. Nurses play an important
role in health care delivery and human services. They are part of the medical
team that ensures adequate care for patients and they have more contacts with
the patient than any other employee in health care delivery system. It becomes
important that the Nurses’ affairs should be a concern to all, as any cynical
attitude on their part due to burnout can result to loss of human life. Therefore
this research considered it important to investigate the extent to which
organizational support and self- efficacy of the nurses can influence their job
burnout. The researcher hopes to add to existing literature on factors that
determine job burnout and give ideal suggestions to the extent in which the
independent variables can induce job burnout.
Nurses are one of the players in the health care delivery; therefore, their
psychological well being is vital and should be considered with utmost care.
Burnout undeniably has negative effect on individuals, more so on those involved
in human service (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). Organizational support predicts
that if individuals perceive that they are supported in their work place, they offer
their best and this could reduce burnout (Ramarajan & Barsade, 2006). Selfefficacy
model also asserts that when an individual feels competent and
confident in what he or she is doing, his work related problems such as burnout,
may be reduced (Mossholder, Bedein and Armenakis, 1982). Therefore, the
present study will investigate the following questions
• Will perceive organizational support influence the nurses’ job burnout?
• Will self- efficacy influence the nurses’ job burnout?
An organization where its workers experience little or no job burnout records high
job efficiency, productivity, satisfaction and commitment. Having realized that a
healthy behavioural/emotional attitude improves job efficiency and satisfaction,
the study aims to investigate the following:
• The influence of perceived organizational support on burnout among
• The influence of self efficacy on burnout among nurses
Organizational support: This is total score obtained from the perceived
organizational support Scale, which symbolized the overall perception to
organizations’ concerns in the contribution and welfare.
Self – efficacy: This is the total scores obtained from general self- efficacy
scale and this connotes beliefs people have about their capabilities to exercise
control over events that affect their lives.
Burnout: This is the total score obtained from maslach burnout inventory and
it connotes syndromes of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced
personal accomplishment that occur among individuals who do people work in
some kind.