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Burnt-out but engaged: the co-existence of psychological burnout and engagement

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Purpose ‐ This research sought to identify groups of school employees who were more similar in their responses to burnout and engagement measures, for the purpose of exploring what was similar in their school experiences. The profiles created in the present research enable a clearer appreciation of what is common to groups of school employees who are experiencing empowerment, ambivalence or distress in their work environments. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The current research used K-means cluster analysis to identify school employees (n=953) who were most similar in regard to levels of burnout and engagement in order to achieve some sense of what was common at a group level. Findings ‐ This process identified five distinct respondent profiles using the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). Subsequent MANOVA analyses identified significant differences between cluster groups on the six areas of work-life (control, workload, reward, community, fairness and values) and hours of work. Practical implications ‐ One of the most pressing problems faced by school administrators is that of identifying the most appropriate and strategic interventions to use with teaching staff in order to maintain motivation in the face of work pressures. The current research provides some practical insights into the experiences of school employees that may provide direction for such administrators. Originality/value ‐ By grouping respondents with similar attitudes towards their work this research has provided for more insight into the experiences to those respondents who do not fall at either end of the burnout-engagement continuum. As such it provides for more effective intervention strategies with employees who are at-risk.
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Keywords: Areas of work-life; Burnout; Community; Control; Employees involvement; Engagement; Fairness; Reward; Teachers; Values; Workload

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 4, 2012

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