A case of burnout among project managers in the South African construction Industry. Burnout Is a syndrome which Is commonly found among Individuals working In high pressure environments and is defined as a negative experience which results from the interaction between the individual and the environment (Yip and Rollins, 2009).
Burnout is known to be a syndrome characterized by three dimensions; these dimensions being emotional exhaustion, cynicism and personal inefficacy; burnout affects individuals in a way that they are likely to feel as if they have a lack of energy, cynical attitude which causes distancing from work and are inclined to view themselves in a negative light causing them to feel dissatisfied with their achievements in the workplace (Miasmal et al, cited in Yip and Rollins, 2009).
The construction Industry Is a complex and demanding environment which consists of long working hours and as a result can cause mental and physical exhaustion (YIP and Rollins, 2009). Characteristics of the construction Industry which Include multilevel subcontracting, time pressure, constant worker rotation and an unstable work environment are what could contribute to the psychological stress experienced y managers in the construction industry; these stress causing factors are what justify studying the prevalence of burnout in the construction industry (Amelia and Bacterial, 2007).
The level of burnout among project managers in the construction industry: Existing literature discusses burnout in terms of the three dimensions, emotional exhaustion, cynicism and personal inefficacy, and relates these constructs of burnout to turnover Intention, Job satisfaction, demographic characteristics, work engagement and organizational commitment; the literature also considers the prevalence of runt In the construction Industry and the effects thereof on the performance of employees.
Emotional exhaustion occurs when an individual has been under too much burden and as a result their emotional resources have been used up (Kill, Pent and Selves, 2011). Cynicism is representative of the interpersonal dimension of burnout and refers to “a negative, callous, or excessively detached response to various aspects of the job” (Letter and Miasmal, 2004, p. 93). In addition, Letter and Miasmal (2004) notes that personal inefficacy relates to self-evaluation and refers to linings of incompetence, a lack of productivity and a lack of achievement in the work place.
According to COB (cited In Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011) the construction Industry Is a stressful Industry where often, many of the professionals suffer from stress. Project managers in the construction industry take on the role of a middle ground departments, construction professionals, consultancies, contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers (Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011). Hamilton (cited in Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011), noted that a construction project manager acts as the leader of a empowers construction team during the different phases of a project life cycle.
In addition to dealing with demanding time schedules, limited site resources and uncertainties, project managers also need to plan, organize and supervise the progress and safety of the work as well as motivate the teams on the construction site (Ritz, cited in cited in Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011). For construction project managers, interpersonal relationships is also needed to accomplish good performance (Disbarred, 1996; Lung et al. , 2009), thus, burnout among construction project managers can be considered to include exhaustion, cynicism, reduced reflections efficacy (Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011).
According to Cherries and Brandenburg (cited in Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011), burnout starts with exposure to excessive Job stress which results from long and irregular working hours and produces strain among construction project managers which eventually leads to burnout. This is supported by Bowen, Edwards and Leningrad (2013) who states that in the construction industry, work hours are long and the inability to meet project objectives is sometimes caused by unexpected events.
Based on a study of 108 construction project managers, the results showed that burnout mongo construction project managers occurs as a result of Job stress, the occurrence of burnout then acts as a catalyst for physiological stress (Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011). The study by Lung, Chain and Dungy (2011) correlates with the argument presented by Monster, Peters and Roost (201 1), which states that burnout results from high work demands which need to be dealt with under limited resources which leads to negative experiences which accumulate and results in burnout.
Lung, Chain and Dungy (2011) states that it is important for project managers to recognize their Job stress in the early stages, from this point they recommend that takeovers assess the stress shown by the project managers and rearrange the work allocation accordingly; subsequent to this, firms should regularly monitor the level of stress and burnout shown by the project managers and offer sources of social support which could include non-work related gatherings.
Contrary to the views shared by Lung, Chain and Dungy (2011) as well as Monster, Peters and Roost (201 1), which state that long working hours and high demands are what leads to Job stress and ultimately burnout, IBM et al (2011) argue that long working hours is not the main source of stress but rather budget related pressures ND ambitious deadlines. IBM et al (2011) do however agree with Ritz (cited in Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011), that factors which contribute to Job stress include high work volume and safety and security concerns on site.
Brand-Leprechauns, Monster and Earthman (2012) discussed that over the past decade, work related well-being specifically related to burnout and work engagement Construction Regulations in South Africa introduced psychological well-being in the Occupational Health Safety Act; the purpose of this Act was to create a framework which ensures higher levels of health and safety in the industry (Deacon and Eke 006, cited in Brand-Leprechauns, Monster and Earthman, 2012).
According to Bowen, Edwards and Leningrad (2013), the construction industry is known as a high- stress working environment which affects the health and well-being of the people in it. Based on the literature reviewed for the purpose of this study, it is evident that there are studies which discuss burnout within the context of the South African construction industry, however not many studies have been done to measure specifically the level of burnout among project managers within the South African construction industry. The existing research does however show that there clearly is evidence of burnout within the construction industry.
Research done in Hong Kong by Lung, Chain and Dungy (2011) shows that burnout is highly prevalent among project managers in the construction industry and discusses the negative effects it has on the managers and the working environment as well as possible solutions to address the level of burnout experienced. Lung, Chain and Dungy (2011) states that for a study of this nature, questionnaire surveys as a method of data collection proves difficult to eliminate potential errors and therefore and recommend that qualitative data using semi-structured or non- structured interviews be used for rather research.
Understanding the effects and consequences of burnout can thus be viewed as a preventative measure and the study thereof is therefore important and relevant in the South African context. Relationship between burnout and turnover intentions: A big question to the management of many firms is what influences an employee to leave the firm. Numerous studies have found that burnout and Job satisfaction are among the major influencer of turnover intentions. According to studies done by researchers such as Cotton and Tuttle (1986), turnover intention is the likelihood of an employee staying or leaving a company.
However, Teeth and Meyer (1993) stated that turnover intention is when the employee is determined to leave the company. In addition, Fishbone and Zen, (1975) found an indication that employees make a conscious choice to leave before actually leaving their Jobs. Bark et al. (2001) discussed that several research that has been done used intent to leave instead of actual turnover as measures for turnover intentions. For example, Cotton and Tuttle (1986) found that people are more likely to leave an organization when their expectations have not been met.
However, Ghana and Fen (2011) indicate that many, UT not all factors of both Job satisfaction and burnout prove to be relevant factors affecting turnover intention. Choc et al (2012) found that managing Job burnout is important for decreasing turnover intentions and show that turnover intentions can be explained by the factors of Job burnout: emotional exhaustion, diversification, and reduced personal accomplishment. Between Job burnout and turnover intentions in various settings. Sings et al. 1994) stated that Job burnout is a generalized construct including emotional exhaustion, diversification, and decreased achievements and proved that Job burnout has did detrimental effects on Job outcomes, through increased employee turnover, reduced Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and Job performance. Schaeffer and Beaker (2004) stressed that Job burnout specifically including emotional exhaustion and diversification is an important predictor of turnover intentions for companies.
The argument by Choc et al (2012) agrees with that of Schaeffer and Beaker (2004) which states that burnout is a predictor of turnover intention, however Choc et al (2012) discusses that all the dimensions of burnout are positively related to turnover intentions. In addition, Letter and Miasmal, (2009) established that burnout and high workload increase the level of employee intention. Furthermore, Leather and Mach (2009) discuss that all burnout factors are among the main causes for turnover intentions and that these results are supported by other studies within different industries.
However, Demerit et. Al (2001) states that high Job stresses together with lack of resources most likely cause burnout. Briar et al (2013) tested the impact of very stressful Jobs and found that emotional Job demands are causes for burnout, specifically related to exhaustion and cynicism. Lachrymal and Aryan, (1986) and Sorensen Sorensen, (1974) both argue that the reasons for turnover intention rely on the assumption that the basic conflict between loyalties experienced mostly by professionals negatively affects their work attitudes, and hence leads to turnover intentions.
Ghana and Fen (2011) show that many but not all factors of Job satisfaction and burnout are applicable dynamics affecting turnover intention. Letter and Miasmal (2009) also found that there may be limited mediation effects of burnout, mainly through emotional exhaustion, within the impact of Job satisfaction on turnover intention, Choc et al (2012) showed that financial prizes were effective in decreasing turnover intentions under diversification. However, financial rewards increased turnover intentions under reduced personal accomplishment.
In addition, career paths were effective in decreasing turnover under both diversification and reduced personal accomplishment. Choc et al (2012) goes on to show how complex it is for managers to implement Just one set of policies to reduce all problems. Many studies that have been conducted, (Briar et al. (2013), Cotton and Tuttle (1986), Cohen(1999), Choc et al (2012)) all conclude that there is a positive relationship teens burnout and turnover intention in which they add that if the burnout factors are not managed properly it is likely to cause an increase in turnover intention.
Relationship between burnout and organizational commitment: According to Corded (1993), emotional exhaustion is the main characteristic of burnout. Emotional exhaustion is characterized by a somatic and psychological are depleted, when the possibility of resources being depleted is high, in scenarios whereby an individual’s resources are insufficient enough to carry out work requirements or when expected results are not acquired by the resources (Hobble, 1988).
Hobble (1989) described these resources as an individual’s personal attributes, circumstances, limitations or vigor that represents the individual’s ability to achieve work demands. Social support, promotions, the level of participation during decision making processes, independence and reward incentives are all examples of resources (Lee and Seaports, 1996). Wright and Cropland (1998) described compromising situations in the workplace, workload and conflict as work demands.
Emotional exhaustion takes place when individuals believe they do not have the adequate resources to meet work demands (Hobble, 1989). Organizational ointment has a negative relationship with an individual’s resources that are required to meet organizational demands (Wright and Cropland, 1998). The pressure to meet organizational demands eventually leads to Job stress which, if left untreated, could lead potentially lead to emotional exhaustion (Wright and Cropland, 1998).
Emotional exhaustion, in turn, diminishes organizational commitment (Lee and Seaports, 1996). Miasmal (2003) speculated that organizational commitment has a negative relationship with burnout. Individuals who experience high levels of burnout affect their fellow colleagues negatively, bringing about conflict n the workplace and disturbing work activities (Miasmal, 2003). Wright and Cropland (1998), however, argue that despite the fact that emotional exhaustion diminishes organizational commitment, practical evidence for this particular research is lacking.
Research on burnout has classically been based on the principle that it affects employees’ organizational commitment negatively (Lee and Seaports 1996). As is apparent with the research analyses above, studies have obtained evidence that burnout causes decreased levels of organizational commitment Jackson et al. 1987, Letter and Miasmal 1988). However, there are studies which show that the relationship between burnout and commitment could possibly operate in the opposite direction, that is; organizational commitment could possibly cause burnout (Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie, 1998).
In a study conducted by Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie (1998), results verify that organizational commitment had equally direct and indirect consequences on burnout. The study, which focused on nurses, demonstrated that a huge commitment to the organization had a positive relationship with levels of emotional exhaustion (Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie, 1998). Put simply, these results maintain the argument that, in extremely demanding work environments, organizational commitment may be a major attributer of burnout (Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie, 1998).
Schaeffer and Bunk (1996) suggested that employees with low levels of commitment tend to withdraw from the work environment and are likely to experience the penalties of heavily stressed work environment a whole lot more than their fellow employees who are highly committed to the organization. This is quite similar to the results found by Begley and Chukka (1993), which discovered that organizational commitment intensified the correlation teens stress and Job discontentment among nurses.
In a study involving technicians, results demonstrated that organizational commitment has varying Gillespie, 1998). Different elements of burnout are not only more outstanding for varying professions, in addition, the possible attribution to burnout and the penalties of burnout could be highly variable (Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie, 1998). Lee and Seaports (1996) asserted that additional research should make the methodical contrast of the burnout occurrence of a variety of professions a focal point of research. Currents studies have several restrictions (Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie, 1998).
Finally, while preceding studies have focused largely on the consequences of burnout on employees’ level of organizational commitment, other studies have established that it is likewise imperative to take into consideration the effects of organizational commitment on burnout (Goliath, Drilldown and Gillespie, 1998). Relationship between burnout and Job satisfaction: A pleasurable or positive emotional state as a result of Job experience or the appraisal of the Job is known as Job satisfaction (Digitalis, Ketosis’s and Toga, cited in Marinas and Van Deer Westernizes, 2013).
According to War (cited in Marinas and Van Deer Westernizes, 2013), Job satisfaction can occur as a result of remuneration, work relationships, working conditions, Job security, promotional prospects, training opportunities and the nature of the Job. Marinas and Van Deer Westernizes (2013) who conducted a study based on work well-being in a medical laboratory setting in South Africa, states that the results of the study in this environment found that exhaustion and cynicism which are dimensions of burnout are significantly negatively related to Job satisfaction.
Marinas and Van Deer Westernizes (2013) also state that Job satisfaction is the strongest component of well- being in the work place. Oozed, Graciously and Wildfire (2013) agrees with the argument put forward by Digitalis, Ketosis’s and Toga (cited in Marinas and Van Deer Westernizes, 2013) which states that Job satisfaction is an emotional state, however according to Oozed, Graciously and Wildfire (2013), Job satisfaction is also a behavioral expression which shows an individual’s evaluation of their work, working life and working environment.
According to Oozed, Graciously and Wildfire 2013), who conducted a study in Turkey based on the relationship between burnout and Job satisfaction among nurses found that nurses who suffer with emotional exhaustion and diversification have lower scores for Job satisfaction whereas those nurses who experience higher levels of personal achievement have greater levels of Job satisfaction.
Thus, the study conducted by Oozed, Graciously and Wildfire (2013) supports the findings by Marinas and Van Deer Westernizes (2013) which states that a negative relationship exists between Job satisfaction and the dimensions of burnout. Similarly, a study conducted by Digitalis, Ketosis’s and Toga (2004) among librarians in academic libraries in Greece shows that Job satisfaction is negatively related to emotional exhaustion and diversification while a positive relationship exists between personal achievement and Job satisfaction.
To further confirm the findings by other researchers, a study conducted in the hospitality industry in Istanbul by Kill, Polite and Selves (2011) notes that the study of the relationship between burnout and Job satisfaction is important for business managers and practitioners and furthermore found that within this industry, runt. Few studies have been conducted which focus specifically on the relationship between burnout and Job satisfaction among project managers in the construction industry; a study was however conducted based on construction project managers’ health in the UK by Love and Edwards (2005).
According to Love and Edwards (2005), Job satisfaction among construction workers is defined as a “match between the rewards offered by the work environment and the individual’s preferences for those rewards”. The study by Love and Edwards (2005) used a measurement scale developed by War et al (cited in Love and Edwards, 2005) to assure Job satisfaction; the scale includes the factors of work conditions, management, promotion, salary, Job security and co-workers as variables of Job satisfaction.
Recommendations for managing stress, health and Job satisfaction among project managers in the construction industry includes training construction project managers to adopt and implement strategies to cope with their stress as well as providing support mechanisms within the firm (Love and Edwards, 2005). A South African study which looks at burnout and Job satisfaction among nurses shows that two factors were yielded when measuring Job satisfaction; these factors include reflections advancement and reward as one factor and leave as another factor (Sloppier et al. , 2012).
The results of the study show that the most dissatisfaction was experienced with regards to wages, opportunities for advancement and study leave (Sloppier et al. , 2012). Sloppier et al. (2012) argue that Job satisfaction and burnout are related and furthermore that a positive environment leads to increased Job satisfaction and lower levels of burnout. In agreement with Oozed, Graciously and Wildfire (2013), the study by Sloppier et al. (2012) states that the degree of burnout in he nursing industry in South Africa is strongly correlated to that of Job satisfaction.
A review of existing literature on burnout and the constructs thereof show that there are many arguments by various researchers which correlate with each other. In this review, the dimensions of burnout are clearly identified as emotional exhaustion, cynicism and personal efficacy (Letter and Miasmal, 2004). The review of literature with regards to the level of burnout among project managers in the construction industry shows that the complex nature of the Job is likely to cause Job stress which is a predictor of burnout (Lung, Chain and Dungy, 2011).
A gap was identified in the lack of literature which exists based on project managers in the construction industry in South Africa and specifically the levels of burnout among them. Furthermore, the review of existing literature shows that researchers have adopted different definitions for the term turnover intentions’, despite this a clear correlation in results exists which shows that a relationship does exist between turnover intention and burnout. Similarly, the review of literature relating organizational commitment and burnout shows that a relationship does exist between the two variables.
A clear lack f literature when reviewing the literature based on burnout related to turnover intention, Job satisfaction, organizational commitment and demographic factors is evident. This lack of literature shows that there is a need for further research on these work-related outcomes not only among project managers but within the construction industry in South Africa as a whole. Service employees’ burnout levels related to demographic characteristics: According to Miasmal (2003), individuals to the working environment alone.
These attributes include demographics, personal traits as well as beliefs that stem from the working environment (Miasmal, 003). Miasmal (2003) affirmed that a number of these attributes are correlated to burnout. The area of interest in this instance is demographic characteristics. Miasmal (2003) put forward that age is the variable that is most constantly correlated to burnout, among the available demographic variables. It was reported that younger employees, under the ages of 30 and 40, experience high levels of burnout (Miasmal, 2003).
This is attributed to the fact that age is disconcerted with the individuals level of work experience and it is for this reason that the younger employees experience higher levels of burnout (Miasmal, 2003). Miasmal (2003) allowed up with the sex demographic and concluded that this particular demographic was not an efficient forecaster of burnout. Results from previously conducted research suggested that female employees are characterized with higher levels of burnout, while other results characterized men with higher levels of burnout (Miasmal, 2003).
Also, some research results were inconclusive, with very little difference between the levels of burnout experienced by men and women (Miasmal, 2003). Regarding marital status, Miasmal (2003) discovered that individuals who were not married experienced higher levels of burnout than those who were aired. Furthermore, single individuals experienced higher levels of burnout than divorced individuals (Miasmal, 2003). Miasmal (2003) then explored the level of education and came to conclude that individuals with a higher level of education experience higher levels of burnout than those who are less educated.
In a study conducted by Corded (1993), she suggested that there are certain demographic variables that have proven to contribute to the Justification of why certain individuals experience high levels of burnout and why others are somewhat immune to burnout demographic variables. Men and women have frequently reported discrepancies in the levels of burnout experienced, however, there is inconclusive evidence pertaining to the pattern and complications of relationships (Lemmas, Rafter, Purdue, and Ruddiest, 1987).
Studies conducted by Anderson and Knick (1984) also suggested that younger employees constantly reported higher levels of burnout compared to employees who were much older. Employees who were more experienced reported extremely low levels of burnout thus concluding that, the older and more experienced an employee, the lower the reported levels of burnout (Anderson and Knick, 1984). Miasmal and Jackson (1985) further asserted that individuals who were married experienced very low levels of burnout compared to individuals who are not married and experienced considerably higher levels of burnout.
Individuals who have children experienced lower levels of burnout compared to individuals who had no children and experienced higher levels of burnout (Miasmal and Jackson, 1985). To conclude, Corded (1993) affirmed that based on the available literature today, she believes that the burnout trend requires more consideration by researchers whose focus of study is stress processes in the work environment. Burnout seems to be a extinctive kind of a stress pattern that takes into account the awareness of emotional of reduced personal achievement (Corded, 1993).