Engaged but exhausted: Work-related wellbeing profiles of South African employees





Organizations and colleagues alike benefit from dedicated employees who are immersed in their work and energetically pursue their tasks. Unfortunately, this may come at a price for employees who may burn out. Organizations are, therefore, confronted with a responsibility to assist employees in striking a balance between eagerly engaging in their tasks and taking care of their wellbeing. Before designing and implementing interventions, it is valuable to identify how engagement and burnout components cluster within individuals and whether these different combinations have different implications for employees. The study aimed to explore whether burnout and work engagement combine within individuals to form different burnout-engagement profiles. The study also aimed to examine the implications of different profiles for employees’ psychological distress, affective commitment, and turnover intention. Among 1048 South African employees, latent profile analysis highlighted five distinct burnout-engagement profiles: Burned-out, Risky, Moderately balanced, Stars, and Workaholics. The Burned-out reported higher levels of psychological distress than the Risky. Still, both reported higher levels than the Moderately balanced, who also reported higher levels of psychological distress than the Stars. The Burned out and the Workaholics reported equal levels of psychological distress. The Stars reported the highest levels of affective commitment, followed by the Workaholics, the Moderately balanced, and the Risky, with the lowest levels reported by the Burned-out. The Burned-out reported the highest levels of turnover intention, followed by the Risky, the Workaholics, and the Moderately balanced, with the lowest levels reported by the Stars. Limitations, recommendations for future research and practical implications are discussed.


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