Job insecurity, affective organisational commitment, burnout, job satisfaction and health of human resources practitioners in a chemical industry
Marais, Jacobus Albertus
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Globally, changing operations and economic conditions are causing organisations to downsize, outsource and restructure (Lindstrom. Leino, Seitsamo & Tordtila, 1997). These may result in feelings of insecurity, alienation and stress in workers because of higher workloads and pressures brought about by such changes. When the employee is unable to tolerate occupational pressures and feels totally overwhelmed by stress. he or she is likely to reach breaking point and experience burnout, amongst others (Weisberg, 1994). From the literature it is evident that some generic inherent aspects of the Human Resources career field with related functions may cause serious discomfort to Human Resources Practitioners (HRP) worldwide. Mark Gorkin (2003) emphasises that, at present, high work demands, rapidly changing requirements and responsibilities together with a lack of sufficient control, authority and autonomy to deal with change may predispose HRP's to experience chronic stress. This may influence the level of job security, job satisfaction and commitment experienced by HRP's, including-their subsequent possible burnout levels as well as a potential decline in general health. The pressure on HRP's in South Africa to adapt to change, and to deliver unique results, is not different from the rest of the world. HR Future (2003) acknowledges that if Human Resource departments in South Africa are to effect real change, it must be made up of people who have the skills they need to work from a foundation of confidence and should earn what too often it lacks. namely respect. It has been said that executives who recognise the economic value of intellectual capital and organisational capability and the benefit thereof to their customers: need to demand more from the Human Resources function. The primary objective of this research was to examine the relationship between job insecurity, affective organisational commitment, burnout, job satisfaction and health of Human Resources practitioners in a chemical industry. The Human Resources departments in the chemical industry underwent some vast organisational changes, for example restructuring and centralisation. There was a need to determine how well the HRP's were coping with the changes and the inherent stressors of the Human Resources career field. The measuring instruments used were the Job Insecurity Questionnaire (JIQ), the Organisational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ), the Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MBI-GS), the Minnesota Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) and the Health Questionnaire (GHQ). A survey design was used to reach the research objectives. The specific design used was the cross-sectional design, whereby a sample is normally drawn from a population at one time (Babbie, 1992). The only difference with this study was that the total population of 505 was targeted, and not only a sample. A response of 144 completed questionnaires was received (29%). Results demonstrated that the largest practically significant correlation (negative) was between health and exhaustion. There was also a practically significant negative correlation between health and cynicism, and health and affective job insecurity. It was also found that job insecurity had a practically significant correlation with exhaustion and also cynicism. Cognitive job insecurity was practically significantly negatively related to both extrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction, as well as affective organisational commitment. Affective organisational commitment was also practically significantly related to cynicism and exhaustion (negative) and also to job satisfaction (positive). A practically sigificantly negative correlation was found between job satisfaction and cynicism, as well as exhaustion. Demographic characteristics were first analysed for statistical significance using Wilk's Lambda statistics. No statistically significant differences (p < 0.01) regarding any of the variables could be found for any of the demographic characteristics, such as age, qualifications. gender, home language, service years, job level and area. Multiple regression analysis indicated that 12% of the variance in affective organisational commitment as measured by the OCQ was predicted by job insecurity. and 12% of the variance in job insecurity was explained by exhaustion as measured by the MBI-GS. Furthermore, the analysis indicated that 14% of the variance in job insecurity was predicted by cynicism as measured by the MBI-GS. Job insecurity was. however. not predicted by professional efficacy. A total of 6% of the variance in intrinsic job satisfaction as measured by the MSQ was predicted by job insecurity, as well as 14% of the variance in extrinsic job satisfaction. A total of 14% of the variance in job insecurity could be explained by health. Acceptable Cronbach alpha coefficients were obtained on all the scales. All the items on the inter-item correlation coefficients were acceptable (0.15 ≤ r ≤ 0.50; Clark & Watson, 1995). Most scores on the dimensions seemed to be distributed normally (skewness and kurtosis smaller than 1) except cynicism and intrinsic job satisfaction, that were marginally above the I cut-off point. The kurtosis of professional efficacy. however. showed a much flatter distribution than normal. Both subscales of job insecurity indicated that employees experienced blow average levels of job insecurity. Affective organisational commitment of employees was above average. Results also indicated excellent health. Low levels of exhaustion and cynicism were recorded; together with a high level of professional efficacy. Above average means for extrinsic job satisfaction as well as intrinsic job satisfaction were recorded. Recommendations for the organisation and future research were made towards the end of the mini-dissertation. Limitations were discussed and conclusions made.