Relationships at work, burnout and job satisfaction: a study on Irish psychologists

Publication Date14 March 2016
Date14 March 2016
AuthorSilvia Roncalli,Michael Byrne
SubjectHealth & social care,Mental health
Relationships at work, burnout and job
satisfaction: a study on Irish psychologists
Silvia Roncalli and Michael Byrne
Silvia Roncalli is Clinical
Psychologist at Health Service
Executive West, Adult Mental
Health Services, Portumna,
Dr Michael Byrne is Principal
Psychologist Manager at
Psychology Department,
Community Healthcare
Organisation 8, Health Service
Executive, Tullamore, Ireland.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the levels of job satisfaction (JS) and burnout among
psychologists working in Irish community mental health teams (CMHTs), and the relationships between these
factors and three relational predictors: teamwork, liaison with management/supervisor and relationships
among co-workers. Associations with absenteeism and participantsturnover potential were also explored.
Design/methodology/approach Participants were 77 psychologists currently working in CMHTs
nationwide or who had left a CMHT in the previous three years.
Findings Liaison with management/supervisor and teamwork emerged as significant predictors of JS but
not of burnout. Relationships among co-workers emerged as a significant predictor of two dimensions of
burnout. JS and burnout levels had no overall significant association with absenteeism or turnover potential.
Practical/implications This study confirmed that well-known associations between relational aspects of
ones job and the levels of JS and burnout were also present in this sample of psychologists, highlighting the
vulnerability of these professionals to the same risks that affect workers in positions requiring comparatively
lower psychological-mindedness. Service providers need to consider this important factor in their efforts to
enhance productivity and prevent turnover, and it can be addressed at no extra costs by optimising the use of
existing resources.
Originality/ValueThis study is one of the first tofocus on relational aspectsof CMHTs considering a sample
of psychologists.Furthermore, whilethe three relational factors consideredhave been examined beforein their
individual relationships to JS and burnout, this studyinvestigates their interactions with eachother.
Keywords Burnout, Job satisfaction, Teamwork, Supervision, Effective management,
Relationships with colleagues
Paper type Research paper
Given that they create what it sells, employees are the Irish health services most valuable asset
(Byrne, 2006, p. 1). Thus, in order to maximise staff output, it behooves health service managers
to make efforts to ensure high levels of job satisfaction (JS) and prevent staff burnout (Ranz et al.,
2001). In fact, burnout and low JS have been associated with poorer work performance
(e.g. Baruch-Feldman et al., 2002), absenteeism and increased turnover rates (e.g. Kalisch et al.,
2010; Morse et al., 2012).
Previous studies indicate that teamwork (Collette, 2004; Lloyd et al., 2002) and liaison with ones
supervisor and management (Gill et al., 2006; Onyett, 2011) are often important factors affecting
JS and burnout levels. While these are not the only factors affecting JS and burnout, this study
focuses on teamwork and liaison with management/supervisor as these are aspects intrinsic in
the work of psychologists working in community mental health teams (CMHTs). Hence, in the
Irish as well as in the UK context, issues concerning these might be more easily addressed than
difficulties arising from other areas (e.g. increasing caseloads, scarce resources, etc.). In light of
Received 18 January 2015
Revised 7 May 2015
17 July 2015
Accepted 21 September 2015
DOI 10.1108/MHRJ-01-2015-0002 VOL. 21 NO. 1 2016, pp. 23-36, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1361-9322
PAG E 23

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