The impact of personal and organizational factors on school administrators' burnout

Date

2009

Authors

Ward, Brenda K.

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Abstract

While the extant literature has discovered the responses and consequences of teacher burnout; researchers are just beginning to look into school administrator burnout. This exploratory study sought to expand the literature on personal and organizational characteristics on school administrator burnout. Personal traits examined include gender, and year's experience of the administrator. Organizational characteristics include socio-economic status of the school, school size, level of the administrator (elementary, middle or high school), and administrative position (principal or vice/assistant principal). The differences between gender, socio-economic status, and level of administrator were compared to the three components of burnout. Furthermore, the relationships of experience, school size, and school level were compared to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. It was hypothesized that these independent variables would not have a statistical significance to burnout components.

The sample for this study consisted of administrators in a metropolitan school district in central Texas. Two hundred forty-two administrators participated in this survey-based study. Descriptive and inferential statistics analyzed the dependent and independent variable.

The researcher analyzed the differences and relationships between the independent variables of gender, experience, socio-economic status, school size, school level, and level of administrator to the dependent variables of burnout including; emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. From the results of the study, testing of variable was done using independent samples t-test and analysis of variance analysis. For this study, six hypotheses were put forth: (1) Is there a statistically significant difference in burnout levels between female and male school administrators? (2) Is there a statistically significant relationship between burnout levels and years experience as an administrator? (3) Is there a statistically significant difference in burnout levels between administrators at Title 1 and Non-Title 1 schools? (4) Is there a statistically significant relationship between burnout levels and school size? (5) Is there a statistically significant difference in burnout levels between elementary, middle and high school administrators? (6) Is there a statistically significant difference in burnout levels between principals and vice/assistant principals? The results of the study established the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth hypotheses to be supported. The second hypothesis was partially unsupported as it confirmed two of the three components of burnout were statistically significant. School administrators with 7-12 years of experience were significantly higher in emotional exhaustion than administrators with 13 or more years. Additionally, school administrators with 7-12 years of experience were significantly elevated in depersonalization than administrators with 13 or more years of experience. However, there was no significant relationship between school administrator experience and personal accomplishment.

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Keywords

administrator, burnout, principal, school, teacher, turnover

Citation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies