Employee turnover among information technology (IT) professionals continues to be a major issue for the IT field (Armstrong & Riemenschneider, 2011; Carayon, Schoepke, Hoonakker, Haims, & Brunette, 2006; Moore, 2000a; Rigas, 2009). One reason for turnover among IT professionals is burnout that may result in turnover (Armstrong & Riemenschneider, 2011; Kalimo & Toppinen, 1995; McGee, 1996; Moore, 2000a). Using the Job Demands-Resources Model of Burnout as a conceptual framework, this non-experimental survey research study quantifies the relationships between exhaustion, disengagement, and turnover intention among IT professionals employed at a university located in a major metropolitan area. The online survey consisted of two survey instruments—the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) that measures the burnout dimensions of exhaustion and disengagement and the Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire Job Satisfaction Subscale (MOAQ-JSS) that measures turnover intention. Exhaustion and disengagement were both significantly related to the two-item turnover measure. A stepwise regression model including exhaustion and disengagement explained 53% of the variance in turnover intention. Disengagement contributed significantly to the prediction of turnover intention after considering exhaustion in the regression model suggesting a unique contribution of the variable to the prediction of turnover intention. These findings underscore the importance of examining each dimension of burnout separately when predicting turnover intention among IT professionals.
Many factors, some related to the work environment and some related to the individual, influence an employee's commitment to the organization and satisfaction with his or her job (Harter, 2008; Moore, 2000a). Management studies have shown that job stress is a critical factor in an employee’s overall commitment, job satisfaction, and decision to leave their job (Sethi, Barrier, & King, 1999). Burnout—an advanced form of job stress—is a metaphor for the draining of energy and refers to the smothering of a fire or the extinguishing of a candle (Schaufeli, Leiter, & Maslach, 2009). Burnout has been recognized as an occupational hazard for various professions, including human services, education, health care and the public sector and is important to researchers because of its association with critical psychological and behavioral outcomes, such as employee well-being, productivity, withdrawal, and turnover (Maslach & Goldberg, 1998; Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). Burnout may even hamper an employee’s capacity to provide intense contributions that make an impact at work (Schaufeli, Bakker, & Van Rhenen, 2009). Furthermore, research has linked job burnout to ailments including depression, physiological problems and family difficulties (Cropanzano, Rupp, & Byrne, 2003).