Stress, Job Satisfaction and Social Support:

Topics: Qualitative research, Social work, International Federation of Social Workers Pages: 17 (3930 words) Published: June 24, 2009
Stress, Job Satisfaction and Social Support: What Relationship do they have to Workplace Turnover Intentions?

Amy Levin, MSW, PhD

California State University Northridge


This study tested a theoretical model depicting the relationships between diversity characteristics, organizational climate and personal outcome variables on intention to leave among child welfare workers. In a cross sectional design, a sample of 418 child welfare workers was drawn from a large public agency. In addition to diversity and demographic covariates, measures included organizational stress, social support, organizational fairness, inclusion, wellbeing, organizational commitment, job satisfaction and intention to leave. Results support the notion that diverse individual characteristics together with stressful, unjust, exclusionary and non-supportive organizational climate negatively influence individual wellbeing and lead to lack of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, which in turn lead to intentions of quitting. The findings provide empirical support to the notion that the exclusion and lack of fairness experienced by employees who are diverse combined with the stressful environment and lack of support, decrease job satisfaction and organizational commitment and increase intention to leave.

Key Words: Diversity Characteristics, Organizational Climate, Turnover

1.Introduction: This study explored the relationships between diversity characteristics, organizational climate and personal outcome variables on intention to leave of 418 child welfare workers in a large public agency. Child welfare departments throughout the United States have historically faced difficulties in retaining social workers and other human service professionals. The work done in child welfare is essential and significantly affects the lives of the most at risk people in our society…poor children, women, culturally diverse families, the abused and neglected, and the homeless. Such child welfare agencies are the primary locales responsible for ensuring children’s safety from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Stressful aspects of the job include excessive workloads caused by unwieldy caseloads, limited contact with the clients served, overwhelming paperwork and poor working conditions. Added to these administrative challenges are the difficulties associated with working with involuntary clients and the tremendous duty of protecting the most vulnerable of society’s citizens. There is a great deal of responsibility placed on these workers to make certain that the children served will not be put in harms way. A seasoned and cohesive workforce is an integral component in providing high quality services to such people who utilize the child welfare system. This research project was conducted in order to examine the factors that are important in determining worker intention to leave the child welfare system, in hopes of developing methods to increase retention rates.

Although retention is widely discussed in the literature, multiple antecedents to intention to leave are rarely examined together. This research explored the relationship between multiple variables and the impact that they have on a worker’s intention to leave the organization. This problem was chosen for study because of the significant consequences that follow when intention to leave is not addressed. It was found that previous studies identified lack of social support (primarily supervisory support), lack of job satisfaction and high levels of stress as the predominant precursors to an employee’s intention to leave the organization; however, few, if any studies examine these three independent variables simultaneously. After conducting a literature review, several research questions were derived. Others were formulated based on a lack of findings in the literature pertaining to certain variables that I believe were important to include.

The current study...

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