Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The influence of causal attribution on work exhaustion and turnover intention of traditional discipline engineers in the United States
by Force, Linda May, D.B.A., Arizona State University, 2008, 260; 3316797
Abstract (Summary)

This study on work exhaustion and turnover intention of engineers was designed to extend previous work based on a published model for Information Technology (IT) professionals that employed causal attribution theory as the conceptual framework. The underlying belief was that traditional discipline engineers (i.e., Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, and Electrical engineers) are similar to IT professionals and would exhibit the same levels of work exhaustion and turnover intention for equivalent imposed workplace conditions. A set of six hypotheses was developed to test this belief.

Data were collected using a two-phase mail survey. Usable responses were obtained from 256 engineers working in both the public and private sectors. Based on conflicting answers to turnover intention items provided by many of the older engineers, a decision was made to create an age-limited subsample of respondents whose age was 60 or less. This decision resulted in a data-set of responses from 190 engineers that was used to test the hypotheses.

Results from this study indicate that work exhaustion is not an antecedent to turnover intention for engineers and is in direct contrast to prior findings for IT professionals. Work overload appeared to be the major contributor to work exhaustion whereas the most important antecedent to turnover intention appeared to be lack of autonomy, or lack of empowerment with respect to major decision-making on the job. The frequency of work exhaustion appeared to be higher in organizations where engineering is a support function as opposed to those where engineering is the mission or product. Work exhaustion did not appear to be more prevalent in one specific engineering discipline or in the public sector as compared to the private sector. These findings provide a significant contribution toward understanding the dynamics of work exhaustion and turnover intention within the engineering profession.

Indexing (document details)
School: Arizona State University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Autonomy, Causal attribution, Engineers, Job burnout, Role conflict/ambiguity, Turnover intention, Work overload
Publication Number: 3316797
ISBN: 978-0-549-65162-8
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