Police work experiences and their relationship to burnout and organizational citizenship behaviour
Master of Arts
MetadataShow full item record
Recent police stress literature has consistently asserted that organizational aspects of work, rather than operational ones, are identified by officers as being the most stressful. Exposure to perceived workplace stress can culminate in burnout, a state of diminished well-being and functionality. Although studied among police populations, no attempt has been made to examine the link between burnout and the perceptions of officers regarding chronic exposure to both organizational and operational aspects of police work. Positive perceptions of work experiences have also been found to influence employee behaviour at work, specifically organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB), extra-role discretionary behaviours that contribute to overall organizational efficiency. The purpose of the present study was to examine the degree to which police officers appraised organizational and operational facets of work as stressful or uplifting, and to investigate the relationships among such appraisals and burnout and OCB, respectively. In order to do so within an integrated framework that addressed a conceptualization of stress as a process occurring within the person-environment nexus, the moderating effects of coping style and personality were considered. Officers from the Thunder Bay Police Service and the Northwest Region of the Ontario Provincial Police completed self-report measures of these variables. Whereas negative appraisals tended to depend on the frequency of exposure to the different facets of work, potentially positive organizational experiences were identified as being more uplifting than operational ones. Some evidence was found for expected associations among appraisals of work, burnout, and OCB, with organizational hassles and uplifts being more strongly associated with burnout and OCB, respectively, than operational ones. Some of the associations were moderated by disposition and coping style, although not always in expected directions, supporting the contention that chronic exposure to stress may impact on officer well-being over and above third variable influences. The study highlighted the importance of considering both positive and negative appraisals of the working environment in the study of police stress, and the potential adaptive function of both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping.