Work-Family Conflict and Burnout Amid COVID-19: Exploring the Mitigating Effects of Instrumental Leadership and Social Belonging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic brought disruptions to government workplaces, including abrupt transitions to remote work for many employees. Remote work can offer a physically distant environment and greater flexibility for individual employees and organizations; remote work also creates or exacerbates potential work-life balance tensions. Drawing on Job-Demands Resources theory, we propose that two organizational resources, instrumental leadership (a vertical organizational resource) and a sense of social belonging (a horizontal organizational resource), help prevent burnout by alleviating conflict between work- and family-life activities. Using survey responses from local government employees collected during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 2020), we show that employees with a strong sense of social belonging experience less work-family conflict and, in turn, report lower levels of burnout. We also find that social belonging, as a horizontal organizational resource, appears more important for reducing burnout in a period characterized by disruption than the more formal, vertical resource of instrumental leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReview of Public Personnel Administration
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • burnout
  • COVID-19
  • instrumental leadership
  • job-demands resources theory
  • sense of social belonging
  • work-family conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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