The influence of transformational leadership and job burnout on child protective services case managers’ commitment and intent to quit
Originally Published In
Journal of Social Service Research
Job burnout is prevalent in child welfare with turnover rates estimated between 20% and 40% nationwide. Although effective leadership has been shown to facilitate positive job attitudes and low job burnout in many industries, including healthcare organizations, limited research exists examining whether transformational leadership affects job burnout and job attitudes among child protective services (CPS) case managers. Moreover, no research exists examining whether job burnout mediates the relationships between transformational leadership and job attitudes. This study was designed to examine the relationships between transformational leadership, job burnout, and job attitudes among CPS case managers and whether job burnout mediates those relationships. Bass's theory of transformational leadership and Maslach's theory of job burnout provided the theoretical frameworks for this study. In this nonexperimental study, 197 CPS case managers (83% women) participated by completing an online survey. Results indicated that transformational leadership and job burnout correlated with each other and with job attitudes as hypothesized, and job burnout partially mediated the relationships between transformational leadership and the criterion variables. Our findings suggest that child welfare organizations should hire and/or train transformational leaders to reduce job burnout and increase job attitudes among CPS case managers. Directions for future research are discussed.