Burnout, coping and engagement in the hospitality industry
Willemse, Sharron Ann
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Extensive research on burnout in different occupational fields has taken place internationally. However, no studies on waitrons in South Africa have been performed, while this is an occupational group seemingly facing high emotional strain in interaction with customers. The aim of this study was to determine the relationships between burnout, coping, engagement and health in the hospitality industry. In doing so the researchers would be able to advise the industry on how they could help in preventing burnout among waitrons as well as enhancing their work engagement. A random sample using a survey design was used. The sample consisted of 150 waitrons in restaurants and coffee shops in Potchefstroom, Northwest Province. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - Human Services Survey, the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, the Cybernetic Coping Scale and the General Health Questionnaire were administered. The reliability of the measuring instruments was assessed with the use of Cronbach alpha coefficients. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Correlations and multiple regression analyses were used to assess the relationship between burnout, coping, engagement and general health. Findings indicate that in terms of burnout, the health of waitrons is predicted by their perceptions of accomplishment, having an avoidant coping strategy or favouring symptom reduction as coping strategy. Also, the interaction of their emotional exhaustion with the coping strategy of symptom reduction, as well as their feelings of accomplishment in interaction with having an accommodative coping strategy, predicted health. Findings indicate that in terms of engagement, experiencing high levels of energy in their work, being dedicated to their work, and not having an avoidant coping strategy or avoiding addressing the symptoms of stress was related to waitrons' health. Recommendations for future research were made.