Organisational politics, sense of coherence and work wellness of protection services members
Muller, Petra Helena Elizabeth
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Continuous changes in the security systems around the world, along with the increased pressure to perform may result in feelings of distrust, strain in interpersonal relations, psychological strain, fatigue and tension, all affecting the well-being of employees, especially among protection services members. Work wellness becomes an important aspect when focusing on the safety of people to whom the protection services delivers a service, as well as when the focus is on the safety of these members. Burnout and work engagement are specific focus areas in this regard. To measure burnout and work engagement, it is important to use reliable and valid instruments. Along with burnout and work engagement there are other focus areas that can have a direct influence on these dimensions, namely the perception of organisational politics. The impact of perceptions of organisational politics on burnout and work engagement can be moderated or mediated by sense of coherence. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between work wellness, organisational politics and sense of coherence through the development of a model of work wellness for protection services members comprising of burnout, work engagement, organisational politics and sense of coherence. The research method consists of a literature review and an empirical study. A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect the data. An availability sample (N = 341) from protection services members was taken. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MBI-GS), Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), Perceptions of Organisational Politics (POPS), Orientation to Life Questionnaire (OTLQ) and a biographical questionnaire were administered. The statistical analysis was carried out with the help of the SPSS-programme and AMOS. The statistical methods utilised in the article consisted of descriptive statistics, Cronbach alpha coefficients, exploratory factor analysis, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and structural equation modelling methods. Exploratory factor analysis confirmed a two factor model of burnout, consisting of burnout (exhaustion and cynicism) and professional efficacy which represented the data quite well after certain items were left out. In previous research among protection services members two factors in the UWES could also be extracted namely vigour/dedication and absorption. The MBI-GS and UWES both showed acceptable internal consistencies. The analysis of Pearson correlations in this study showed that burnout is negatively related to Vigour/dedication and sense of coherence. Professional efficacy is positively related to Vigour/dedication and absorption. Vigour/Dedication is positively related to absorption and sense of coherence. Prolonged exposure to things like criminal aspects, life-and-death decision making and general political behaviour at organisational level, can result in feelings of burnout. Negative perceptions of organisational politics resulted in higher levels of burnout experienced by protection services members. Sense of coherence mediated the effect of organisational politics on work wellness. Recommendations for future research were made.