Highly engaged but burned-out: intra-individual profiles in the US workforce

30 Jan 2018

Purpose: This study used the job demands-resources model to investigate intraindividual engagement–burnout profiles, and demands–resources profiles. Methodology: A representative sample of the U.S. workforce was surveyed online. Latent profile analysis (LPA) and configural frequency analysis examined intra-individual profiles and their inter-relations. Findings: A negative inter-individual correlation between engagement and burnout suggested that burnout tends to be lower when engagement is high, but intra-individual analyses identified both aligned engagement–burnout profiles (high, moderate, and low on both variables), and discrepant profiles (high engagement–low burnout; high burnout–low engagement). High engagement and burnout co-occurred in 18.8% of workers. These workers reported strong mixed (positive and negative) emotions and intended to leave their organization. Another LPA identified three demands–resources profiles: (1) low demands–low resources, but moderate self-efficacy, (2) low workload and bureaucracy demands but moderate information processing demands–high resources, and (3) high demands–high resources. Workers with high engagement–high burnout profiles often reported high demands– high resources profiles. In contrast, workers with high engagement–low burnout profiles often reported profiles of high resources, moderate information processing demands, and low other demands. Originality/value: This study examined the intersection of intra-individual engagement–burnout profiles and demands–resources profiles. Previous studies examined only one of these sides or relied on inter-individual analyses. Interestingly, many employees appear to be optimally engaged while they are burned-out and considering to leave their jobs