Linking work, occupational identity and burnout: the case of managers

Hamouche, Salima
Marchand, Alain
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Emerald Group Holdings Ltd.
Purpose: Based on identity theory, identity represents a set of meanings individuals hold for themselves based on their role in the society. Hence, they often engage in the process of verifying their role, seeking for the compatibility between these meanings and those perceived in a specific lived situation. If this compatibility is not perceived, this is likely to generate negative emotions. that could compromise their mental health. This paper examines the contribution of a weak verification of role identity in the explanation of managers ‘burnout. It aims at integrating identity theory into occupational stress research by analysing the proposition that a low level of verification of a salient role-identity will be associated with a high level of burnout. Hence, we consider identity salience as a moderating variable. Design/methodology/approach: Cross-sectional data of 314 Canadian managers employed in 56 Quebec firms. Multilevel regression analyses were performed to analyse the data. Findings: Low levels of verification of some standards of managers' role identity, mainly work demands and recognition which encompasses (monetary and non-monetary recognition, career prospects and job security) are significantly associated with managers' burnout. Furthermore, as predicted, results show that identity salience plays a moderating role on the relation between a weak verification of some standards of managers' role identity and burnout, mainly work demands, superior support and recognition. Originality/value: This study proposes a relatively unexplored approach for the study of managers' burnout. It broadens the scope of research on workplace mental health issues, by the integration of the identity theory. © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.
This article is not available at CUD collection. The version of scholarly record of this article is published in International Journal of Workplace Health Management (2021), available online at:
Burnout, Human resource management, Identities, Manager, Mental health, Role salience, Stress, Work identity
Hamouche, S. and Marchand, A. (2021). Linking work, occupational identity and burnout: the case of managers. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 14(1), 12-31.