This study suggested that the relationships between workplace stress, burnout and employee engagement depend on how the construct of employee engagement is actually measured. The study's hypotheses predicted negative relationships between employee engagement and workplace stress and further predicted that burnout would play a mediating role in those negative relationships. However, it was predicted that even similarly conceptualized measures of employee engagement would expose different relationships with these variables suggesting that the selection of employee engagement measurement instruments is vital both to understanding different aspects of the construct and to its operationalization in practice. Responding to a resurgence in scholarly interest in Kahn's (1990) conceptualization, two different (but similarly conceptualized) needs-satisfaction based measurements of employee engagement were employed: the Rich Scale (Rich, Lepine, & Crawford, 2010) and the ISA Scale (Soane et al., 2012). This study examined the relationships between workplace stress, burnout and engagement on both the overall and subscale (or dimensional) components of these two instruments to understand the similarities and differences between them and to evaluate what those similarities and/or differences might suggest from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Further, by not using burnout-antithesis based measures of engagement (which are often used in engagement-related research), this study sought to address some of the tensions in the scholarly literature about the relationships between burnout and employee engagement.

Date of publication

Spring 5-28-2014

Document Type




Persistent identifier