Review of Public Administration and Management

Review of Public Administration and Management
Open Access

ISSN: 2315-7844



Work stress, -Burnout and Organizational Politics: Perceptions and Experience of Senior Managers in the South African Government Sector

Leon Swartz and Cheryl A Potgieter

This study attempts to understand the causes and levels of work stress and burnout in a quantitative context. A mix method was adopted in which issues of organizational politics was also explored by using a qualitative approach. The sample was derived from a department of the South African Public Service and three quantitative questionnaires, namely the ‘Work Life Experience Questionnaire’, ‘Maslach’s Burnout Questionnaire’ and a ‘Biographical Questionnaire’, were the measuring tools for this study. The sample constituted of 341 senior officials whose positions ranged from Assistant Director to the Director General and 231 questionnaires were completed. The qualitative aspect used semi structured questionnaires as well as individual interviews. A cross-sectional approach was adopted. The results indicated that stress levels are significant high within and outside the work environment. One of the outstanding conjectures of this study is to investigate the relationship between stress and burnout in the post-apartheid era. The study also reveals that organizational politics plays a big role in influencing stress levels which leads to burnout. The aim of the study is to make national government departments aware of the relationship between job stress and burnout as well as the role that organizational politics played amongst senior government officials, post 1994 apartheid era.