Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Co-Chair; Marcus Lam, PhD, Co-Chair; Stephanie Hszieh, PhD, Member


Employee Engagement, Burnout, Job Satisfaction, Organizational Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction, Engagement


Since Kahn introduced the concept of employee engagement in 1990, the focus on motivating employees has been en vogue in practitioner literature. The federal government as well now measures its agencies annually on how well they implement conditions conducive to engagement. Federal agencies are also ranked annually as “Best Places to Work” based on their aggregated score on three survey items deemed to represent job/organizational satisfaction. The concept of burnout, or the so-called “erosion of engagement”, however, has received significantly less attention. To begin to fill this void in the literature, secondary survey data from the 2017 Organizational Assessment Survey administered to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California was examined. Specifically, the focus of this study was the Headquarters (HQ)/Program Executive Office (PEO) survey, for which 870 out of 1111 military and civilian personnel responded for an overall response rate of 78%.

Using factor analytic techniques on the 122 survey items, this study first identified groupings of survey items to construct a potential burnout index, and a sufficiently high Cronbach’s Alpha confirmed the internal consistency of the resultant burnout index. The study then examined demographic differences in employees’ perceptions of burnout, engagement conditions, and job/organizational satisfaction. Finally, regression analysis was used to test whether burnout moderates the relationship between engagement conditions and job/organizational satisfaction.

Demographic variables such as HQ organizational code, age, tenure, and intent to leave were significant predictors. While results indicated burnout does not have a significant interaction effect with engagement conditions on job/organizational satisfaction for the overall SPAWAR HQ/PEO workforce, the moderating interaction was detected for one of its HQ organizational codes.

The results of this research will help those federal agencies directed to spend time, effort and taxpayer dollars to increase employee engagement. The study’s significance lies in its potential to contribute to the understanding of burnout as a potential moderator of employee engagement.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies