Working overtime is one of the risk factors for turnover intention; however, little is known about its mediating and moderating mechanisms, especially among social workers in China. This study aims to investigate the mediating role of burnout and the moderating role of organizational commitment in this association.
Sample. Data used in this study were from the China Social Work Longitudinal Study (CSWLS) 2019, a large-scale and nationally representative survey of social workers with a multistage random sampling design. The project of CSWLS 2019 sent out 5,965 valid questionnaires to social workers from 57 cities in mainland China. After deleting samples with significant missing values, the present study involved 5,930 sample for formal analysis.
Measures. Working overtime: Working overtime was assessed using three items that questioned individuals whether they were required to work overtime on working days, statutory holidays, or rest days. Burnout: Work burnout was measured by the Chinese version of the Maslach’s Burnout Inventory-Human Service Survey (MBI-HSS), which was validated in China with high reliability and validity. Organization commitment: Four self-report items designed by CSWLS 2019 were used to measure organization commitment. Turnover intention:Three items in CSWLS 2019 revised from Abrams et al.’s (1998) study were used to fit the research context and to measure social workers' turnover intention. Covariates: Gender, age, educational level, job position, annual income, and years of work in the social work profession were controlled in the analysis.
Analysis. Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables were computed in SPSS 25.0.Missing data were imputed using multiple imputation with the regression method.A two-step strategy was followed by testing a mediation model (path analysis) and then testing the moderation effect with simple slope analyses. To estimate the direct and indirect effects, a bootstrapping method was used with a 95 % bias-corrected confidence interval.
After controlling for the covariates, the direct effect of working overtime on turnover intention was non–significant (b = 0.022, p > 0.05). The indirect effects of working overtime on turnover intention via three indicators of burnout were significant. Working overtime positively predicted emotional exhaustion (b = 0.208, p < 0.001), depersonalization (b = 0.052, p < 0.001), and absence of accomplishment (b = 0.085, p < 0.001), which further increased the level of turnover intention among social workers. These results indicated that work burnout fully mediated the relationship between working overtime and turnover intention. Moreover, organization commitment moderated the association between working overtime and turnover intention. Working overtime was significantly associated with turnover intention for social workers with low organization commitment (bsimple= 0.046, p < 0.01), but its effect on turnover intention was not significant for social workers with high organization commitment (bsimple= –0.004, p > 0.05).
Conclusions and Implications:
This study contributed to an improved understanding of the mediation and moderation mechanisms between working overtime and turnover intention among social workers.These findings provide insights for policy making and managerial practice about how to retain social workers in China.