A Critical Evaluation Of: ‘The Crossover Of Burnout And Work Engagement Among Young Couples’

1663 words - 7 pages

There are a variety of methodological, epistemological and ontological issues highlighted within the article: ‘The crossover of burnout and work engagement among young couples’ (the Study) by Bakker, Demerouti and Schaufeli, published in 2005 within the Human Relations Journal, which will be summarised in the following paper. In order to critically evaluate, a number of questions concerning academic discipline, contribution to knowledge, methodology, relevance to management practice etc, must be satisfied – the following paper is an argument towards such answers and will demonstrate an overall review of the journal in which it is published.

The Study examined and tested hypothesis ...view middle of the document...

The authors have used both empirical and innate arguments to support their theory, highlighted by the expansion of their previous research in the field of crossover, burnout and positive emotions at work (notably the Job-Demands Resource model, Demerouti et al 2001), and the fact that this is the first study of its kind to be performed with regards to work engagement crossover respectively.
Furthermore, the detail of the research tends away from more eclectically explained management theories, however, it is trans-disciplinarian and closely related to context, as the outcome could greatly influence policy makers and academics to achieve practical advantage, related to Gibbons et al. (1994) Mode 2 category of knowledge production in modern society.
There is debate as to whether this is an inductive or deductive study, and one could argue it is both. The basis for its conception was the lack of evidence in the existing field and realisation by the authors from their previous work, that the possibility of crossover work engagement was concurrent. As a single paradigm it indicates an inductive theory, but in light of their earlier research shows a linear progression of authors Bakker and Demerouti indicating deductive approach, similar to the change seen in the Hawthorne Studies (Roethlisberger & Dickson 1939).
A large study of over 300 participants implies a quantitative study; however, the depth of the questions show overlay of a qualitative study style. Usually, a qualitative study into sensitive subjects would require trust to be gained between researcher and participant; however, they combat this by keeping questionnaires anonymous and voluntary. In doing so, the authors remained objective – however, the initial thought for research may have been driven by subjective bias on part that the authors had experienced crossover themselves at some stage.

Epistemologically speaking, the Study is neither interpretist nor hermeneutic, but positivist in its principles, given way by its scientific methodological use. Positivist thinking is the emphasis on explanation of human behaviour, and correlates with critical realism, which Bhaskar (1989) states ‘[social world] structures are not spontaneously apparent in the observable pattern of events; they can only be identified through the practical and theoretical work of the social sciences’. The Study clearly demonstrates empirical research use of data collection through observation, experimentation, formulation and hypothesis testing, acquiring new knowledge, correlating and integrating previous knowledge and integrating phenomena – key indicators of scientific methodology, in itself a key determinant of positivist thinking. Moreover, the Study’s phenomena testing are easily repeatable, again supporting the positivist approach for further research. Like much scientific research, positivism has evolved down a more empirical path antithetical to a metaphysical’s non empirical character.

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