Pathways to retention: Job satisfaction, burnout, & organizational commitment among social workers

Aaron Brown, Jayme Walters, Aubrey Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Job satisfaction, burnout, and organizational commitment remain concerns for human service organizations. Few studies have utilized a large sample of social workers to investigate these factors while also considering practice setting. In the present study, work-related burnout, satisfaction with workload, and satisfaction with organizational environment are examined as factors contributing to organizational commitment while comparing the measurement and predictive strength of these factors based on practice setting. Method: Confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation modeling were used to estimate and compare factors related to organizational commitment with a sample of 1,786 social workers practicing in the United States. Results: Satisfaction with organizational environment showed a strong positive relationship with organizational commitment. Work-related burnout was confirmed to have a negative relationship with organizational commitment. No measurement or structural model differences existed between social workers from different types of practice settings. Discussion: Findings suggest that increasing satisfaction with organizational environment is a better target for retaining employees than reducing workloads. Results emphasize the need for human service organizations to foster work environments which provide a climate of wellness, support, and recognition of employees’ contributions at work.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)577-594
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Social Work
StatePublished - 2019


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