Factors related to burnout among social workers

Broad topic selected is Factors related to burnout among Singapore social workers. Develop a research proposal based on this issue. You can tweak/amend this topic or statement to go along with the research proposal.

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Assignment guidelines
– must have quantitative component
-can be mixed methods
-NO need to collect data/ administer surveys
-must design/ find questionnaires (designed a set of qn that are aligned to the objectives of the reseach)


Sample Answer


Problem Statement

Different work environments continue to impose varying experiences in a bid to ensure their employees maintain a healthy work balance. Work structures that tend to be strict and mired by extensive micromanagement tend to become toxic for employees leading to the emergence of burnout. Employees suffering from burnout tend to have reduced work output levels as they will record frequent cases of absenteeism to handle the situation. Burnout is the extended reaction toward emotional and personal stressors triggered around a work environment. This translates to individuals suffering from burnout suffering from emotional exhaustion, disconnect with clients, and reduced work outputs. Social workers on the verge of caregiving services are greatly predisposed to emotional exhaustion leading to burnout, which is translated to their work output expectations. Finally, these social workers will receive negative evaluations across their performance appraisals and performance schedules, which will impact their clients. This study, therefore, strives to construct how burnout impacts the work output levels of social workers across Singapore. The study will focus on how burnout manifests itself among social workers and becomes a toxic trait within the work environment. This study will utilize a systematic review and synthesis as the best method to index and consolidate existing research on burnout rates among social workers (Tan et al., 2022). This systematic review will focus on empirical studies examining burnout among social workers in Singapore. Finally, the research questions will be guided by evaluating the work output performance reviews of social workers affected by burnout across Singapore.

Literature Review

It was not until recently, in 2019, that the World Health Organization recognized the significant impeach of burnout as an occupational hazard that significantly affects an organizational environment. The World Health Organization also stated that the emergence of many toxic work environments was the primary reason for burnout among employees. Burnout according to WHO was dissected into three dimensions starting with emotional exhaustion leading to detachment and negativity within the workplace. This was noted to generally lead to decreased professional efficacy, which is notable through the work output performance of workers. Burnout is primarily caused by work-related stressors factors characterized by long working hours, micromanagement, poor work-life balance, and the lack of social support. Singapore continues to pose a competitive work environment faced with great corporate culture striving to match world-class standards (Tan et al., 2022). This means that with the creation of competitive and strong work culture, emotional stressors are bound to emerge. This comes with the stigmatization of employees seeking mental healthcare arising from this work culture leading to a high score in corporate burnout.

Burnout among workers comes at a high cost to organizations since employees are likely to fall short of the anticipated work output expectations. According to a survey of 1,000 practicing social worker across Singapore, 34% have reported to be in a state of burnout and 75% have dealt with burnout before (Lee, et al., 2018). This social workers tend to overwork themselves and have little or no time to observe their mental health stability and eventually affecting their work output. Organizations will suffer from a high rate of absenteeism as they seek to combat work-related stressors. Unscheduled absenteeism will come at a high cost, especially for salaried employees since the organization will be compensating them for services not offered. This ripple effect will, later on, spread to unnecessary administrative costs arising from high turnover and replacement costs. Away from absenteeism, there can also be cases of presentism whereby workers are attending to their work duties while ignoring the stress impact on their mental and physical well-being. This, however, will lead to reduced productivity, manifested in missed annual targets in work output levels. This has been the case for most social workers across Singapore as the country grumbles with the competitive work culture and a stigma for mental health (Tan et al., 2020). Additionally, the increased rates of burnout cases for social workers means that the human resource department will constantly recruit new workers and offer training sessions. This, therefore, calls for organizations to put up measures that will recognize the burnout levels in workers and prevent such cases through social support to avoid unnecessary budgetary allocations.

Employees are constantly looking for means to prevent burnout among their workers in a bid to increase their work output. The strategies employed include offering workers realistic and manageable goals and coupling this with facilitation tools to help achieve these. Organizations are also continuously engaging their workers in training and development sessions to ensure that they understand the importance of their work value towards their employer’s prosperity. Moreover, offering workers a feedback platform and ensuring that their needs are given priority goes a long way in reducing burnout cases among workers. According to Lee et al., (2018), organizations across Singapore have committed to nurturing a healthy workforce by creating a mentally fit work environment. Human resource practitioners across Singapore are committing to tackling burnout among workers and this includes offering health insurance coverage for mental consultations. Additionally, virtual counseling sessions are being offered backup by training sessions equipping workers with the necessary skills to face mental health challenges. Social workers’ plight in burnout cases has been addressed by offering flexible work schedules, and this has come with the bigger challenge of ensuring that their work assignments can be handled remotely (Tan et al., 2018). Accessibility to remote work by most social workers has therefore proven to be a mitigation solution that has enabled them to meet their work expectations more seamlessly.

Personality, environmental and demographical factors have been used to tabulate data regarding burnout cases in social workers across Singapore. Personality traits like emotional stability, self-efficacy, and the proactive approach of workers have revealed the varied positive and negative impacts of burnout cases. This has led to a further multidimensional approach being used to evaluate the personality of workers and how this has affected their burnout cases within their work environments. This has led to research developing a repository of personality traits that can be used for assessing the level of burnout cases among workers. This has revealed that personal relationships and attitudes control burnout translating to a more social rather than personal phenomenon (Tan et al., 2020).

Moreover, environmental and demographic factors can also not be overlooked in leading to burnout cases among social workers. These risk factors affect different social workers, leading to being predisposed to certain traits that eventually translate to reduced work output levels. This, therefore, calls for collective efforts to study certain risk factors that can alter the result of burnout study cases among social workers across Singapore.

Research Questions

  1. What are the significant stressors and factors causing burnout among social workers in Singapore?
  2. To what extent has the human resource department established social support measures to control burnout in social workers in Singapore?
  3. What is the impact of ignoring burnout on the work output expectations of social workers in the Singapore work culture?
  4. How has burnout affected the work output of social workers across Singapore’s competitive work culture?

Research Design

This study will utilize a research method that will seek to evaluate the level of burnout cases against their work output performance rates across Singapore. A survey will be used to conduct the research finding that will be administered to human resource practitioners across various identified consultancy firms in Singapore. Conducting surveys through independent human resource consultants will offer an unbiased opinion regarding the level of burnout cases affecting social workers. Additionally, convenience sampling will be applied since the research intends to reduce and simplify the data collection sessions, utilizing easy-to-access data subjects (Mahajan, 2018). This random sampling method will offer an equal platform for every subject to offer data bases on the research questions established that will be administered through an open-ended questionnaire. The survey research will be applicable in data collection due to the large number of social worker cases that need to be covered. The survey methodology will ensure that the data collected pertains to a higher statistical power and validation and thus becomes simplified. Additionally, the administration of the survey technique is time-saving since this can be addressed remotely, reducing geographical dependency.

The survey method will entail administering questionnaires to the human resource consultants selected through random sampling. The questionnaires will address the burnout challenges facing social workers across Singapore and, therefore, will offer flexibility to the respondents. The open-ended questionnaires will offer the respondents flexibility in their understanding and interpretation of burnout cases. Additionally, the scalability and data accuracy offered through the questionnaire method will improve the validity of the research findings (Taherdoost, 2016). The reason for choosing questionnaires as a preferred method of data collection for this study is that they will be for the detailed interrogation of the burnout issues and how it has impacted the work output of social workers. The questionnaires will be framed strategically and phrased accordingly to ensure that the data collected responds to the desired research questions.

The use of questionnaires in data collection also calls for ethical consideration to ensure that the trustworthiness of the collected and evaluated data is enriched. Therefore, this study will call for the respondents’ anonymity to ensure that the identified human resource consultants are not affected in regard to their future business aspirations (Boparai et al., 2018). The respondents’ anonymity also increases the data’s validity since the responses offered will be unbiased from the fear of identification. Moreover, ethical consideration ensures that the respondents are devoid of coercion during data collection and could retract from the study upon request.


  1. Interview: How has your consultancy experience prepared you to identify social workers suffering from burnout?
  2. Technical: Kindly explain the work environment assessment process you apply to gauge various stressor factors that could lead to burnout among social workers.
  3. Demographic: What age-specific cohorts among social workers have been adversely affected by burnout across Singapore?
  4. Environmental: What regions have social workers across Singapore significantly been affected by burnout?
  5. Personality: How do you deal with social workers suffering from burnout?


Assumptions and Limitations


  1. This study will assume that randomly selected human resource consultants have previously dealt with social worker organizations and identified the looming challenge that comes with burnout issues.
  2. The selected research methodology is appropriate in addressing the problem statement and will lead to the achievement of the purpose of the study.


  1. This study will be limited by the definition of burnout within the work environment of social workers in regards to identifying and concluding that certain activities result from burnout and not mere work environment conditions.
  2. The study will also be limited by the randomly selected research participants that will be chosen for selecting the sample size. Thus certain outliers may exist and may not be adequately addressed by this study.



Boparai, J. K., Singh, S., & Kathuria, P. (2018). How to design and validate a questionnaire: a guide. Current clinical pharmacology13(4), 210-215.

Lee, P. T., Loh, J., Sng, G., Tung, J., & Yeo, K. K. (2018). Empathy and burnout: a study on residents from a Singapore institution. Singapore medical journal59(1), 50.

Mohajan, H. K. (2018). Qualitative research methodology in social sciences and related subjects. Journal of economic development, environment, and people7(1), 23-48.

Taherdoost, H. (2016). Validity and reliability of the research instrument; how to test the validation of a questionnaire/survey in a research. How to test the validation of a questionnaire/survey in a research (August 10, 2016).

Tan, B. Y., Kanneganti, A., Lim, L. J., Tan, M., Chua, Y. X., Tan, L., . & Ooi, S. B. (2020). Burnout and associated factors among health care workers in Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association21(12), 1751-1758.

Tan, K. H., Lim, B. L., Foo, Z., Tang, J. Y., Sim, M., Lee, P. T., & Fong, K. Y. (2022). Prevalence of burnout among healthcare professionals in Singapore. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore51(7), 409-416.

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