The relationships between teachers' extra-role behaviours, job attitudes, stress and student's quality of school life

Year: 2002

Author: Hannam, Rachel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Recent research on teacher stress in primary schools (e.g. Leonard, Bourke & Schofield, 1999) has shown that higher levels of teacher exhaustion are associated with higher levels of student satisfaction. This paper seeks to explain this surprising finding by considering a construct discussed widely in the organisational literature known as extra-role or organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB). Teacher OCB may include extra efforts to make lessons enjoyable and interesting, organising extra-curricular activities and spending personal time talking with students. The proposed model of analysis also draws on literature relating to job burnout (Maslach, 1982), which generally suggests that the three components of chronic occupational stress - exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced accomplishment - occur together. However, this paper proposes that although teachers who engage in more OCB experience more exhaustion, they may simultaneously increase their feelings of personal accomplishment and work identification, which may in turn help to avert burnout. It is argued that only with this particular set of job attitudes are the effects of exhaustion caused by high levels of OCB sufficiently buffered to avoid job burnout, and thus positively affect students' quality of school life. The development and piloting of an instrument to measure teachers' OCB will be discussed. The preliminary findings reported herein are part of a larger ongoing study investigating the consequences of stress and OCB in primary school teachers.