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Personality as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, and Burnout


Gangaram Singh, Management Department, College of Business Administration, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182. E-mail:


We propose that role conflict and role ambiguity act as stressors to increase burnout. Personality, however, serves as a resource that moderates the negative effects of role conflict and role ambiguity on burnout. To test these hypotheses, we used a sample of 263 faculty members at a large state university. Stepwise regression shows that role conflict increased emotional exhaustion, while extraversion and emotional stability reduced emotional exhaustion. Role conflict increased depersonalization, while agreeableness decreased depersonalization. Role ambiguity reduced personal accomplishments, while agreeableness and emotional stability increased personal accomplishments. Role conflict combined with extraversion, and role ambiguity combined with conscientiousness to increase personal accomplishments. Our results highlight the complexity of burnout in the workplace.