The purpose of this paper is to explore the phenomenon of burnout during early career among knowledge workers in information technology (IT) services industry in India.
The grounded theory research design was used to explore the research phenomenon. The study was based on the analysis of 43 in-depth interviews from the employees, managers and human resource professionals in IT services industry in India. Purposeful and theoretical sampling designs were used to locate the participants for the study. Grounded theory analytical procedures – open, axial and selective coding – were used to analyze and interpret the interview narratives. Atlas ti version 5.0. was used for qualitative data analysis.
The analysis of the interviews with the young knowledge workers reveal the following as the reasons for their burnout during early career: poor integration with the job and the organization at large, underemployment, stressful job and exhausting work environment, fear and insecurity of replacement of talent and downsizing. Strategies are discussed to deal with burnout situations among the young knowledge workers for individual and organizational well-being.
limitations/implications The findings of the study are applicable to organizations such as the IT services industry and thus the research outcome cannot be generalized. The study includes lived experiences of employees only during their early career.
The findings are relevant and useful in the practice domain as they are grounded in field reality. It provides directions for managerial and organizational practices in preventing burnout in early career among knowledge workers.
The paper is original and the present study is among the first attempts to investigate the nature of burnout through qualitative inquiry.
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