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Gender, effort-reward imbalance at work, and burnout: Findings from a developing Caribbean country

Dwayne Devonish (Department of Management Studies, University of the West Indies, Bridgetown, Barbados )

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



The purpose of this study is to examine gender as a key moderator in the relationship between effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and burnout among employees in Caribbean workplaces.


Based on a survey sample of 323 employees in a small developing country in the Caribbean, this study tested the hypothesis that the stressor–strain relationship (captured by ERI and burnout) is stronger for women than for men.


The results revealed that the effect of high effort-low rewards (i.e. ERI) on burnout among females was significantly larger than its effect on burnout for males. In contrast, high effort-high rewards were significantly associated with higher burnout levels for males.

Research limitations/implications

The study used a cross-sectional approach using self-report measures of burnout, effort and rewards.

Practical implications

Management in organisations should ensure that male and female employees’ efforts and contributions at work are appropriately and fairly rewarded as a means of reducing negative effects of ERIs.


The study examined how gender moderated the adverse effects of a popular work-stress model on employee health in a developing country context.



Devonish, D. (2017), "Gender, effort-reward imbalance at work, and burnout: Findings from a developing Caribbean country", Gender in Management, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 441-452.



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