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Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

SCMRC White Paper Addresses Truck Driver Burnout

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October 15, 2020

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The Supply Chain Management Research Center at the Walton College has published the first in its new SCMRC LEAD White Paper Series.

The report – Truck Driver Burnout: Ways Carriers Can Fight Stress-Related Turnover – is a collaboration of SCMRC Executive Director Donnie Williams; Stephanie Thomas, an associate professor of practice in the Department of Supply Chain Management; and communications specialist Ron Gordon.

According to the white paper:

“Trucking firms have spent decades trying to address the industry’s driver retention problem. Yet despite those efforts, in 2019 the American Trucking Association noted a shortage of 60,800 drivers. Past attempts have not solved the problem, so we are taking a different approach. We focus primarily on the often overlooked –but crucial – link between psychological factors and driver turnover … we identify stressors truck drivers face, examine the relationship between those stressors and burnout, and show driver managers how to monitor and address burnout before it causes drivers to quit.”

This white paper is the first in a planned series highlighting the academic research of the Walton College faculty and serving to advance the vision of the Supply Chain Management Research Center to create an impact within the supply chain industry through research, thought leadership and collaborative learning.

Report Highlights

  • The four main job-related stressors truck drivers identify are: loneliness and loss of family life, health-related issues and uncertainty of health-related support, a lack of respect from various parties and government regulations.

  • Drivers initially experience each of burnout’s three dimensions in a specific order: exhaustion, cynicism and then inefficacy. Inefficacy is a feeling of ineffectiveness. Drivers experiencing inefficacy are much more likely to quit.

  • Carriers can monitor driver burnout using Maslach’s Burnout Inventory: General Survey.

  • We offer ways firms can address all three burnout dimensions and their related stressors.

Read the full report at the Supply Chain Management Research Center’s webpage.

Walton College

Walton College of Business

Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

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