Learned Helplessness in Public Administration: The Case of San Diego City
Learned helplessness is a psychological and cognitive process and state of mind when an individual remains unresponsive to new stimuli because of past experiences of (perceived) failure, which prevent subsequent learning. The state of learned helplessness could have an adverse effect on the employee productivity and could hinder adequately utilizing the human resources that are so critical to entities. It is shown that learned helplessness lies behind many problems such as unwillingness to work and perform operations or tasks as a matter of form; inability to engage in new and innovative thinking and practices; and incapability to go beyond routine works and operation. The objective of the present study is to identify factors that lead to learned helplessness among public sector employees. Specifically this article examines the relationship between the San Diego Municipal employees’ seniority level, position and demographic characteristics and their levels of learned helplessness. The survey results indicate that learned helplessness is correlated with the position, seniority, education and age of public sector employees; however gender was not correlated with helplessness.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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