Browse Definitions:
Definition

burnout

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Burnout is persistent physical, mental or emotional exhaustion caused by long-term stress, usually as a result of excessive workplace and/or personal responsibilities.

Because burnout cannot coexist with engagement, it's a serious problem for the enterprise. Burnout is associated with higher stress levels, poorer performance, more illnesses and absenteeism, and less productivity. In a corporate culture that places high demands on employees,  the cumulative effect can be lower profitability and higher staff turnover. 

The concept of burnout comes from psychology. Herbert Freudenberger, a clinical psychologist, first identified the concept in the 1970s. Social psychologists Christina Maslach and Susan Jackson subsequently developed an assessment tool, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, that characterizes burnout as a syndrome involving exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. The predominant characteristic of burnout is often considered to be exhaustion. 

Burnout is not considered a separate disorder because it overlaps significantly with depression. A recent study by Bianchi, Schonfeld, and Laurent found that 90 percent of workers identified as burned out also met diagnostic criteria for depression. 

Depending on the particular case, burnout may be alleviated by changes in the work environment and job demands, as well as changes in the individual's behavior and approach to work. If nothing changes, however, burnout tends to create a downward spiral, in which an unsustainable situation leads to exhaustion and dissatisfaction, which lead to poorer performance, which in turn leads to a worsened work situation or even job loss and increased stress on the individual.

See also: work-life balance, micromanagement, mindfulness training, employee advocacy

See Shawn Achor's TED talk, "Stop working hard. Start working happy."

This was last updated in November 2014 ???publishDate.suggestedBy???

Continue Reading About burnout

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchCloudProvider

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.

SearchSecurity

  • cyberextortion

    Cyberextortion is a crime involving an attack or threat of an attack coupled with a demand for money or some other response in ...

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

  • National Security Agency (NSA)

    The National Security Agency is the official U.S. cryptologic organization of the United States Intelligence Community under the ...

SearchHealthIT

  • Practice Fusion

    Practice Fusion Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that developed a free electronic health record (EHR) system available to ...

  • RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator)

    An RHIA, or registered health information administrator, is a certified professional who oversees the creation and use of patient...

  • 21st Century Cures Act

    The 21st Century Cures Act is a wide-ranging healthcare bill that funds medical research and development, medical device ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)

    Random Access Memory (RAM) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • floating gate transistor (FGT)

    A floating gate transistor (FGT) is a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology capable of holding an electrical ...

  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close