Job Burnout - Meaning & Definition

Published in Human Resources Terms by MBA Skool Team Last Updated: February 28, 2024Reading time:

What is Job Burnout?

Job burnout is a state in which an employee feels prolonged stress related to physical, mental and emotional factors that could lead to depression on the job. This can be due to feeling a limited skills or low reward for the work.

Job burnout can lead to demotivation of the employee reducing the operational efficiency and inducing frustration and behavior that can lead to more negative energy being spread in the organizational environment that can further hamper the smooth functioning at the workplace.

Burnout is a phenomenon associated with job stress. It is a state of complete exhaustion of physical, emotional and mental resources due to an extreme and long term struggle to reach a target. Burnout builds gradually, manifesting itself in symptoms such as irritability, decreasing productivity, discouragement, exhaustion, entrapment and resentment.

Components of burnout:

• Emotional exhaustion – It is the first stage of the burnout process.

• Depersonalization - Follows emotional exhaustion. The affected treats others as objects.

• Reduced personal accomplishment - Final component of job burnout. Characterized by declining feelings of competence and success.

Burnout can result from various factors:


• Lack of control over work

• Lack of recognition

• Ambiguity in job description

• Monotony of work

• Unable to see final result of work

• A chaotic or high-pressure environment


• Overload of work accompanied by little or no personal time

• Over expectation from others

• Overburden of responsibility and little assistance

• Lack of sleep

• Lack of work life balance

Symptoms of burnout:

• Sudden temper outburst

• Lack of motivation

• Anxiety and panic

• Depression

Action to be taken in case of burnout:

By employees:

• Addressing the issue: Informing a superior about the condition.

• Vacation: Taking time off from the stressful environment. This refreshes the mind and has a positive effect on body

By employers:

• Proper job specification: This helps the employee in understanding the work that he is expected to do so that he does not feel overburdened or underemployed.

• Regular job Rotation: Repetitive work can lead to boredom which in turn leads to lack of motivation and depression. So job rotation can be a used as a tool for keeping the employee engaged and interested.

• Periodic health assessment (mental & physical)

Hence, this concludes the definition of Job Burnout along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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