Chapter 8

Understanding Burnout: Work and Family Issues

Christina MaslachUniversity of California, Berkeley

Burnout is a hot topic in today’s workplace, given its high costs for both employees and organizations. What causes this problem, and what can be done about it? Conventional wisdom says that burnout is primarily a problem of individuals. But research argues otherwise. Burnout is not a problem of people but of the social environment in which they work. The structure and functioning of the workplace shape how people interact with one another and how they carry out their jobs. When that workplace does not recognize the human side of work, and there are major mismatches between the nature of the job and the nature of people, then there will ...

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