- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 21, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1118692136
- ISBN-13: 978-1118692134
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It Paperback – January 21, 2000
"The Farmer's Son" by John Connell
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From the Back Cover
Today's workforce is experiencing job burnout in epidemic proportions. Workers at all levels, both white- and blue-collar, feel stressed out, insecure, misunderstood, undervalued, and alienated at their workplace. But what can be done to offset the devastating effects of organizational downsizing, outsourcing, and restructuring?
This original and important book debunks the common myth that when workers suffer job burnout they are solely responsible for their fatigue, anger, and "don't give a damn" attitude. The Truth About Burnout clearly shows where the accountability often belongs . . . squarely on the shoulders of the organization. Burnout is shown to be a sign of a major dysfunction within an organization, and says more about the workplace than it does about the employees.
Written by Drs. Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter leaders in the study of job burnout The Truth About Burnout challenges the accepted thinking about burnout and focuses on how to describe, predict, and alleviate this problem. The authors give workers, managers, and company leaders guidelines and strategies for eradicating the underlying problems within an organization that are the true source of burnout. They propose a new paradigm for organizational health and offer specific prescriptive measures. These measures—both for assessment, goal-setting, and techniques of crisis intervention, and for preventing burnout in the future—demand both collective initiative from employees and substantial cooperation from management.
The organizational change that is required will not only alleviate this problem--it also offers management the promise of greater profitability. For it is only engaged and committed employees who can remain functional and productive for the long run.
About the Author
CHRISTINA MASLACH is professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the creator of the widely used psychological test instrument The Maslach Burnout Inventory and the author of Burnout: The Cost of Caring (1982).
MICHAEL P. LEITER is dean of the faculty of pure and applied science and professor of psychology at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is also director of the Centre for Organizational Research & Development.
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Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic physical, emotional and interpersonal stressors at work, leading to exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy. In a memorable term the authors describe it as erosion of the soul.
Burnout has to be seen in the larger organizational context of people's relationship with their work: it's usually the job and the organization rather than the individual, although there are clearly differences in individuals' resilience to burnout.
There are many symptoms of burnout, including trouble sleeping, constantly worrying, feeling unappreciated or "used" at work and feeling less effective or competent. Many people find that they easily becoming angry or irritated and altogether too many start drinking or abusing other substances.
Burnout is immensly costly, not just for individuals, but also for organizations. I agree with another reviewer who lamented the paucity of data on just how costly burnout is to a company's bottom line. But judging by the number of corporations now asking epxerts to go in and help them deal with the burnout problem, I think that the message is getting through.
This is an excellent overview of the problem nearly ten years ago. If anything, the situation is becoming worse, and Maslach, and now an expanding band of other psychologists has continued to do empirical research on the problem, and have been coming up with ever more sophisticated solutions.
But even with the passage of time, this book remains highly recommended.
Much of the past advice on the topic of burnout focuses on how to help people cope with burnout. These techniques are useful and come in handy, but unfortunately they do not position or fortify people to reach higher levels of performance. Simply treating the symptoms of burnout is like giving someone a medicine that provides temporary relief from external signs that they have a cold. After the medication wears off, they still have a virus raging through their body that's slowing them down. Likewise the "virus" that causes burnout is disengagement with work and no matter what temporary relief solution we provide to ease the pain, in the form of workshops on how to cope and "employee assistance programs" at the end of the day the "virus of disengagement" is still alive and well and impairing performance.
This book is for anyone manager or individual contributor who has decided to stop coping and "sugar-coating" and instead seek a real and practical solution to burnout. I highly recommend it.
Co-author Manage IT