STA630 Research Methods Assignment 2 Solution Spring 2013



“Job Burnout” concept emerged in 1970s in the field of organizational behavior and soon it has inspired researchers to study it to develop better understanding of the concept. The literature reveals that researchers not only explored the causes of job burnout and its impact & consequences at individual as well as organizational level, but also they

have come with some remedial measures to combat it.

In simple words job burnout describes the personal agony of job stress (Schaufeli, Leiter, & Maslach, 2009). Burnout in literal meaning defined as physical or emotional exhaustion caused due to long term stress. Researchers have tried to define burnout in different ways and gave different explanations. Two important definitions are cited in the literature. One is presented by Nahavandi and Malekzadeh (1999) while second is given by Maslach (1986). Nahavandi and Malekzadeh defined job burnout as “feeling of exhaustion and a sense of powerlessness that leads to apathy and psychological withdrawal” (p. 536). Whereas, according to Maslach, “job burnout is a condition of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced self- efficacy” (p. 1).


Both definitions vary from each other in terms of scope and precision, in spite of the fact, both contributed a lot in developing an understanding of the concept. Nahavandi and Malekzadeh’s definition is precise but refers to pure psychological domain only. The definition lacked a common and precise measure of burnout. Whereas, Maslach’s definition is widely accepted and referred to multiple domains that will be elaborated later.


Maslach explained his definition and said that emotional exhaustion is the emotional state of the individuals characterized by loss of feelings towards work, lack of energy, and increased physical/mental illness (Leiter & Maslach, 1988). Individuals who are emotional exhausted will experience anxiety, fatigue and psychological diseases which will decrease productivity in long run. Depersonalization or dehumanization is marked by the treatment of others as objects rather than people. Workers may display an attitude to avoid work, loss of care/attention, and cynical attitude towards others (Maslach & Pines, 1977). Empirical evidence shows that depersonalization has abnormal effects, for example; increase in turnover, absenteeism, reduced productivity, which implies significant cost for both organizations and individuals (Jackson & Maslach, 1982). Whereas; reduced self- efficacy consists of feelings when an individual starts thinking that he is not good at work, less effective, and has also a weakened sense of accomplishment (Maslach et al., 1996). It results in a loss of will in which motivation is damaged, resulting in an increased inability to mobilize interests and capabilities. So, if employees have a feeling that they have nothing more to give, it would create sense of demotivation among them. 

Activity Required:

After reading the given literature review carefully; you are required to answer following questions:
1. From the given literature review; select best definition and then provide an operational definition of Job burnout by identifying (at least 3) dimensions.  (3 marks for each dimension)

Solution: Emotional exhaustion

a) loss of feelings

b) lack of energy

c) physical/mental illness


2. State (at least 3) elements of each defined dimension.  (1 mark for each element)


2) depersonalization

a) attitude to avoid work

b) loss of care attention

c) attitude towards others


 3. Develop (at least 1) question statement on any defined element by using 6 Likert scale. (2 marks for each question)

3) reduced self efficacy

a) when individual starts thinking that he is not good

b) less effective

c) sense of accomplishment.

4. Develop a causal hypothesis showing a cause and effect relation by using any of the defined dimensions with its consequences. 6 Marks