Beheshtifar and Omidvar wrote their paper, “Causes to Create Job Burnout in Organizations”, for the International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences in June 2013. In that paper, they provided the following possible causes of burnout based on Anthony Cedoline’s book Job Burnout in Public Education: Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills (1982).
Lack of control over the scope and direction of one’s work.
When organizations become large, relationships among employees gradually turn distant and impersonal. Employees frequently become less involved in decision making. Even simple tasks can be delayed due to administrative policy or lack of funds.
When bureaucracy gets in the way of their work, employees become frustrated. They’ll start to resent the way they’re being held back from accomplishing something for the company. This leads to feelings of helplessness and lacking agency at work.
Lack of occupational feedback and communication.
Employees normally would want to know the expectations of the organization and whether or not they would have security of tenure with the company. They would want to know the behaviors that would be successful or unsuccessful in satisfying job requirements. It’s also important that they should be informed of any physical and psychological dangers that might exist while they’re on the job.
Employees need feedback to develop job values, aspirations, objectives, and accomplishments. Lack of clear, consistent information can result in distress. If evaluation only happens once or twice a year without regular, periodic feedback, the possibility of stress increases the longer the employee works in a vacuum.
Work overload or underload.
Researchers have found high levels of stress among individuals who have excessive workloads.
Long or unpredictable hours, too many responsibilities, work at a too-rapid pace, too many phone calls, dealing directly with difficult people without sufficient relief, dealing with constant crises, and supervising too many people (e.g., too many large teams on the same shift and overcrowding on the work floor) or having broad multifaceted job descriptions are characteristics of work overload.
In addition, boring tedious jobs or jobs without variety are equally distressful.
Contact overload or frequent encounters with other people in order to carry out job functions.
You know how people would often declare on social media that they would never work in customer service jobs ever again? It’s because of contact overload.
Some occupations require multiple encounters with people in various states of distress in a day. These encounters are unpleasant and distressful to the workers.
When their caseload is high, employees feel like they’re slowly losing control over their work and this affects consequent satisfaction they may feel towards their jobs.
They’re spending a large portion of their day in interacting with an endless stream of customers — whether face-to-face or through the phone. This leaves them little time or energy to communicate with their fellow workers, to provide or seek emotional support from them, or to pursue personal and professional growth opportunities.
Role conflict may be defined as the simultaneous occurrence of two or more opposing pressures such that a response to one makes compliance with the other impossible (e.g., minimizing call handling time versus providing an effective solution to the customer’s problem).
The most frequent role conflicts are :
(1) those between the individual’s values and those of the superior or the organization;
(2) the conflict between the demands of the workplace and the worker’s personal life; and
(3) the conflict between worker abilities and organizational expectations.
Numerous studies have shown that role conflict is largely the reason for low job satisfaction, frustration, decreased trust and respect, low confidence in the organization, morale problems, and high degrees of stress.
This may be defined as a lack of clarity about the job or a discrepancy between the information available to the employee and that which is required for successful job performance. In comparison to role conflict, role ambiguity has the highest correlation to job dissatisfaction.
Factors specific to the individual.
Personal factors such as financial stability, marital satisfaction, as well as personality factors such neuroticism, excessive shyness, inflexibility, and poor stress management skills all contribute to how one is affected by stress on the job. The mutual interaction and accumulation of both personal and occupational stressors can certainly contribute to job burnout.
Most of these causes of burnout can be avoided or reduced.
Companies can have an office policy that encourages employees to finish their work within their shifts and avoid overtime work as much as possible. Because customer service reps frequently experience contact overload, it’s best that outsourcing companies schedule them in short shifts or divided shifts to reduce the hours they spend interacting with disgruntled customers.
Role ambiguity and conflict is easily resolved by presenting clearer and more defined job descriptions. Meanwhile, outsourcing companies may use psychometric tools when hiring. These tests will determine which employee has the personality, attitude, and aptitude that fit in with the organization’s values and culture.