Burnout: Why interventions fail and what can we do differently

Anthony Montgomery, Katerina Georganta, Karolina Doulougeri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Job burnout can have serious personal consequences for individuals, including broken relationships, problematic alcohol use and suicidal ideation. At an organizational level, it is related to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, job turnover and early retirement. Unfortunately, burnout is noteworthy in that interventions to address it have been largely unsuccessful. Typically, interventions are either person-directed or organization-directed, or a combination of both. Even interventions that are initially successful see positive effects diminish over time. However, the accumulated evidence strongly suggests that the conditions that contribute to the development of burnout are more related to the characteristics of organizations than those of individuals per se. The most probable reason for this is that burnout represents a symptom of organizational dysfunction, not a bona fide outcome per se. In the following chapter we will locate the “real” place of burnout within the organizational system, review the reasons why interventions to address burnout have failed, identify the process and content mechanisms as to why they fail, and argue that Action Research has significant potential to address burnout in organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDerailed Organizational Interventions for Stress and Well-Being
Subtitle of host publicationConfessions of Failure and Solutions for Success
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789401798679
ISBN (Print)9789401798662
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Burnout
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Intervention
  • Teachers


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