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Organizational Problems: Stress and Burnout of Employees

Stress and burnout are the major causes of employee-related problems in organizations. Stress is defined as happenings that cause anxiety, discomfort, and tension. Stress not only affects the performance of employees in the workplace but also affects their personal lives negatively. Stress responses refer to the physiological and behavioral effects that stressful conditions have on a person. These responses have a lot of contribution to the destructive nature of stress on the processes of an organization. Stress can thus be described as the predecessor of burnout since burnout is one of the repercussions of stress. Burnout can be defined as the lassitude that captures employees when they are under distress. Thus an employee experiencing burnout lacks the motivation and psyche to perform their duties as they should when they are under stress (Timothy 2008, p. 1).

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The causes of stress in an organization are innumerable. Most of the stress encountered by employees in an organization can be primarily attributed to the physical and psychological demands of working environments. This is, especially, the case if the overwhelming demands of the organizations are not well rewarded in terms of remuneration. Employees, therefore, lack the motivation to perform their duties well. This is the definition of employee burnout. The stressful conditions could also be unrelated to the organization. Employees could be facing insurmountable personal problems that may affect every part of their lives including productivity in the workplace. Examples of such problems could be problems encountered in relationships and marriages, deaths of loved ones, financial problems etcetera. Stress may also result from personality conflicts in the working environment. The interpersonal relationships in an organization are characterized by many hardships and many employees may be affected by such. Thus in an environment where certain employees are undermined, the individuals will be affected and this will, in turn, affect productivity. On the other hand, as much as stress may have a considerable contribution to employee burnout, the main cause of the latter is the performance of repetitive processes. If employees do the same work in the same way over and over again, they get bored with the work, and thus their productivity and effectiveness in the work are affected (McManus 2009, p. 1).

Both stress and burnout have serious effects on the productivity of an organization. Its main cause as stated above is the mismatch between the inputs of the affected parties and the benefits they get for their contribution to the job. In other situations, work is adequately rewarded but the workload of the employees is too much. Thus employees may lack motivation due to the workload. Thus employees may perform poorly due to avoidance of too much straining in their work. Organizations should realize the importance of curbing stress-related problems due to the seriousness of their repercussions. After this realization, strategies should be set to avoid every kind of stress and employee burnout to ensure that organizational processes are run efficiently and with the desired promptness.

Stress management can be achieved using several methods. The main method of ensuring that employees do not underperform due to stress is by the use of various methods of motivation. Motivation can be multidimensional. This is in the sense that several methods can be used to achieve it. It could be in form of ensuring strong interpersonal relationships in the workplace to reduce socially-related stress, rotation of duties from time to time to reduce work monotony and therefore ensure that employee burnout is kept at bay, reexamination of the duties assigned to employees to ensure that the job does not overwhelm them, periodical improvement of employee remuneration. The category of stress that may prove hard for an organization to avoid and contain is the stress that results from the personal problems of the employees. In most cases of personal problems, employees may not even be willing to disclose their problems. In this case, the organization’s management should try the much they can to deal with these problems. An organization could obtain medical insurance for their employees to ensure that they do not get stressed by sicknesses. Good remuneration packages could also be given to ensure that the financial problems of employees are limited. Specific financial support can also be offered to employees with special personal problems. For instance, the organization can set up a policy for monetary assistance to be given to employees who have lost close relatives (Frank 2009, p. 1).

Stress and burnout have a devastating effect on the effectiveness of processes in an organization. It is, thus, the responsibility of these organizations to dedicate resources and attention to minimizing the problems caused by stress and burnout. Organizations should, specifically, ensure that stressful conditions that occur due to poor relationships in organizations are minimized. This is normally done by ensuring that there exists a code of conduct governing the behavior of employees in the organization. With these rules, it becomes difficult for employees to stress each other since the governing code of conduct will identify the culprits.


Frank, K, (2009). “Organizational Stress and Burnout”, Web.

McManus, S, (2009). “Organizational Burnout Smoke Signals Person-in-the-Situation Analysis”. Web.

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Timothy, M, (2008). “Stress and Burnout”, Web.

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