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The Burnout Challenge

Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs

Christina Maslach, Michael P. Leiter

ISBN 9780674251014

Publication date: 11/15/2022

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Two pioneering researchers identify key causes of workplace burnout and reveal what managers can do to promote increased productivity and health.

Burnout is among the most significant on-the-job hazards facing workers today. It is also among the most misunderstood. In particular, we tend to characterize burnout as a personal issue—a problem employees should fix themselves by getting therapy, practicing relaxation techniques, or changing jobs. Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter show why this is not the case. Burnout also needs to be managed by the workplace.

Citing a wealth of research data and drawing on illustrative anecdotes, The Burnout Challenge shows how organizations can change to promote sustainable productivity. Maslach and Leiter provide useful tools for identifying the signs of employee burnout, most often exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness. They also advise managers on assembling and interpreting worker self-evaluation surveys, which can reveal workplace problems and potential solutions. And when it comes to implementing change, Maslach and Leiter offer practical, evidence-driven guidance. The key, they argue, is to begin with less-taxing changes that employees nonetheless find meaningful, seeding the ground for more thorough reforms in the future.

Experts estimate that more than $500 billion and 550 million workhours are lost annually to on-the-job stress, much of it caused by dysfunctional work environments. As priorities and policies shift across workplaces, The Burnout Challenge provides pragmatic, creative, and cost-effective solutions to improve employee efficiency, health, and happiness.


  • Burnout seems to be everyone’s problem, and this book has solutions. As trailblazers in burnout research, Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter didn’t just clear the path to study the causes—they’ve also discovered some of the cures.

    —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again


  • Christina Maslach is Professor of Psychology, Emerita, at the University of California, Berkeley, and the cocreator of the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a widely used metric. In 2020 she received the Scientific Reviewing award from the National Academy of Sciences for her writing on burnout.
  • Michael P. Leiter is an organizational psychologist and consultant. He has been Professor of Organisational Psychology at Deakin University in Australia and was Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health at Acadia University.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press