Emotional Labor, Emotional Exhaustion, and Burnout

Emotional Labor, Emotional Exhaustion, and Burnout

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3761-8.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter explicitly articulates and explores the chain reaction that occurs starting with emotional labor through emotional exhaustion and into burnout. It examines the interrelationships of these concepts with the end view of burnout firmly in mind. It establishes emotional labor as an antecedent to emotional exhaustion and more fully implicates emotional exhaustion as one of the three main components in burnout which include EE, cynicism, and depersonalization. The chapter presents the work of Maslach and Jackson as well as offering another perspective on burnout as articulated by Aronson and Pines. Aronson and Pines include the dimension of tedium in the models of EL, EE, and burnout. The chapter explores the signs and symptoms of burnout and the impact it can have on an individual's mental and physical health as well as how burnout affects the organization. This chapter serves a critical foundation for appreciating why it is important to consider the emotional dimensions of academic librarianship.
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Emotional Labor, Emotional Exhaustion, And Burnout

Emotional labor is the antecedent of emotional exhaustion, which is an antecedent of burnout. One may conceive of the relationship between these phenomena as a cascade: the more emotional labor one engages in, the more likely they are to experience emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion in turn is a part of burnout. But it is just one component of burnout, as was briefly discussed in Chapter 2. Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and cynicism represent the critical trilogy of factors that lead to burnout. These three components were identified through the work of Maslach and Jackson regarding burnout. It has been characterized as being “about an employee’s relationship with their work” (Harwell, 2013). Burnout represents sustained exposure to work-related stressors. These stressors exhaust the emotional energy stores of the individual. This in turn can undermine the employee’s morale, engagement, and productivity (Christian, 2015, p. 2; Wagner, Barnes, & Scott, 2014).

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