Burnout in the workplace is defined as loss of interest for people with whom one works, including physical exhaustion, where the employee has no longer any positive feelings of sympathy or respect for his/her clients or patients (Maslach, 1976, as cited in Amarantidou and Koustelios, 2009). According to another definition, burnout is regarded as “a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment” (Olusoga et al., 2010, p. 275).
The exposure of an individual to chronic stress leads to job burnout (Malinauskas et al., 2010; Koustelios, 2010; Olusoga et al., 2010). More specifically, it is argued that the burnout syndrome is associated with a regime of emotional, psychological and physical exhaustion, which is created under the influence of long-term stress (Malinauskas et al., 2010), as well as the persistent imbalance between demands and coping resources (Olusoga et al., 2010). Furthermore, gender was found to be related to the stress levels and job burnout of employees, as men traditionally face greater job insecurity and are more exposed to work stress than women, especially traditional women, namely those who do not consider that there is equality between men and women (Gaunt and Benjamin, 2007). According to Imtiaz and Ahmad (2010) stress affects negatively the performance of employees. The two authors point out that one major factor that is related to the work stress and the employee performance is job satisfaction. Emberland and Rundmo (2010) agree with this opinion that job satisfaction is associated with the job insecurity that the employees feel. Imtiaz and Ahmad (2010) and Turkyilmaz et al. (2011) state that job satisfaction derives from many factors of working environment, such as the monetary rewards, the relation between employees and their coworkers and supervisors, the organizational structure and the job attributes.
In addition, Quesnel-Vallee et al. (2010) suggest that job insecurity due to temporary employment leads to high levels of depression and job dissatisfaction. The same assumption is being noticed by Boya et al. (2008) and D’ Souza et al. (2003), who state that job insecurity can lead to increased levels of depression and anxiety, which is a factor that may result in job burnout. Emberland and Rundmo (2010) underline the fact that job insecurity is related to psychological problems. In addition to that, based on the stress theory, job insecurity is a stressor factor, given the fact that the possible loss of a job position creates anxiety to the employees (Sora et al., 2010). Additional factors that contribute to job burnout is the role ambiguity and role conflict, namely the personality traits of the worker, such as high levels of sentimentality, underdevelopment of professional achievement, unreasonable expectations and unrealistic goals (Amarantidou and Koustelios, 2009).
The symptoms of job burnout can be categorized into five groups (Malinauskas et al., 2010): a) emotional (depression, hostility), b) cognitive-perceptual (feeling of helplessness, cynicism, impaired attention and concentration), c) physically (exhaustion), d) behavioral (decreased performance, increased absenteeism) and e) motivational (lack of excitement, disappointment). Amarantidou and Koustelios (2009) point out that burnout leads to reduced performance, low self-concept, low expectations of the role of the individual from his work, as well as intention to abandon the job position.