Daily burnout experiences: critical events and measurement challenges
Despite its importance, this research tradition largely neglects issues that have to do with the daily occurrence of burnout experiences, which may help explain how the syndrome manifests and evolves from one day to another over the course of an employee’s life. In this chapter, we focus on daily experiences of exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy in an attempt to understand withinemployee (linear and non-linear) changes in burnout. In the first part of the chapter, we take a critical stance toward traditional burnout approaches that neglect the state aspect of the syndrome. Following Weiss and Cropanzano’s (1996) Affective Events Theory (AET) and Beal and Weiss’s (2013) episodic approach to the structure of work life, we underline the importance of studying day-specific burnout experiences as a function of critical events that take place at work. Also, we discuss daily recovery from work-related demands as a decisive factor that determines whether burnout experiences will accumulate over time. In the second part of the chapter, we discuss the methodological challenges that researchers face when studying daily burnout experiences. Measurement issues, available methods, and related analytical strategies are reviewed, and new research avenues toward theory development are considered.