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Job Demands-Resources Model

The Job Demands-Resources Model—An Approach to Explain Burnout

The central tenet of the Job Demands-Resources Model (JD-R) is that work characteristics invoke two different processes: consideration of job demands weighed against perceived job resources.

This process occurs regardless of the occupation being examined, and both of these two processes have the ability to explain the complex relationship between burnout and work engagement (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004).

Consideration of Job Demands

The first process (consideration of job demands) states that high levels of perceived demands associated with work may lead to depletion in energy, which then leads to exhaustion and health problems that are characteristic of occupational burnout Opens in new window (Lee & Ashworth, 1996).

Job demands are physical, social, and organizational aspects of the job that expend both physical and mental effort, and are associated with psychological costs such as exhaustion.

Factors like workload, time pressures, and the work environment can contribute to perceived job demands. The increased stress Opens in new window from responding to job demand may eventually leave an employee feeling drained, ultimately leading to burnout Opens in new window.

Perceived Job Resources

Job resources represent the other side of the Job Demands-Resources Model, and can motivate an individual to persist with work resulting in improved work engagement.

Job resources include aspects of an occupation that enable employees to achieve work goals, stimulate personal growth, and help manage job demands.

Job resources could include anything that enables an employee to get the job done, reduce job demands on a psychosocial (stress) or physical (strain) level, and stimulate personal growth and development (Demerouti et al., 2001).

Specifically, job resources can include:

  • job control,
  • participation in decision-making,
  • receiving constructive feedback about work, and
  • the presence of social support.

When job resources are not available and job demands begin to predominate, workers may begin to experience frustration that may lead to work disengagement.

Disengagement is characterized by low motivation, lack of interest in work, and a weakening loyalty to the organization.

Disengagement from work may be a self-protective mechanism, whereby a frustrated worker avoids the frustration of not meeting work-related goals by interrupting effort or simply not caring about goal completion (Peterson et al., 2008).

In jobs with both high demands and limited job resources, it is assumed that employees will experience both exhaustion and disengagement.

Employees experience stressful work conditions that are not mediated by positive factors that encourage engagement in the work environment.

Various models of occupational burnout tout exhaustion and disengagement as the primary causal components. In these models, exhaustion, cynicism, and a decreased efficacy within the workplace all contribute to burnout Opens in new window (Maslach et al., 1996).

    Research data for this work have been adapted from the manual:
  1. Handbook of Occupational Health and Wellness By Robert J. Gatchel, Izabela Z. Schultz.
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