Seminar: It’s Not You, It’s Your Environment: Understanding the Prevalence of Burnout in Organizations and Utilizing Systems-Level Remediation Strategies

Wednesday 10th April at 6pm ET

ProSocial Research

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Free Online Research Seminar and Q&A

In 1976, Maslach and colleagues coined the term “burnout” while researching the coping strategies of human service workers. In this original work, burnout was defined as being emotionally exhausted, having a reduced sense of personal efficacy, and depersonalization(Schaufeli et al., 2009). The term is now commonly embraced as a core feature of today’s zeitgeist. The World Health Organization (2020) defines burnout as, “a syndrome...resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” When left mismanaged, it creates conditions for turnover, absenteeism, physical illness, substance misuse, and suicidal ideation. In healthcare, burnout also contributes to suboptimal patient care and healthcare disparities (Szarko et al., 2022).From a behavior scientific perspective, burnout is an unintended negative byproduct (i.e., internality) of faulty organizational systems (Houmanfar &; Szarko, 2022).While burnout is both colloquially and academically commonly defined as an individual syndrome, this presentation will make the case that it is a cultural-level reaction to the competitive financial contingencies of modern-day capitalism. A systems-level perspective on the emergence of burnout will be described and a prosocial remediation strategy (focused on systems-level change rather than individual behavior change) will be provided.

About the Speaker:

Alison Szarko, PhD, BCBA is a researcher-practitioner that specializes in organizational
psychology. Her work utilizes Prosocial principles and Acceptance and Commitment
Therapy/Training (ACT) to create cultures of psychological flexibility within healthcare systems.
She is passionate about improving the working conditions of healthcare providers and decreasing
healthcare disparities. Alison applies the science of human behavior and behavioral systems
analysis to help organizations craft strategic plans, innovate operational capabilities, make data-
based decisions, and improve the well-being of healthcare providers and the patients they serve.
She is currently a Client Experience Architect for the Mayo Clinic as well as a private
organizational consultant.