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The Changing Psychological Contract at Work and Employee Burnout

JHHSA, Vol. 25 No. 1, (2002)

Today we stand in a vortex of technological, economic, and cultural
changes that altered dramatically the world of labor and with it the
psychological contract between employers and employees. While the
effects of the changed contract at work are usually addressed from an
organizational, social or economic perspective, the current article
addresses it from a psychological perspective from which one note-
worthy cost of the changed psychological contract is employee burnout.
The article describes burnout, differentiates it from stress, and proposes
an existential perspective to explain its underlying dynamic, using the
results of a cross-cultural study of Israeli and American managers as an
example. Recent studies on gender differences in management are used
to point in the recommended for preventing employee burnout, despite
the new psychological contract, namely—a democratic, egalitarian
management style.

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