No Rest For The Powerless: New Study Reveals The Role of Job Control In Burnout

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A new study by reveals that a lack of autonomy and job control at work can be a contributing risk factor for burnout.

Having some say in decisions at work could improve employee job satisfaction, and reduce the potential for stress and burnout.

Without a certain degree of autonomy and job control employees may feel more stressed, which could lead to burnout.

Keeping employees in the loop is essential to their job satisfaction and mindset.

Some employees thrive on structure and routine, and prefer to have the details of their roles and tasks clearly outlined. However, preferring to follow rather than lead doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of desire for autonomy.

In fact, according to research from PsychTests, employees who lack job control at work – being left out of the decision-making process, not being able to control work pace, having no say in the type of projects they take on or how they are completed – can augment and person’s stress level significantly, and increase their likelihood for burnout.

Analyzing data from 4,190 people who took their Burnout Test, researchers at PsychTests compared the performance, attitude, and psychological mindset of employees with low job control and those with high job control. The differences were noteworthy – and sobering:

  • 10% of the people in the low job control group have been diagnosed with burnout, while 3% are currently being treated for it (compared to 6% and 1% for the high control group respectively).
  • 92% rated their stress level at work as “high” (compared to 23% for the high control group).
  • 15% have taken more than a month off work as a result of stress (compared to 4% for the high control group).
  • 49% have consulted a professional about a stress-related problem, and 11% are considering doing so (compared to 22% and 3% for the high control group respectively).
  • 75% are dissatisfied with their job (compared to 6% for the high control group).
  • 64% admit that they no longer care about doing their work well, while 84% have lost interest in their tasks and projects (compared to 5% and 9% for the high control group respectively).
  • 62% feel that the magnitude of their workload is preventing them from doing their job well (compared to 4% for the high control group).
  • 84% believe that their boss and/or co-workers expect too much of them (compared to 7% for the high control group).
  • 91% feel emotionally empty at the end of their work day (compared to 12% for the high control group).
  • 88% feel unappreciated at work (compared to 4% for the high control group).
  • 91% admit that just thinking about work makes them feel exhausted (compared to 17% for the high control group).
  • 81% would quit their job today if they could (compared to 14% for the high control group).

“Employees need to feel that they have a say in what happens at work, especially if management makes decisions that directly impact them,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Some degree of control offers comfort and a sense of stability. So how can you achieve that in your organization? Promote open communication in your company. Ask employees for their input on projects or company operations, whether they’re executives or entry level employees – both can offer valuable insight. Encourage employees to take initiative, and to express any concerns they may have about their work load, or suggestions they may have to optimize processes.”

“This doesn’t mean that as a manager, you will need to consult employees and obtain a consensus before making any decisions, but keeping employees in the loop is essential to their job satisfaction, performance, and psychological health. This may seem like a daunting task, but if open communication becomes a part of the company culture, managers don’t need to actively solicit such input … they simply need to reinforce the message from time to time and, most importantly, actually listen when team members share their opinions and suggestions.”

Want to assess your burnout risk? Check out if you’re in a non-service field, and this link if you’re in a service field

Professional users of this test can request a free demo for this test or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: Spotting Diamonds in the Rough (

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
+1 514-745-3189 Ext: 112
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