There’s a lot to say about the importance of company culture. You’ve all likely heard about how Google employees are allowed to drink beer at work, and play ping pong, but it’s about more than just how fun it is to work at an organization.

Two important concepts that come out of Occupational Health Psychology (OHP), a sub-specialization of IO Psychology that deals with the effects of work conditions on the health of the employee, are Job Burnout and Counterproductive Workplace Behaviors (CWBs).

Job Burnout is not when people talk about feeling “burnt out” or tired—it is a serious chronic illness of the mind that can never be cured. It can result in a permanent reduction in a worker’s ability to focus at work, and, more importantly, it can have severe adverse effects on a worker’s health.


According to Mayoclinic, excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, heart disease, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity, as well as an increased vulnerability to illnesses are potential consequences of Job Burnout.

While there are a number of workplace factors that can lead to Job Burnout, such as roles that aren’t clearly defined, dysfunctional workplace dynamics, and lack of social support, almost all of them can be placed under the umbrella of workplace culture.

But Job Burnout isn’t the only thing that company culture can affect. CWB, an employer’s worst nightmare, is a common outcome at companies where employees do not feel valued or respected by their bosses and coworkers.

CWBs can be characterized as conscious efforts to undermine the goals of an organization, such as through lateness, sabotage, substance abuse in the workplace, absenteeism, withdrawal, etc.

The most significant cause of CWB is perceived unfairness at work.


Both Job Burnout and CWB directly (and significantly) impact worker efficiency and productivity. As a business owner or a manager, it is in your best interest to do everything you can to reduce the chances that your employees will fall victim to these two workplace outcomes.

Of course, personal issues, work-family conflict, and personality all play roles in these undesirable outcomes, so it is practically impossible to fully eliminate their likelihood. You can, however lay a solid foundation. Culture is the key.

Establish a workplace culture founded on fairness, honesty, clearly defined roles / tasks, and a strong social support community, and the chances of your employees succumbing to either of the two disorders characterized above will be extremely low.