Research Entrepreneurial Burnout: Causes, Consequences and Way Out FIIB Business Review 7(1) 28–42 2018 SAGE Publications India Private Limited SAGE Publications sagepub.in/home.nav DOI: 10.1177/2319714518767805 http://journals.sagepub.com/home/fib Amina Omrane1 Amal Kammoun2 Claire Seaman3 Abstract Nascent entrepreneurs are frequently subject to a great number of professional stressors caused by their work activities and thus making them potential candidates for burnout. This phenomenon may threaten their health as well as their new ventures. Indeed, it has some detrimental effects due to the fact that those new business owners have few resources, energy and skills, enabling them to deal with the psychosocial risks derived from the entrepreneurial burnout. The objective of this study is, then, to shed some light on the concept of entrepreneurial burnout and its potential contributors. In order to reach this purpose, a review of the existing literature is used as the basis for the development of a model that could form a fundamental tool to facilitate future research. By exploring the causes as well as the consequences of the entrepreneurial burnout, an overview of the essential factors and methods that could help to mitigate its main impacts would be proposed. Keywords Professional Stress, Entrepreneurial Burnout, Causes and Consequences of Entrepreneurial Burnout, Strategies to Prevent Burnout Introduction In an increasingly complex, changing and unpredictable environment, an entrepreneur (or a new business owner, a creator and an organizer) finds him/herself at the origin of job creation, innovation and wealth, as well as the contribution to the economic, technical and social development of his/her region, territory and notably country. Indeed, he/she plays an essential role in fighting unemployment, arranging the conception and development of new products and services, creating added value, enhancing political and technological changes, exploiting business opportunities and introducing new business ideas. These benefits are the results of perseverance, determination and all personal skills of the entrepreneur who is engaged during the entrepreneurial process. ‘A business leader often invests body and soul in the creation and the development of his project’ (Lobbe, 2014, p. 121). However, if the venture creation is a crucial opportunity for an entrepreneur initiating value, it is also a significant source of stress and the potential for burnout (Shepherd et al., 2010). In this orientation, Cadet and Chasseigne (2012, p. 69) reported that ‘a new business creation is a work that leads to the entrepreneur’s satisfaction as well as stress’. The challenges of entrepreneurship, as it is postulated here, are generated not only by the new venture creation per se but also by the reactions of the entrepreneur exposed to such problems (Jamal, 2007). ‘Entrepreneurship is not a career where everything goes smoothly and without difficulties’ (Sheehan & St-Jean, 2014, p. 2). In this context, entrepreneurship is seen as a difficult, stressful and demanding activity for the entrepreneur. Moreover, the roles of the entrepreneur is subject, more than others, to psychological and nerve pressure, loneliness, lack of time and total involvement, especially during the first years of the entrepreneurial process. This professional background leads the entrepreneur to go through periods of occupational stress (Ben Tahar, 2011, 2014a). Currently, some entrepreneurs fail to deal with the stressors of their Note: This paper is a modified version of the paper presented at 14th SGBED Conference “Global Connectivity, Knowledge and Innovation for Sustainability and Growth: New Paradigms of Theory and Practice” in collaboration with Montclair State University, NJ, USA, 2016. 1 Assistant Professor (HDR), FSEG, Sfax, Tunisia. 2 PhD Student and Researcher, Management Science, FSEG, Sfax, Tunisia. 3 Professor at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Corresponding author: Amina Omrane, Assistant Professor (HDR), FSEG, Sfax, Tunisia. E-mail: email@example.com Omrane et al. professional context, which will have a considerable impact on their behaviour and/or on the future of their companies. These stressors often cause burnout. In this perspective, Fish (2007, p. 33) reported that ‘burnout is often a result of acute stress’. Ward (2014, p. 173) also added that ‘exposure to stress with insufficient recovery results in breakdown and burnout’. Research that deals with entrepreneurial failure is relatively new and has not yet clearly defined differently the concepts of stress and burnout that appear to be one of the most remarkable causes of this phenomenon. Moreover, in the literature, the terms ‘stress’ and ‘burnout’ are so closely connected that there is sometimes confusion or a mixture between them: currently burnout refers to the existence of stress. However, when a high degree of stress is felt by a person, it appears to be burnout. If the key factors of burnout among teachers (Rascale & Bergugnat, 2012; Jaoul and Kovess, 2004; Ponnelle, 2008; Sénéchal, Boudrias, Brunet, & Savoie, 2008), doctors (Delbrouck, 2007; Evain, Mekoa, Khiari, & Vincent, 2011; Jonckheer et al., 2011; Truchot, 2009) and police officers (Drolet, 2011; Meylan, Boillat, & Morel, 2009; Queirós, Carlotto, Kaiseler, Dias, & Pereira, 2013) have been the subject of a great deal of research, nothing has been so far published regarding the burnout in the entrepreneurship field. Actually, the scarcity of studies undertaken in this line of research can be explained in part by the fact that most of the research studies deal with the positive aspects of the entrepreneur’s personality (Ben Tahar, 2011). In the light of these various observations, it is worth tackling the issue about the key factors of the burnout among entrepreneurs, as well as the best means to fight this psychosocial risk. This article sets out to provide an overview and develop for analysis within future research. To develop the framework, this study revolves around three key parts. First, the entrepreneurial burnout phenomenon, its basic elements and the major negative externalities derived from it will be evoked. Second, there will be a presentation of its developmental causes. Finally, the different factors, methods and practices that should be applied to mitigate the problem are considered. Burnout: Definitions and Key Concepts Burnout was defined, for the first time, as ‘a syndrome of support professions, inability to adaptation of the intervener to a level of continuous emotional stress caused by the working environment’ (Maslach, 1976; cited in Maaroufi, Rzeigui, Ayari, & Abid, 2015). Then, it was regarded by Freudenberger (1977) as a state of total exhaustion due to the excessive use of personal resources and energy in the course of professional exercise. This is reflected in the feeling of failure or even debilitation (Freudenberger, 1977; cited in Maaroufi et al., 2015). Freudenberger and Richelson (1980) assimilate burnout to ‘a state of chronic 29 fatigue, depression and frustration generated by the devotion to a cause, a way of life, or a relationship, which fails to produce the expected rewards and ultimately to reduce the involvement and fulfillment at work’ (cited in Roumiguié et al., 2011, p. 1). Moreover, Schaufeli and Enzmann (1998, p. 36) go in the same direction by adding that it is ‘a sustainable, and negative state of mind linked with the work affecting individuals’. A more recent and focused definition is provided by Korczak, Huber and Kister (2010) who identify a number of its recognized dimensions. According to Schaufeli, Leiter and Maslach (2009), the most commonly accepted and used definition so far in the field of research on entrepreneurship is that of Maslach (1986) that is based on the fact that burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduction of personal achievement that appears among those who are professionally involved with others. On the basis of the definition given by Maslach, three types of aspects or dimensions of burnout can be identified: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduction of personal achievement. The first dimension of the burnout, which relates to the feeling of emotional exhaustion, refers to the depletion of the emotional resources in response to a highly professional demanding environment (Ben Tahar, 2014b). The subject will feel exhaustion in the form of emotional fatigue at work— a feeling of being empty and no longer capable of giving of him/herself as he/she used to. This dimension reflects the deterioration of the mental health state of the entrepreneur and represents a risk for him/her (Ben Tahar, 2014b). Emotional exhaustion is the key component of burnout (Delaye & Boudrandi, 2010). It is also the greatest reflection of this syndrome. The second factor of the burnout is depersonalization, which corresponds to the insensitivity to the environment, to the breakup with colleagues and customers, to psychological disinvestment, to withdrawal into isolation and to a negative attitude towards others (Moisson, Fuhrer, & Cucchi et al., 2010). It also corresponds to ‘dehumanization’ in the interpersonal relationships (Delaye & Boudrandi, 2010). The third aspect of burnout is the reduction of personal achievement, which is the result of the first two aspects and it reflects a state of doubt of the real capabilities of the individual (Delaye & Boudrandi, 2010). It refers to a decline in self-esteem, a sense of guilt, a devaluation of work and skills, and a belief in his/her inability to effectively respond to his entourage expectations (Roumiguié et al., 2011). It is a feeling of not being effective, especially in relationships with others and methods of work. This dimension therefore results in a lack of motivation, a lack of rigor and absenteeism. According to Delaye and Boudrandi (2010), each of these dimensions has a relatively specific meaning to the degree of the reached burnout. Among other things, a high level of an important burnout is reflected in a high score of its three dimensions. FIIB Business Review 7(1) 30 In this study, we support the definition of Ben Tahar (2011) advancing that the entrepreneurial burnout is the result of an acute and prolonged professional stress. It is a physical, emotional and mental exhaustion state resulting from an investment in demanding work situations. It includes a triptych of depersonalization, reduction of personal achievement and emotional exhaustion. Burnout is a real individual and organizational problem for the entrepreneur (Wincent & Ortqvist, 2009; Wincent, Ortqvist, & Drnovsek, 2008). Therefore, the abundant literature on burnout produced several definitions of this phenomenon that suggests that, whenever it is mentioned, it is closely correlated, and sometimes even confused with the entrepreneurial stress. Primary Sources of Burnout Primary sources of burnout could be either internal or external factors implicated in its creation and development. Internal Factors Implicated in the Development of Burnout Using the definition of entrepreneurial burnout that we have previously dealt with by emphasizing that burnout is the outcome of a persisted negative entrepreneurial stress state, it can be drawn that burnout is one of the ‘entrepreneurenvironment’ interaction consequences (Ben Tahar, 2014a; Torrès, 2013). This is mainly caused by the entrepreneur’s inability to deal with the stress-triggering factors called stressors that are spread in his/her professional circle. Therefore, the entrepreneurial burnout sources are those associated with stress. They can be related either to the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial team or to an individual project or environment. In what follows, some of the most frequently cited sources are listed. Research that exists in the area of the entrepreneurial burnout has largely focused on external factors that impact on the entrepreneur and may contribute to the burnout. From different perspectives, much has been written on the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur that contribute to the development of entrepreneurship. The contribution made by the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur to the possible development of burnout is an area that would require further research, but it is noted here that the entrepreneur is a key factor in the entrepreneurial process (Omrane, Fayolle, & Zeribi-Ben Slimene, 2011), playing an important role in the acquisition, implementation and control of the portfolio of skills that are essential for the development of the entrepreneurial process. Lack of Key Resources The collection, arrangement and selection of main resources represent an essential precondition required for the implementation and development of a new venture (Filion, Borges, & Simard, 2006). In fact, resources reduce not only the job pressures and the psychological and physical costs but also the resource constraints at work, stimulate development and personal achievement and/or profit from motivational potential. Three key sets of resources have been identified as vital: financial, social and informational (Omrane, 2015). A considerable lack of financial, informational and social resources seems as an inhibiting factor among entrepreneurs. The lack of funding could also impede hiring, payment of employees, production of market goods and services, meeting the bankers and shareholders’ requirements, expenditure coverage and so on. Moreover, the risk of failure and stress is higher for the entrepreneurs who have no sufficient information (about the market and the potential competitors) to know the legal issues and the implementation of their strategies. On the other hand, the shortage of social resources, which is manifested through the fragility of the entrepreneur’s social networks, is reflected in the absence of customers, suppliers and social partners who could impede entrepreneurship. For this purpose, a lack of resources needed to meet the entrepreneurial, personal and social expectations could trigger a state of entrepreneurial stress (Khelil & Khiari, 2013; Khelil, Khiari, Smida, Zouaoui, & Gomez-Mejia, 2010). In this perspective, Fernet, Torres, Austin and St-Pierre (2016) as well as Upadyaya, Vartiainen and Salmela-Aro (2016) underlined that burnout could be considered as a process of resource loss, accordingly with the conservation of resources theory. Indeed, Hobfoll (2001) reported that the continued loss of resources, particularly after a great deal of resource investment in work, leads to the entrepreneurial burnout. Skills Deficit The acquisition and development of specific skills enable the entrepreneur to achieve an entrepreneurial project and/ or to ensure an effective management of a new venture (Nkakleu et al., 2013). In fact, these skills are necessary to maintain the competitiveness, sustainability and development of the entrepreneurial project. Besides, they represent a source of sustainable strategic advantages (Boughattas & Bayad, 2008). Four types of key entrepreneurial skills need to be distinguished: cognitive skills (search, sorting, and selection of information, comparison, evaluation and synthesis of information by developing solutions to complex problems and so on), social skills (social persuasion and emotional intelligence, behavioural flexibility, self-efficacy, social perception, impression management and so on), action-oriented skills (using time and resources efficiently, self-assessment, flexibility, initiative, plans of action development, choosing a direction and accountability) and management skills (financial, accounting and administrative management). Several researchers believe that the lack of skills is one of the generating factors of entrepreneurial failure (Hamrouni & Akkari, 2012; Valéau, 2006). However, the fear of failure is Omrane et al. an important source of entrepreneurial stress (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011). Hence, the lack of skills, or the ‘nonappropriateness’ of skills to the position, could be a source of entrepreneurial burnout. More particularly, several authors emphasized that some ‘negative’ sociopersonal skills, such as negative affectivity and neuroticism, are at the origin of the burnout development (Bühler & Land, 2003; Fremont, 2015). Fernet et al. (2016) added that low adaptive capacity, derived from low self-esteem, low self-efficacy and low autonomous motivation, makes entrepreneurs more emotionally responsive to events and situations leading to burnout. Indeed, neuroticism refers to people who tend to sustainably show negative emotional states, such as hostility, anxiety, depression, guilt, the low self-esteem, tension, irrationality, shyness, mood disturbance, sadness, embarrassment, shame, vulnerability and disgust. People with high levels of neurosis are prone to irrational thoughts, impulsive behaviour and apply bad strategies to adapt themselves to stressful situations (Liang & Lin, 2015). They may therefore show high levels of emotional exhaustion (O’Neill & Xiao, 2010). Kim, Shin and Swanger (2009) emphasized that neuroticism increases emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, and therefore the propensity to be exposed to burnout. In the same perspective, Bühler and Land (2003) affirm that people with a high level of neuroticism have high scores of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Besides, people who also have a negative affectivity are more affected by the weight of organizational stressors, which increases the likelihood of burnout development (Fremont, 2015; Rouxel, Michinov, & Dodeler, 2016). External Factors Implicated in Burnout The entrepreneurial project-related sources of burnout are mainly those that are associated with the organizational climate, the risks incurred by the venture’s day-to-day management as well as with the tensions of roles played by the entrepreneur. Tension and Ambiguity of Roles In the course of his/her work, a person must meet various expectations that are more or less explicitly formulated for him/her and are reflected in terms of tensions that have the form of role duplication and find their origin in the professional sphere. The tensions of roles are part of the business life (Wincent et al., 2008). In fact, they are associated with the rise of the level of emotional exhaustion and thus with that of the entrepreneurial burnout. Moreover, they have a negative effect on the employee well-being by encouraging absenteeism and performance decline (Morin, 2010). Being regarded as accelerating factors of emotional exhaustion and generators of entrepreneurial resource exhaustion, the tensions of roles affect the health of an entrepreneur, especially his/her mental health. 31 These factors lead also to the development of an unproductive behaviour during the entrepreneurial process (Ben Tahar, 2014b). Heavy workload, ambiguity and conflicts of roles can cause burnout. In this same perspective, the studies undertaken by Shepherd et al. (2010), Upadyaya et al. (2016), as well as Leiter and Maslach (2016), emphasized the role of specific factors such as work overload, ambiguity and conflicts of roles in the development of burnout by acting on its three components. Being characterized by the failure to achieve in time the expectations that are returned to the entrepreneur, the role overload is reflected by the entrepreneur’s professional commitment and associated with the lack of social and, particularly, personal support (Ben Tahar, 2014b). According to Alis, Besseyre des Horts, Chevalier, Fabi and Peretti (2011), when an individual is in situations where the tasks imposed on him/her qualitatively (precision, quality and required vigilance) and quantitatively (workload, the pressure, the mass of information to deal with and so on) exceed his strengths and capabilities, the role overload occurs. This overload and job stressors are sources of entrepreneurial stress, emotional exhaustion and burnout (Ben Tahar, 2011; Fernet et al., 2016; Fried, Shirom, Gilboa, & Cooper, 2008). The role ambiguity is generated by unclear expectations or the achievement of which is not possible due to the lack of information, whereas roles’ conflicts are a consequence of simultaneous and incompatible role requests (Ben Tahar, 2014a; Fernet et al., 2016). The conflict of roles derives from the overhead of the multiple roles, or even the tension lived between several roles, and the difficulty of coordinating the requirements of each of them. In other words, when the worker faces professional simultaneous and inconsistent requests, the role conflict arises. During the first years, which are crucial for the survival of the newly created company, the entrepreneur, as a conductor, is at the crossroads of all the professional activities and must be present on all fronts. He/she lives a shared stress between daily dealing at the same time with several functions such as the human resource, administrative, financial, and business and supplies management (Fernet et al., 2016). Furthermore, he/she must enhance his/her attention on all the aspects of his/her company’s life; bear on his/her own decisions, negotiations, risks and choices; manage the time at a rhythm of the activity which is not necessarily his/her natural rhythm; and resolve unfamiliar administrative, financial and legal problems. These different roles played by the entrepreneur can lead to burnout at home. According to Ram, Khoso, Shah, Chandio and Shaikih (2011), conflicts of roles in the professional context are sources of stress and contribute to the fall of satisfaction at work. Similarly, the role ambiguity is a source of the entrepreneurial stress (Buttner, 1992). Faced with roles’ tensions, the entrepreneur has not enough time to do his/ her job properly and he/she is stressed of not doing all the FIIB Business Review 7(1) 32 tasks assigned to him/her. The lack of time or the inability to manage it properly to cope with the accumulation of several requirements, and even tensions of roles, are sources of burnout. The Entrepreneurial Process as a Stress-Generator Phenomenon The entrepreneurial process is defined as a complex process of dynamic, additive and cumulative learning of the different entrepreneurial skills the importance of which varies significantly from one phase to another (Omrane et al., 2011). Being increasingly overwhelmed by tasks, duties and high responsibilities, entrepreneurs are struggling to keep up with the work and the market pace and to meet the demands of customers and suppliers with different rationales. The entrepreneur devotes all his/her energy, time, money and means to the design, production and evolution of his/her activity or project. However, results do not reflect his/her personal investment, which can be very weakening for him/her. Developing an entrepreneurial process involves finding oneself once again in a working environment characterized by painful physical or mental conditions, workload, pressure and organizational changes (as a result of disappointment, hazard, mourning, etc.). For entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship seems to be physically and mentally demanding (Hisrich, Langan-Fox, & Grant, 2007). This is due to the fact that entrepreneurs are torn between the demands of their profession and their ability to get adapted. Pathogenic situations, or even risk, long working hours, a sense of insecurity and loneliness can cause a state of stress, or even of burnout among entrepreneurs (Torrès, 2012; cited by Rossi and Berkachy, 2014). In other words, loneliness is a response to exposure to job stressors. It is explained by the fact that the entrepreneur, who invest heavily in his work, must cope with job stressors and his/her interpersonal detachment can take the form of professional isolation (Fernet et al., 2016). Work-related stress is a main concern for business executives (Merck et al., 2009). This growing attention around the subject is justified by the increasing prevalence of disorders that are associated with it (Guiol & Munoz, 2009). In the entrepreneurship field, entrepreneurs discuss their projects without understanding the hazards of their uncertainty, overinvestment, decreasing rest periods, overtime work and stress. Some entrepreneurs think that stress is necessary and can lead to better benefits as it enables them to take on challenge, stimulate creativity and compete to stay flourished in their professional lives. In this context, stress is considered to be positive. However, for some entrepreneurs, stress is crippling because for them it leads to burnout, solitude, withdrawal into isolation and failure syndromes that affect the physical and psychological health. It is a psychological state of distress that simultaneously affects the entrepreneur and his/her new venture (Khelil & Khiari, 2013) and largely results from the complex process of entrepreneurial creation (Ben Tahar, 2011; Gharbi, 2012; Khelil & Khiari, 2013; Torrès, 2010). In these circumstances, the stress is negative. In general, when talking about burnout, the presumption is that what is being referred to is a negative stress. When an entrepreneur is under negative stress, problems arise. Risk Management and Perceived Risks The entrepreneur is, almost permanently, subject to a huge amount of data to be treated, to several constraints, to difficult and complex situations, and complicated problems that may impede the day-to-day management of their business that they have to cope with. Currently, the entrepreneur has difficulties to keep up with the technological development, work meetings and staff management. Besides, he/she bears, almost permanently, a heavy work burden and some nuisances. Moreover, being committed to the entrepreneurial action, the project founder often bears, day by day, huge risks that generate more or less stress linked to the mounting of his company. Among these risks, we can mention the financial (convention not signed) or legal (underestimated needs: delayed recipes, regulations and so on) risks, those pertaining to the task execution (accounting errors and so on), security (leakage or loss of data) or other risks (lack of customers, poor strategy, necessary skills unavailable, delivery not followed, inadequate management, ill-defined contract documents, ill-managed purchase orders, nonachievable planning and so on). The management of these risks is one of the main challenges for business creators who found it extremely difficult to perform, which makes these risks a source of burnout. The Organizational Climate The organizational climate has an important place in the literature, especially due to its contribution to the development of individual attitudes, such as commitment to the organization and job satisfaction. It is devised as a lasting and comprehensive perception of the characteristics of the organizational system. Patterson et al. (2005) suggest that the hard work of the employees, the effort and pressure to achieve the targets appear to be the key dimensions of an organizational climate. Despite the interest in the organizational dimension, it is clear that the scientific studies verifying the links between the perception of the organizational climate and the burnout are not many (Savoie & Brunet, 1999). An entrepreneur is exposed to various pressures related to his/her professional context, which are sources of stress, namely those associated with the change, the need for success (Prottas & Thompson, 2006), with the need to resolve many problems and tasks, with resource acquisition, etc. O’Neill and Xiao (2010) suggest that stress and perceived pressures accentuate the level of emotional exhaustion and therefore that of the burnout. In this same perspective, Rouxel et al. (2016) have also underlined the influence of work characteristics, as well as that of emotional display roles and affectivity on burnout. Omrane et al. Business Environment as a Source for Burnout The sources of burnout related to the business environment are mainly those related to the complexity of relationships with collaborators, as well as the uncertainty about the company’s future. Relationship Complexity with the Various Collaborators The entrepreneur assumes, often on an urgent basis, the responsibility of negotiations with the customers, suppliers, bankers, partners and so on. Furthermore, negotiations with these collaborators are usually quite complex and difficult. Indeed, the entrepreneur can, for example, take several weeks or months to convince the various shareholders of the feasibility and profitability of the business, from idea to product. Choosing to be an entrepreneur is to affirm human contacts of which many are not pleasant. An entrepreneur lives all his/her relationships that he/she maintains with his/ her professional entourage in a difficult and challenging way. Relationships with others could therefore be an important source of stress for the entrepreneurs (Boyd & Gumpert, 1983; Hechiche-Salah et al., 2003). In line with this assumption, Leiter and Day (2013) as well as Leiter and Maslach (2016) advanced that social relationships at work, especially those related to supervisor and co-worker incivility, leading to uncivil behaviours, could be an explanatory factor of burnout. Uncertainty about the Company’s Future Furthermore, novice entrepreneurs are under a severe stress, or even a burnout - when they start their businesses because they find themselves in a new universe and unknown environment of which they have to understand operating codes and modes. Due to his/her status, the entrepreneur has to alleviate all the difficulties, to remain vigilant, to be the master of the situation in all the circumstances and to reassure and lead his/her employees. Therefore, unforeseen problems are an important source of burnout for the entrepreneur. Similarly, uncertainties make the forecasts impossible for the organizations and create more difficulties of adaptation to the novelty or the projection into the unknown. Uncertainties and contingencies are the factors of stress and the entrepreneurial burnout, especially in the first years of the project creation (Lorrain & Laferté, 2006). The Entrepreneurial Burnout Consequences These various sources of burnout when they incur and are durable represent a danger for the entrepreneur’s health as well as that of his/her company. Actually, they disturb an entrepreneur’s concentration and prevent him/her from 33 progressing and thinking in his/her daily work, which makes him/her lose his/her means. Burnout is often associated with a range of negative, psychological, behavioural and/or social consequences. In fact, various studies emphasized the burnout deleterious effects on the individual’s health and the causal relationship between burnout and the emergence of several symptoms (cynicism, anxiety, depressive behaviour and so on) and the poor quality of work and entrepreneurial failure. The Psychological Consequences Burnout is related to a wide range of psychological problems. Among these negative externalities, one could mention cynicism and withdrawal from work (Foletti, 2012), or disorders associated with anxiety and depressive behaviour that can drive him/her to suicide (Ben Tahar, 2011). Actually, a decline of job satisfaction (Bovier, Arigoni, Schneider, & Gallacchi, 2009; Demerouti, Bakker, & Leiter, 2014), sleep disturbance (Ekstedt et al., 2006), irritability, lack of concentration (Bahrer-Kohler, 2013), insomnia (Armon et al., 2008) and a true depression can lead even to suicide and to the emergence of several symptoms showing signs of mood disorders (Maaroufi et al., 2015). Burnout generates a feeling of failure and dissatisfaction in the pursuit of an ideal (Fernet et al., 2016). According to Truchot (2004), burnout is related to a lower tolerance for frustration, aggressiveness, lower self-esteem, sadness and anxiety. The Physiological Consequences The physiological consequences are mainly related to headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, muscle tension, hypertension, diabetes, colds, flu, energy loss and sleep disorders (Foletti, 2012), cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases, ulcers, psychosomatic symptoms (Burke, Greenglass, & Schwarzer, 1996; Fernet et al., 2016; Guglielmi & Tatrow, 1998), a decline in the level of the mental health and the psychological well-being (Bovier et al., 2009). Burnout is also linked to chronic colds, musculoskeletal pain, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and the weakening of the immune system, making the subject more vulnerable to viral infections. The Behavioural Implications Behavioural implications are reflected into absenteeism and double presenteeism (Peterson, Zhang, Brunet-India, & Vázquez-Aguirre, 2008), the emergence of sexual problems and some addictions, such as tobacco, alcohol, tranquilizers, drugs (Ben Tahar, 2011), a poor quality of work and performance and withdrawal behaviour (Bovier et al., 2009), the abandonment of the position, the institution or the career (Maslach & Leiter, 2008), a greater intention to leave one’s job, a higher level of absenteeism (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004; Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001) and lower productivity (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004; Maslach et al., 2001; Puybasset, 2011). Burnout causes a lack of FIIB Business Review 7(1) 34 rigour and self-affirmation, disinvestment in the workplace, and even professional errors (Canouï, Mauranges, & Florentin, 2015). It also creates cynical attitudes at work (Maslach & Leiter, 2008) and a lower sporting activity (Truchot, 2004). Social Consequences of Entrepreneurial Burnout The social consequences associated with burnout refer to a negative effect on the personal and/or professional life (family, interactions with colleagues and employees, the future of the business, etc.), which is reflected in the genesis of important personal conflicts and reversal of tasks at work (Foletti, 2012), a poor relationship between the individual and his/her entourage, especially his/her family. Burnout generates a dehumanization of professional and personal relationships (Chambah & O’Hanlon, 2012) and contributes to the deterioration of interpersonal relationships, either at work (conflicts with colleagues, customers and so on) or at the level of privacy (conflict with the spouse, family members, friends and so on). On the basis of what has been previously advanced, we suggest a synthetic view of entrepreneurial sources and consequences, as shown at the figure 1. Mitigating Entrepreneurial Burnout Burnout depends on the combinatorial effects of several organizational and personal factors (Queirós et al., 2013). Since these factors affect burnout by obliterating, it seems interesting to further explore them in order to raise awareness among entrepreneurs about their importance. Taking into account these determinants is a privileged way to fight entrepreneurial burnout, which helps preserve the entrepreneur’s health and that of his company. In this respect, the specific burnout determinants linked to its three components (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and the reduction of the personal achievement) are taken into consideration. Individual factors related to the entrepreneur, as well as other associated with partners in the organization, can play a significant role in the fight against the entrepreneurial burnout. In what follows, we present the salient ones in the newly incurred research in this direction. Individual Factors to Combat and Prevent the Entrepreneurial Burnout Among the socio-personal skills mentioned in the field of entrepreneurship, extraversion, self-esteem, social emotional intelligence and self-efficacy seem to be the most commonly cited ones. Such factors have been negatively associated with burnout, which means significantly that these skills lead to surpass and battle burnout. Extraversion is a sociopersonal skill characterizing the action and outward-oriented people boosted by interaction, optimistic, easy to know, ambitious, sociable and who tend to get the conversation started and seek social contacts and new situations. Extraversion is most often negatively correlated with burnout (Langelaan et al., 2006, cited in Sulea et al., 2015; Zellars, Perrewe, & Hochwarter, 2000) and statistically linked to emotional exhaustion (Kim et al., 2009; Rostami & Abedi 2012). In the same orientation, the authors suggest that extraversion is a stable predictor of emotional and professional exhaustion (Gustafsson et al., 2009; Pishghadam & Sahebjam, 2012; Zellars, Hochwater, Hoffman, Perrewé, & Ford, 2004). According to O’Neill and Xiao (2010), extraverts tend to be optimistic about the future and, therefore, to have lower levels of emotional exhaustion. Self-esteem is a personal competency which could also counter burnout. It involves a self-assessment on a positive dimension. People with a satisfactory level of self-esteem tend to create, change and renew to opt for a more reliable and accurate self-assessment to contribute to the development of Sources Consequences Sources associated to the entrepreneur Psychological consequences Scarcity of resources Anxiety Sleep disruption Scarcity of skills Lack of concentartion Sources associated to the entrepreneurial project Physiological consequences Sleep disturbances Tensions of roles played by the entrepreneur Risks associated with day-to-daymanagement of the enterprise Gastrointestinal disorders Entrepreneurial burnout Organizational climate Musculoskeletal pain syndromes Behavioral consequences Workstation left Sources associated to the entrepreneurial environnement Complexity of relations with different collaborators Uncertainty surrounding the new future venture Figure 1. Sources and Consequences of the Entrepreneurial Burnout Source: Proposed by the authors. Decline in productivity Absenteeism Soial consequences Unhealthy lifestyle Conflicts with others Omrane et al. their well-being and their quality of lives (Upadyaya et al., 2016). Their satisfaction will facilitate their resilience and behavioural plasticity, enabling them to tackle difficulties that can affect their careers (Fernet et al., 2016). Rosse, Boss, Johnson and Crown (1991) and Janssen, Schaufeli and Houkes (1999) argue that self-esteem is negatively correlated with the three dimensions of burnout by the fact that individuals with low self-esteem are less efficient in the management of their interpersonal relationships. Similarly, self-efficacy may reduce the degree of burnout (Fernet et al., 2016; Upadyaya et al., 2016). It refers to the beliefs of an individual with respect to his/her ability to efficiently and successfully perform a set of tasks required to achieve the objectives assigned to him/her with an expected level of performance. In the field of entrepreneurship, selfefficacy reflects the entrepreneur’s ability to acquire a necessary confidence in these skills to manage his/her business opportunities (Sarasvathy & Dew, 2008). Given the fact that self-efficiency is related to the emotional aspect, it is therefore obvious that it deals with emotional efficiency. According to Deschênes, Dussault and Frenette (2014), individuals with a high level of emotional self-efficacy show less symptoms of emotional exhaustion, a loss of performance at work and depersonalization. The last social competency that will be discussed in this study and that could contribute to fighting burnout is social emotional intelligence. It refers to one’s ability to maintain harmonious relationships with others, namely to motivate, demonstrate perseverance despite the difficulties faced, influence the emotions of others, control one’s emotions in relations with others and develop interpersonal relationships. Currently, it is a necessary skill for the entrepreneur because it allows him/her to take initiatives, increase his/her efficiency, persuade, lead work teams, maintain emotional balance and facilitate interactions with others. Social emotional intelligence could impact the ability of individuals to adapt to the contextual constraints of their work (Pishghadam & Sahebjam, 2012) while reducing the level of burnout. In fact, several quantitative studies showed negative associations between emotional intelligence and the three symptoms of burnout among teachers (Chan, 2006; Pishghadam & Sahebjam, 2012), nurses (Mikolajczak, Menil, & Luminet, 2007) and physicians (Weng et al., 2011). Moon and Hur (2011) highlighted a negative relationship between emotional intelligence and the symptom of emotional exhaustion among superstore employees. Moreover, in the literature review, Gendron (2007) postulates the importance of emotional competencies in sound management of stress at work. 35 burnout. Social support of evidence on the part of colleagues, friends or family members is an important element in the struggle against stress and burnout. There are various different types of support, such as material and financial support (grants and aid, etc.), informational support (advice, proposals, obtaining the awareness of change, etc.), logistics (incubators) or even emotional support (manifestation of positive emotions, feelings of reinsurance, protection and comfort). In this perspective, Öge, Cetin and Top (2018) advanced that paternalistic leadership, through increasing work engagement, decreases the workplace loneliness and work family conflict levels. Then, it contributes to alleviate burnout. At moments of doubt or when a person fears that the situation requirements exceed his resources and abilities, these incentives will enable him to strengthen his confidence in himself (Alis et al., 2011). In this context, social networks play an essential role in maintaining social support to mitigate the burnout effect on the individual. In this perspective, Upadyaya et al. (2016) emphasized the importance of servant leadership, characterized by stewardship, empowerment and accountability. According to these authors, it positively influences job satisfaction and organizational trust, and then decreases burnout symptoms. Currently, Mutkins et al. (2011; quoted in Fremont, 2015) showed, in a research conducted with 80 Australian senior officers, that considerable social support is likely to alleviate the effects of stress and emotional exhaustion. Moreover, Bakker and Demerouti (2007) assume that social support acts as a ‘buffer or umbrella’ variable, likely to protect individuals from the aggravating effects of stressors. On the other hand, Rees (2008) states that stress is lower when the degree of social support is high, whereas in the opposite situation, it is larger. Finally, Halbesleben (2006) and Beehr, Bowling and Bennett (2010) stressed that social support is a resource that protects from burnout. On the basis of what has been previously advanced, we suggest the following synthetic diagram about the key socio-personal abilities and the main organizational factors that help the entrepreneur to fight burnout (Figure 2). Individual determinants – Extraversion – Social Emotional intelligence Entrepreneurial burnout – Self-efficacy Organizational determinants Organizational Factors to Prevent Entrepreneurial Burnout Organizational determinants, such as social support and satisfaction at work, can counter the entrepreneurial – Social support Figure 2. A Synthetic View of the Key Factors in the Fight Against Burnout Source: Proposed by the authors. FIIB Business Review 7(1) 36 Methods and Practices of Fighting Burnout Among the leading practices in the fight against burnout, we could mention training, entrepreneurial coaching and development of a hedonistic culture based on usability. To reduce the level of burnout, the entrepreneur is expected to establish, at work, a corporate culture based on teambuilding (sharing between individuals), participation, dynamism, creativity, friendly atmosphere, trust in human potential, growth and acquisition of new resources in the long term. Training Follow-ups (In Time, Stress and Change Management) The Psychological Support in the Form of Coaching and Mentoring Training is one of the support practices that raise the chances of new ventures’ survival (St-Jean, 2008). Work stress is then an integral part of the entrepreneur’s life and the main cause of burnout that he faces. Entrepreneurs can follow training courses in stress management to deal with and overcome their stress at work. Stress management not only thrives in the world of health and psychology but also interests the corporate world and represents a true competitive advantage for the entrepreneur. Training in stress management enables the entrepreneur to understand what stress is, its effects, misdeeds, symptoms, and to discover the principles and methods that allow him to fight it. Among the usual methods of stress management, there are coping strategies that focus on the problem (efforts intended to modify the situation using problem solving), on the individual (playing sports regularly, trying to be more relaxed as much as possible, ensuring a good organization, improving a good health, relaxation and meditation, etc.). Entrepreneurs are also able to do a time management training to reduce their burnout since the lack of chronic time is a source of stress (Lorrain & Laferté, 2006). ‘People need to manage their time if they want to reduce their stress’ (Alis et al., 2011, p. 778). Furthermore, entrepreneurs could provide training in change management to fight burnout. Change is, therefore, one of the ‘psychosocial’ stressors that have been cited by Légeron (2004) and the context in which organizations operate may lead to organizational changes that cause stress at the individual level (Vandenberghe & De Keyser, 2004). It is essential for any entrepreneur to be accompanied when he is subject to tensions, problems and a pervasive stress at work. A typology of the major psychological biases affecting the efficiency of the entrepreneurial accompaniment was drawn up by Pluchart (2012) who stresses the need to focus on personal accompaniment of a coaching-type support to overcome the emotional effects. Despite criticism considered against the coaching approached by Gori and Leng (2007), as a new form of social control, coaching and mentoring are important in the search for new modes of supporting for entrepreneurs. Focusing on the coaching ‘beneficial’ approach, several studies showed the advantages of a ‘welfare coaching’ to better understand the organizational stress threatening managers and employees (Wright, 2007; Gharbi & Torres, 2013). The entrepreneur mentorship also seeks the improvement of different psychological aspects such as the development of self-image, comfort and security, the increase of feelings of self-efficacy and perseverance during difficult periods (St-Jean & Audet, 2009). The Creation of a Corporate Culture based on Team Spirit, Friendliness and Professional Ease Organizational culture is the set of beliefs, values and norms shared in an organization by its members, whether they are employees or leaders (Dolan, Gosselin, & Carriere, 2007). It helps solve the problems encountered in the workplace because it is shared (Scott, Mannion, Davies, & Marshall, 2003). According to Philippe and Bonin (2013), two types of organizational or corporate culture play the role of a protective agent and reduce the level of burnout, namely the group culture based on teamwork and good internal relations and rational culture that focuses on success, performance and results. Other Proposed Methods In order to wipe out burnout and psychological pressures that may compel them, entrepreneurs can raise their level of organizational involvement and commitment to the work and weaken their feelings of concern (SAINTJULIEN, 2010). Indeed, the balance between professional and personal lives will improve efficiency at work and reduce the risk of burnout (Barel & Frémeaux, 2008; Barel et al., 2009). The concern includes in priority courses of action and strategies to prevent mental health problems of persons to perform work emotionally demanding, interventions aimed at fostering greater support and a better teamwork in the workplace, a greater involvement of workers and women workers in making the decision that concern them, as well as the use and development of their skills and skills. (Vézina & Saint–Arnaud, 2011, p. 125). Mace (2012, cited in Boivin-Desrochers and Alderson, 2014) postulates that resilience is an interesting strategic skill that enables individuals to manage the stress they Omrane et al. 37 experience at work in situations where the circumstances and the environment in which they work are unchangeable. Vernhet (2012, cited in Mansour & Commeiras, 2015) suggests that work–life conflict is positively associated with burnout. It appears then that maintaining a work– life balance helps to fight burnout among the entrepreneurs. The elements that can help counteract the effects of stressors are the effect reward, social recognition, control and decision-making autonomy, social support of colleagues and superior hierarchical and professional satisfaction, and achievement at work (Ben Tahar, 2014). In the following model (Figure 3), a synthesis of the previous theoretical development was proposed and implemented in order to provide a brief overview of the common methods and practices used to fight the entrepreneurial burnout. According to Mäkikangas and Kinnunen (2016) as well as Ahola, Toppinnen-Tanner and Seppanen (2017), individually focused approaches and intervention as well as person-oriented methods are unreliable and insufficient to alleviate burnout. However, these authors recommend a holistic approach. This perspective should be taken into consideration by combining individually oriented methods (i.e., group therapy, single approach, social support group, cognitive coping trainings, psychodidactic workshop or sociodrama methods) and occupationaly focused approaches (i.e., meetings with labour experts, rehabilitation meetings, group programmes for stress-related ill-health). This holistic view showed promising results related to their contribution to alleviate burnout (Ahola et al., 2017). For this reason, the entrepreneur should not only participate in training programmes (in time, stress, skill and change management) but also cultivate and maintain a corporate culture and surround himself with collaborators that offer social support, collaboration, positive affectivity and team spirit. Conclusion At the end of this study, it seems that burnout is defined as the outcome of chronic stress and is characterized by extreme fatigue and depressed mood (Kryger, Roth, & Dement, 2011). In this same perspective, Parrouty (2014, p. 233) advanced that ‘burnout may result from excessive stress but is not the same thing’. In line with these assumptions, and being the fact that the focus in the previous studies was mainly on entrepreneurial failure and stress, this contribution was dedicated to explore the entrepreneurial burnout, its determinants, consequences as well as the best practices undertaken to fight it. Indeed, numerous sources of factors which are derived from the entrepreneurial act could generate burnout for the entrepreneur. In fact, deficiency in resources and skills, relationships with others, the complexity of relations with different stakeholders, the management change, the conflict of roles, isolation, uncertainty about the company’s future, tensions of roles, day-to-day business management, organizational climate and negative social skills, such as neuroticism, are the most recurrent sources of burnout during the start-up phase of the business creation. Nevertheless, a set of individual and organizational determinants contribute to counter burnout. Indeed, individual determinants related to the entrepreneur, and more specifically socio-personal abilities such as social emotional intelligence and self-efficacy, could fight burnout. Social support is also an organizational determinant contributing to reduce it. For this reason, entrepreneurs are invited to take training courses about time, stress and change management, create a favourable corporate culture and enhance coaching and mentoring support. Further research that considers the topic of entrepreneurial burnout from an empirical perspective, including both research to explore the prevalence of burnout and research that explores the mitigating effects of the various possible interventions, would provide greater insight into the challenges facing entrepreneurs and the policy responses that might be developed. Involving employees inside the company Having a social support Maintaining an equilibrium between personal and professional life Asking successful entrepreneurs or counselors for collaboration Entrepreneurial burnout Cultivating an organizational culture focused on team spirit, friendliness, and sharing Participating to leisure activities such as sport Doing training courses ensured by experts in all aspects of the company Being accompanied by a coach Figure 3. 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Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30(8), 1570–1598. About the Authors Dr Amina Omrane is an Assistant Professor (HDR) of Management Science and Entrepreneurship at the University of Sfax. She holds a PhD in Management Science from Jean-Moulin Lyon III University, France and the Institute of Business High Studies-IHEC-Carthage, Tunisia. She also holds a Master in Business Management and Strategy from IHEC-Carthage and a Professional Master Degree in Management by goals from ISGI-Sfax. She is a Researcher in the research unit of Business Economy and Strategy (ECSTRA at IHEC-Carthage). Her main research interests revolve around entrepreneurship, strategic management, management of technology and innovation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms Amal Kammoun is a Doctorate Researcher in Management Science at FSEG, Sfax, Tunisia. She can be reached at email@example.com. Professor Claire Seaman is Chair of Enterprise and Family Business at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, UK. She publishes widely and is a regular contributor to family business conferences worldwide. Her recent book, The Modern Family Business was published by McMillan. Claire maintains close links with the business community and business organisations such as the Scottish Family Business Association, Family Business United and local economic development agencies. She is a frequent speaker at gatherings of family businesses and professional advisors. This interaction enables her to share insights from evidence based research with practitioners, while ensuring that her research focuses on areas of importance to the family business community, and has lead directly to current research that focusses on the European Family Business Associations. Experiences and close interactions with business and business support agencies help keep her professional work rooted into the realties and complex dynamics of families in business who create enterprises that dominate the economic and societal landscape around the world. She can be reached at CSeaman@qnu.ac.uk.