In this book chapter we have outlined a comprehensive framework of burnout and job-engagement based on COR theory, for the first time placing emphasis on job-engagement. We defined burnout and job-engagement as multifaceted phenomena revolving around intrinsic energy resources, or vigor. Cognitive and behavioral inclinations, such as behavioral inhibition versus approach orientation, are considered to be close co-travelers. Burnout results from a slow, stressful process of resource bleed out that is not counterbalanced by resource gains, thus accumulating to significant losses. We proposed that job-engagement is the resultant of the inverted process of real or anticipated resource gains. Gains become significant if they feed into peoples’ primary resources, which are essential for survival or relate to basic needs, but they must also support peoples’ psychological resources of sense of efficacy, self-esteem, and sense of success.
COR theory emphasizes that changes in resource levels are the principle axis by which burnout and job-engagement process are activated and sustained, or inhibited and curtailed. This means that, no matter how excellent ones’ performance, just staying the course without generating further gains is not expected to be very engaging. In such cases, people need to take investment risks in order to initiate further positive changes. Based in this idea we have proposed a new framework for boosting engagement at work based on general principles of COR theory, called striving for dynamic stability and tolerance for failure. The starting point for this framework is creativity and innovativeness as key to job-engagement. The building blocks are flexibility, balance, diversity, interdependence, loyalty, trust and tolerance for failure. We emphasize that these building blocks are important resources on both individual and environmental level, that need to fit together in order to activate and sustain engagement processes. Synergy between individuals, teams and the organization needs to be emphasized where possible, which keeps the focus on strengths and resource gain. Hopefully our framework provides an impetus for extending current job-engagement research towards original dynamic multi-level investigations.