Purpose ' The purpose of this study was to determine the level of workplace 'job burnout' experienced by expatriate managers in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The study also examined the relationship between job burnout and intention to quit, and findings suggest that expatriates are affected by job burnout. Design/methodology/approach ' The study has assessed three key job characteristics (role conflict, role ambiguity and role overload) and their association with three dimensions of job burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal commitment). Data were collected from 189 respondents who were stratified via industry, age, size of organization, education and nationality. LISREL VIII was employed to evaluate the fit of the measurement model, and to examine the relationship between 'job burnout' and expatriates 'intention to quit'. Findings ' The results demonstrate that the three job characteristics are significantly associated with job burnout with role conflict being the main reason. Whilst role ambiguity was also a key issue, job burnout was least effected by role overload. Research limitations/implications ' The research has only begun to address the many issues that are of importance to the expatriates working in PNG and developing countries more generally. Also, this study was based on expatriates at a management level only; hence it is difficult to generalise beyond this. Practical implications ' Provides insights into the effects and consequences 'job burnout' on expatriates in a developing country. Originality/value ' This paper contributes to understanding on relationship between the job burnout and expatriate failure.