All posts by “Laurenz Meier

The spillover effects of incivility on work‐family conflict

JOB
In press in: Journal of Organizational Behavior 
The spillover effects of coworker, supervisor, and outsider workplace incivility on work‐to‐family conflict: A weekly diary design
Zhiqing E. Zhou, Laurenz L. Meier, and Paul E. Spector
This study used an experience sampling design to examine the spillover effects of experienced workplace incivility from organizational insiders (coworkers and supervisors, respectively) and organizational outsiders (patients and their visitors) on targets’ work‐to‐family conflict and to test the mediating effect of burnout and the moderating effect of display rules. Data collected over five consecutive weeks from 84 full‐time nurses showed that within individuals, weekly experiences of coworker incivility and outsider incivility were positively related to weekly experience of work‐to‐family conflict, and burnout mediated these relationships while controlling for initial level of burnout before participants started a week’s work. In addition, display rules, defined as the extent to which individuals perceive they are expected to display desired positive emotions and suppress negative emotions at work, moderated the relationship between outsider incivility and burnout; specifically, the positive relationship between weekly outsider incivility and burnout was stronger for individuals who perceived a higher level of display rules. Our findings contribute to the literature by demonstrating the mediating effect of burnout and the moderating effect of perceived display rules in the relationship between workplace incivility from multiple sources and work‐to‐family conflict from a resource perspective.
Full paper: pdf

Stress as Offense to Self

In press in: Occupational Health Science
Stress as Offense to Self: a Promising Approach Comes of Age
Norbert K. Semmer, Franziska Tschan, Nicola Jacobshagen, Terry A. Beehr, Achim Elfering, Wolfgang Kälin, and Laurenz L. Meier
Stress is related to goals being thwarted. Arguably, protecting one’s self, both in terms of personal self-esteem and in terms of social self-esteem, is among the most prominent goals people pursue. Although this line of thought is hardly disputed, it does not play the prominent role in occupational health psychology that we think it deserves. Stress-as-Offense-to-Self theory focuses on threats and boosts to the self as important aspects of stressful, and resourceful, experiences at work. Within this framework we have developed the new concepts of illegitimate tasks and illegitimate stressors; we have investigated appreciation as a construct in its own right, rather than as part of larger constructs such as social support; and we propose that the threshold for noticing implications for the self in one’s surroundings typically is low, implying that even subtle negative cues are likely to be appraised as offending, as exemplified by the concept of subtly offending feedback . Updating the first publication of the SOS concept, the current paper presents its theoretical rationale as well as research conducted so far. Research has covered a variety of phenomena, but the emphasis has been (a)on illegitimate tasks, which now can be considered as an established stressor, and (b) on appreciation, showing its importance in general and as a core element of social support. Furthermore, we discuss implications for further research as well as practical implications of an approach that is organized around threats and boosts to the self, thus complementing approaches that are organized around specific conditions or behaviors.
 Full paper: pdf

Work Interruptions

In press in: Work & Stress
Please Wait Until I Am Done! Longitudinal Effects of Work Interruptions on Employee Well-Being
Anita C. Keller, Laurenz L. Meier, Achim Elfering, and Norbert K. Semmer
Work interruptions are contemporary job stressors that occur frequently in the workplace. Theories on work interruptions and the stressor–strain relationship over time suggest that work interruptions should have a lagged negative effect on well-being. However, we argue that continued changes in work interruptions may also be important for employees’ well- being. We investigated the mid- and long-term effects of work interruptions on employee job satisfaction and psychosomatic complaints across two studies (Study 1: N = 415, four waves over five years; Study 2: N = 663, five waves over eight months). Using latent growth modeling, we predicted job satisfaction and psychosomatic complaints with respect to the level of, and changes in, interruptions. Controlling for initial well-being, we found that the mean levels (intercepts) of work interruptions had negative effects on later well-being in Study 1, but not in Study 2. However, increases in interruptions over time (slopes) predicted later well-being consistently. An analysis on reversed effects revealed that only the initial level of psychosomatic complaints positively predicted work interruptions. The studies underscore not only the importance of interruptions for well-being over time in general, but also the particular importance of increases in interruptions.
 Full paper: pdf

Illegitimate Tasks and Strain

In press in: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 
Illegitimate Tasks as Assessed by Incumbents and Supervisors: Converging Only Modestly but Predicting Strain as Assessed by Incumbents, Supervisors, and Partners
 Laurenz L. Meier and Norbert K. Semmer
Illegitimate tasks are tasks that violate norms about what an employee can reasonably be expected to do. Representing a relatively recent stressor concept, illegitimate tasks have been linked to strain, but so far have been assessed only by self-report. The current multisource study investigates to what extent supervisors’ assessments of illegitimate tasks converge with incumbents’ self-reports of illegitimate tasks and predict three kinds of strain, namely psychological strain (incumbent report of exhaustion), behavioural strain (supervisors report of incivility), and family strain (partner report of work-family conflict). Low convergence between assessments was expected due to idiosyncratic appraisals but also to differing perspectives of supervisors and incumbents due to their roles, as described by the newly developed roles-as-perspectives theory proposed in this paper. Data from 166 triads were analysed by structural equation modelling and Relative Weight Analysis. Results showed that convergence between incumbent and supervisor reports of illegitimate tasks was rather low; it was higher when the supervisor had a limited span of control. Illegitimate tasks were associated with all three types of strain for both self- and supervisor-reports of illegitimate tasks, indicating that the detrimental effects of illegitimate tasks cannot be explained by common method biases alone and that incumbents and supervisors have overlapping but not identical concepts of illegitimate tasks.
 Full paper: pdf

Work Stressors and Partner Social Undermining

In press in: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 
Work Stressors and Partner Social Undermining: Comparing Negative Affect and Psychological Detachment as Mechanisms
 Laurenz L. Meier and Eunae Cho
With the mounting evidence that employees’ work experiences spill over into the family domain and cross over to family members, it is important to understand the underlying mechanism through which work experiences affect the family domain and what factors may alleviate the adverse impact of work stress. Expanding previous research that mainly focused on the affect-based mechanism (negative affect), the present research investigated a resource-based mechanism (psychological detachment from work) in the relationship linking two work stressors (high workload and workplace incivility) with social undermining toward the partner at home. We also explored the relative strength of the mediating effects of the two mechanisms. In addition, we tested whether relationship satisfaction moderates the proposed effect of detachment on partner undermining. We tested these research questions using two studies with differing designs: a five-wave longitudinal study (N = 470) and a multisource study (N = 131). The results suggest that stressful work experiences affect the family domain via lack of detachment as well as negative affect, that the two pathways have comparable strength, and that high relationship satisfaction mitigates the negative effect of lack of detachment on partner undermining. In sum, this research extends the spillover-crossover model by establishing that poor psychological detachment from work during leisure time is an additional mechanism that links work and family.
 Full paper: pdf

Belief in a just world

In press in: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Believing in a personal just world helps maintain well-being at work by coloring organizational justice perceptions
Claire S. Johnston, Franciska Krings, Christian Maggiori, Laurenz L. Meier, & Marina Fiori
Justice is a core fundamental theme for individuals in organizations. This study suggests that believing the world is just where one gets what one deserves, and deserves what one gets, is an important personal resource that helps maintain well- being at work. Further, it suggests that personal belief in a just world, but not general belief in a just world, exerts its influence on well-being through increasing overall justice perceptions of the work environment. Using two waves of data drawn from a large random sample of working adults in Switzerland, results showed that personal belief in a just world at time 1 indeed augmented perceptions of overall organizational justice, and this in turn increased job satisfaction at time 2, that is, 1 year later. As expected, this effect was only evident for personal and not general belief in a just world, highlighting personal belief in a just world as an important yet largely overlooked resource for the work context, and suggesting the need to consider individual’s beliefs about justice as drivers of overall organizational justice perceptions.
 Full paper: pdf

Job typologies and at-risk subpopulations

In press in: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 
Testing job typologies and identifying at-risk subpopulations using factor mixture models
Anita C. Keller, Ivana Igic, Laurenz L. Meier, Norbert K. Semmer, John M. Schaubroeck, Beatrice Brunner, & Achim Elfering
Research in occupational health psychology has tended to focus on the effects of single job characteristics or various job characteristics combined into one factor. However, such a variable-centered approach does not account for the clustering of job attributes among groups of employees. We addressed this issue by using a person-centered approach to a) investigate the occurrence of different empirical constellations of perceived job stressors and resources and b) validate the meaningfulness of profiles by analyzing their association with employee well-being and performance. We applied factor mixture modeling to identify profiles in four large samples consisting of employees in Switzerland (Studies 1 and 2) and the United States (Studies 3 and 4). We identified two profiles that spanned the four samples, with one reflecting a combination of relatively low stressors and high resources (P1) and the other relatively high stressors and low resources (P3). The profiles differed mainly in terms of their organizational and social aspects. Employees in P1 reported significantly higher mean levels of job satisfaction, performance, and general health, and lower means in exhaustion compared to P3. Additional analyses showed differential relationships between job attributes and outcomes depending on profile membership. These findings may benefit organizational interventions as they show that perceived work stressors and resources more strongly influence satisfaction and well-being in particular profiles.
 Full paper: pdf

Positive work reflection

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In press in: Journal of Organizational Behavior 
The effect of positive work reflection during leisure time on affective well-being: Results from three diary studies
Laurenz L. Meier, Eunae Cho, and Soner Dumani
 Previous research showed that psychological detachment from work during leisure time is beneficial and that reflecting on negative aspects of work is detrimental for employees’ well-being. However, little is known about the role of positive reflection about work during leisure time. In the present research, we examined the effects of positive work reflection on affective well-being. Additionally, we tested the effectiveness of an intervention to increase positive work reflection and to improve well-being with a randomized controlled field experiment. Findings from three diary studies showed that positive work reflection was related to an increase in affective well-being with regard to both positive and negative mood. The results further indicated that the benefits of positive work reflection were incremental to that of psychological detachment and the absence of negative work reflection. Contrary to our expectation, no evidence was found for the effectiveness of the intervention. Theoretical implications of main findings as well as supplementary findings are further discussed.
Full paper: pdf

You want me to do what?

JOB
In press in: Journal of Organizational Behavior 
You want me to do what? Two daily diary studies of illegitimate tasks and employee well-being
Erin E. Eatough, Laurenz L. Meier, Ivana Igic, Achim Elfering, Paul E. Spector, and Norbert K. Semmer
Illegitimate tasks, a recently introduced occupational stressor, are tasks that violate norms about what an employee can reasonably be expected to do. Because they are considered a threat to one’s professional identity, we expected that the daily experience of illegitimate tasks would be linked to a drop in self-esteem and to impaired well-being. We report results of two daily diary studies, one in which 57 Swiss employees were assessed twice/day and one in which 90 Americans were assessed three times/day. Both studies showed that illegitimate tasks were associated with lowered state self-esteem. Study 1 demonstrated that high trait self-esteem mitigated that relationship. Study 2 showed that illegitimate tasks were associated with not only lowered state self-esteem but also lower job satisfaction and higher anger and depressed mood. depressive mood, but not anger or job satisfaction remained elevated until the following morning.
Full paper: pdf

Incivility Episodes

JOB
In press in: Journal of Organizational Behavior 
Episodes of incivility between subordinates and supervisors: examining the role of self-control and time with an interaction-record diary study
Laurenz Meier and Sven Gross
Scholars have hypothesized that experiencing incivility not only negatively affects well-being, but may even trigger further antisocial behavior. Previous research, however, has focused mainly on the relation between incivility and well-being. Thus, little is known about the behavioral consequences of incivility. With this in mind, we conducted an interaction-record diary study to examine whether supervisor incivility causes retaliatory incivility against the supervisor. Using the self-control strength model as a framework, we further examined whether the target’s trait (trait self-control) and state (exhaustion) self-regulatory capacities moderate this effect. In addition, we examined the role of time by testing the duration of the effect. When we analyzed the full data set, we found no support for our hypotheses. However, using a subset of the data in which the subsequent interaction happened on the same day as the prior interaction, our results showed that experiencing incivility predicted incivility in the subsequent interaction, but only when the time lag between the two interactions was short. Furthermore, in line with the assumption that self-regulatory capacities are required to restrain a target from retaliatory responses, the effect was stronger when individuals were exhausted. In contrast to our assumption, trait self-control had no effect on instigated incivility.
Full paper: pdf