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

JOB
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