Stress in Highly Demanding IT Jobs: Transformational Leadership Moderates the Impact of Time Pressure on Exhaustion and Work–Life Balance

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Abstract

The objective of this article is to investigate transformational leadership as a potential moderator of the negative relationship of time pressure to work–life balance and of the positive relationship between time pressure and exhaustion. Recent research regards time pressure as a challenge stressor; while being positively related to motivation and performance, time pressure also increases employee strain and decreases well-being. Building on the Job Demand-Resources model, we hypothesize that transformational leadership moderates the relationships between time pressure and both employees' exhaustion and work–life balance such that both relationships will be weaker when transformational leadership is higher. Of seven information technology organizations in Germany, 262 employees participated in the study. Established scales for time pressure, transformational leadership, work–life balance, and exhaustion were used, all showing good internal consistencies. The results support our assumptions. Specifically, we find that under high transformational leadership the impact of time pressure on exhaustion and work–life balance was less strong. The results of this study suggest that, particularly under high time pressure, transformational leadership is an important factor for both employees' work–life balance and exhaustion.

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