Illegitimate Tasks Reach Into Afterwork Hours: A Multilevel Study

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

This study examines illegitimate tasks as a specific type of job stressors. Illegitimate tasks comprise unreasonable and unnecessary tasks and refer to inappropriate task assignments that go beyond an employee’s role requirements. Building on the stressor-detachment model, we hypothesized that illegitimate tasks experienced during the day predict high negative affect and low self-esteem at the end of the workday, which in turn should predict poor psychological detachment from work during evening hours, resulting in sustained high levels of negative affect and low self-esteem at bedtime. Over the course of 1 workweek, 137 employees completed daily surveys at the end of the workday and at bedtime (total of 567 days). Multilevel path modeling revealed a distinct pattern of findings at the day and the person level. At the day level, unnecessary tasks predicted high negative affect and low self-esteem at the end of the workday, with low self-esteem predicting poor psychological detachment from work during afterwork hours. Poor psychological detachment predicted a further increase in negative affect and a decrease in self-esteem over evening hours. At the between-person level, unreasonable tasks were related to high negative affect and low self-esteem at the end of the workday, with negative affect being related to poor psychological detachment from work. Overall, the findings demonstrate that illegitimate tasks are associated with unfavorable states at the end of the workday and are indirectly related to poor psychological detachment from work, undermining recovery from the stressful events experienced at work.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles