Which Daily Experiences Can Foster Well-Being at Work? A Diary Study on the Interplay Between Flow Experiences, Affective Commitment, and Self-Control Demands

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Abstract

Previous research has provided strong evidence for affective commitment as a direct predictor of employees’ psychological well-being and as a resource that buffers the adverse effects of self-control demands as a stressor. However, the mechanisms that underlie the beneficial effects of affective commitment have not been examined yet. Drawing on the self-determination theory, we propose day-specific flow experiences as the mechanism that underlies the beneficial effects of affective commitment, because flow experiences as peaks of intrinsic motivation constitute manifestations of autonomous regulation. In a diary study covering 10 working days with N = 90 employees, we examine day-specific flow experiences as a mediator of the beneficial effects of interindividual affective commitment and a buffering moderator of the adverse day-specific effects of self-control demands on indicators of well-being (ego depletion, need for recovery, work engagement, and subjective vitality). Our results provide strong support for our predictions that day-specific flow experiences a) mediate the beneficial effects of affective commitment on employees’ day-specific well-being and b) moderate (buffer) the adverse day-specific effects of self-control demands on well-being. That is, on days with high levels of flow experiences, employees were better able to cope with self-control demands whereas self-control demands translated into impaired well-being when employees experienced lower levels of day-specific flow experiences. We then discuss our findings and suggest practical implications.

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