Self-determination, control, and reactions to changes in workload: a work simulation

Parker, Stacey L., Jimmieson, Nerina L. and Amiot, Catherine E. (2013) Self-determination, control, and reactions to changes in workload: a work simulation. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18 2: 173-190. doi:10.1037/a0031803

Author Parker, Stacey L.
Jimmieson, Nerina L.
Amiot, Catherine E.
Title Self-determination, control, and reactions to changes in workload: a work simulation
Journal name Journal of Occupational Health Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1076-8998
Publication date 2013-04-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0031803
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 18
Issue 2
Start page 173
End page 190
Total pages 18
Place of publication United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Abstract We investigate the extent to which individuals' global motivation (self-determined and non-self-determined types) influences adjustment (anxiety, positive reappraisal) and engagement (intrinsic motivation, task performance) in reaction to changes to the level of work control available during a work simulation. Participants (N = 156) completed 2 trials of an inbox activity under conditions of low or high work control-with the ordering of these levels varied to create an increase, decrease, or no change in work control. In support of the hypotheses, results revealed that for more self-determined individuals, high work control led to the increased use of positive reappraisal. Follow-up moderated mediation analyses revealed that the increases in positive reappraisal observed for self-determined individuals in the conditions in which work control was high by Trial 2 consequently increased their intrinsic motivation toward the task. For more non-self-determined individuals, high work control (as well as changes in work control) led to elevated anxiety. Follow-up moderated mediation analyses revealed that the increases in anxiety observed for non-self-determined individuals in the high-to-high work control condition consequently reduced their task performance. It is concluded that adjustment to a demanding work task depends on a fit between individuals' global motivation and the work control available, which has consequences for engagement with demanding work. (PsycINFO Database Record
Formatted abstract
The objective of this experimental study is to capture the dynamic temporal processes that occur in changing work settings and to test how work control and individuals' motivational predispositions interact to predict reactions to these changes. To this aim, we examine the moderating effects of global self-determined and non-self-determined motivation, at different levels of work control, on participants' adaptation and stress reactivity to changes in workload during four trials of an inbox activity. Workload was increased or decreased at Trial 3, and adaptation to this change was examined via fluctuations in anxiety, coping, motivation, and performance. In support of the hypotheses, results revealed that, for non-self-determined individuals, low work control was stress-buffering and high work control was stress-exacerbating when predicting anxiety and intrinsic motivation. In contrast, for self-determined individuals, high work control facilitated the adaptive use of planning coping in response to a change in workload. Overall, this pattern of results demonstrates that, while high work control was anxiety-provoking and demotivating for non-self-determined individuals, self-determined individuals used high work control to implement an adaptive antecedent-focused emotion regulation strategy (i.e., planning coping) to meet situational demands. Other interactive effects of global motivation emerged on anxiety, active coping, and task performance. These results and their practical implications are discussed.
Keyword Workload
Control-support model
Demands-control model
Job demands
Social support
Extrinsic motivation
Goal attainment
Daily diary
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 12 May 2013, 10:18:37 EST by System User on behalf of School of Psychology