Momentary work happiness as a function of enduring burnout and work engagement

A.B. Bakker, W.G.M. Oerlemans

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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The present study (N = 136) combined global measures with specific, experience-based measures to investigate how enduring job burnout and engagement influence the impact of daily work activities on momentary need satisfaction and happiness. We used the day reconstruction method (DRM) to ask employees from various occupations to reconstruct their working days. On the basis of employee work engagement and self-determination theories, we hypothesized that time spent on (a) core work tasks; (b) administrative work tasks; (c) client interactions; (d) interactions with colleagues; and (e) meetings would be negatively related to need satisfaction on the task level for employees high (vs. low) in enduring burnout; and positively related to need satisfaction on the task level for employees high (vs. low) in enduring work engagement. In addition, we predicted that psychological need satisfaction would mediate the relationships between time spent on work tasks and happiness during the tasks. The results of multilevel analyses largely supported these hypotheses. Our findings contribute to the literature by showing how those with high levels of burnout do not manage to satisfy their basic needs through their work, whereas those with high levels of work engagement satisfy their daily needs and stay happy.

KEYWORDS: Burnout, day reconstruction method, employee engagement, happiness, self-determination theory
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-778
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Burnout
  • day reconstruction method
  • employee engagement
  • happiness
  • self-determination theory

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