Understanding workplace boredom among white collar employees : temporary reactions and individual differences

G.A.H. Heijden, van der, J.J.L. Schepers, E.J. Nijssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate white collar employees' temporary relief strategies to workplace boredom. Building on self-regulation theory we define two responses: engaging in distraction and work indifference. We also investigate whether some individuals are more likely to engage in these strategies than others by considering two employee competencies: time management skills and proactiveness skills. Better understanding employee relief strategies and skills may help managers to remedy boredom problems before serious costs are incurred. We collected data from 166 Dutch white collar employees and analysed their survey responses using SPSS and Partial Least Squares (PLS) modelling. Findings indicate that workplace boredom is associated with engaging in distraction. Less consistent results were obtained with regard to work indifference. We find compelling results on the effectiveness of two moderating conditions; proactiveness skills affect the relationship between boredom and work indifference, and time management skills weaken the association between workplace boredom and engaging in distractive behaviour. We consequently conclude that organizations may benefit most from employees with high time management skills, as these employees are less prone to engaging in distraction as a result of workplace boredom. Directions for future research are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-375
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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