Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Konstantin P. Cigularov

Committee Member

Debra Major

Committee Member

Juan Du

Abstract

Over the past 30 years, industrialized democracies have experienced major economic change due to globalization, economic instability, and rapid technological innovation. To remain viable, organizations maximize flexibility through strategies like downsizing, just-in-time inventory, and temporary labor. Consequently, employees face heightened responsibility, variable workloads, and rising job insecurity. While these demands are stressful, at times, some may represent an exciting challenge. Recently, researchers started studying how the long-term intensification of work affects employees via intensified job demands. This dissertation builds on their efforts by exploring short-term job demand intensification. Specifically, the transactional model of stress and the job demands-resources model were utilized to examine how a) intensified job insecurity, b) intensified decision-making and planning (IDP), and c) work intensification influence employee burnout and work engagement. It was hypothesized that all intensified job demands would be positively associated with burnout while potential challenge demands, like IDP, would positively predict work engagement. Further, drawing upon the intrinsic linkage between transformational leadership (TL) and environmental uncertainty, it was theorized the effects of intensified job demands would be differentially moderated by the four, core TL dimensions such that supportive dimensions (e.g., individualized consideration) would act as buffers whereas others, like inspirational motivation, would act as motivational boosters. A total of 443 full-time workers recruited through MTurk responded to two surveys administered 30 days apart. Each intensified job demand was positively related to burnout and intensified job insecurity negatively predicted work engagement, whereas IDP did not. Interestingly, the bivariate work intensification—work engagement relationship was negative, but became positive after controlling for core self-evaluations. Contrary to expectations, inspirational motivation, idealized influence, and individualized consideration reverse-buffered the effects of intensified job insecurity and work intensification on burnout and work engagement such that these dimensions exacerbated both intensified job demands’ negative effects. Further, exploratory analyses detected several three-way interactions. Overall, the aforementioned findings contribute to the nascent literature on intensified job demands as well the more studied, but still incomplete construct of TL. Moreover, this study sheds light on a number of practical implications regarding employees’ experiences with intensified job demands and the modern nature of work.

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