Endangering one’s health to improve performance? : how indirect control triggers social momentum in organizations
01 - Zeitschriftenartikel, Journalartikel oder Magazin
Primary target group
Created while belonging to FHNW?
Background: Companies are increasingly applying both goal- and performance-oriented leadership practices. For employees, such indirect control practices make higher self-regulatory demands: They become responsible for their work outcomes and have to bear the consequences of failure just like the self-employed. The current study focuses on the concept of “self-endangering work behaviors” as representing a possible negative effect of indirect control and a possible mediator between work demands and negative outcomes. Method: An online survey was conducted with 607 employees, who reported to work in an indirect control setting. It assessed extension of working hours, intensification of working hours, sickness presenteeism, and faking as possible self-endangering work behaviors together with exhaustion as a subjective well-being measure. The lavaan package was used to test the mediation hypothesis with a structural equation model. Results: Results supported the assumption that self-endangering work behaviors might partly explain the association between work demands and exhaustion. A mediation effect was found for extension of working hours, intensification of working hours, and for faking. However, sickness presenteeism delivered no statistically significant mediation effect in the association between work demands and exhaustion. Discussion: As a mechanism for coping with high work demands, the new concept of self-endangering work behaviors offers one possible explanation for the negative association between high work demands and both subjective well-being and health. The concept needs to be addressed in occupational health prevention initiatives. Such interventions should balance the negative and positive effects of indirect control and take self-endangering work behavior into account.