Roman Prem is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Graz, Austria. He received his PhD in 2016 from the University of Vienna, Austria. He is interested in how within-person processes related to occupational stress, motivation, and recovery might interact and consequently predict not only employees’ learning and vitality but also proactive behavior and procrastination at work. He is also interested in the effects of changes within the working world on employees’ health and their inclusion in the work process.
Research Items (24)
Procrastination is a form of self-regulation failure characterized by the irrational delay of tasks despite potentially negative consequences. Previous research on procrastination was mainly conducted in academic settings, oftentimes combined with a focus on individual differences. As a consequence, scholarly knowledge about how situational factors affect procrastination in work settings is still scarce. Drawing on job stress literature, we assumed that work characteristics go along with cognitive appraisals of the work situation as a challenge and/or hindrance, that these cognitive appraisals affect employees' self-regulation effort to overcome inner resistances, and that self-regulation effort should in turn be related to workplace procrastination. In our study, we focused on three specific work characteristics that we expected to trigger both challenge and hindrance appraisal simultaneously: time pressure, problem solving, and planning and decision-making. We hypothesized serial indirect effects of these work characteristics on workplace procrastination via cognitive appraisal and self-regulation processes that unfold within individuals over short periods of time. Consequently, we conducted a diary study with three measurement occasions per workday over a period of 12 days. Overall, 762 day-level datasets from 110 employees were included in Bayesian multilevel structural equation modeling (MSEM; controlled for sleep quality and occupational self-efficacy). Our results revealed negative serial indirect effects of all three work characteristics on workplace procrastination via increased challenge appraisal and subsequently reduced self-regulation effort. Further, our results showed a positive serial indirect effect of time pressure (but not of problem solving or planning and decision making) on workplace procrastination via increased hindrance appraisal and subsequently increased self-regulation effort. Overall, our study showed that work characteristics are linked to workplace procrastination via within-person processes of cognitive appraisal and self-regulation. Because not all work characteristics triggered hindrance appraisal, we argue that it may make sense to further differentiate challenge stressors in the future. Moreover, cognitive appraisals affected self-regulation effort only on the within-person level. On the between-person level self-regulation effort was strongly negatively related with occupational self-efficacy. Thus, we conclude that depending the perspective on procrastination (e.g., differential psychology perspective vs. situational perspective) different variables will be considered relevant to explain the emergence of procrastination.
- Feb 2018
Today’s workforce is often faced with high levels of time pressure. According to the challenge-hindrance stressor framework, high levels of time pressure should have an ambivalent relationship with task performance because time pressure increases both motivation and strain. To investigate these ambivalent relationships of time pressure in daily working life, we conducted a diary study over 5 workdays with measurements taken after work. Eighty-one participants provided data on a total of 294 workdays that were analyzed using Bayesian multilevel structural equation modeling techniques. Results revealed that time pressure had a significant total relationship with task performance on the person level, but not on the day level. Furthermore, our data showed that time pressure was positively related to indicators of strain-related and motivational processes, both at the person level and at the day level. However, multilevel mediation analyses also showed for both levels that time pressure was indirectly related to task performance only via motivational processes, but not via strain-related processes. Our results suggest that between-person relationships of job stressors with work outcomes can differ from the corresponding within-person relationships. Thus, we recommend that future research investigates both motivational as well as strain-related processes for other job stressors not only on the person level but also on the day level. Finally, given the ambivalent nature of time pressure, we also recommend that practitioners keep relationships with both motivation and strain in mind when evaluating and redesigning work environments.
In the conceptualization of thriving at work, it is emphasized that employees’ learning and vitality are two equally important components of thriving and that thriving is facilitated by contextual features and available resources. In this study, we examined the effects of two challenge stressors (time pressure and learning demands) on thriving at work. Based on the literature on challenge and hindrance stressors, we proposed that challenge stressors positively affect learning and negatively affect vitality. To uncover underlying mechanisms, we measured challenge appraisal and hindrance appraisal of work situations in a diary study. A sample of 124 knowledge workers responded to three daily surveys (before the lunch break, during the afternoon, and at the end of the workday) for a period of five workdays. Results indicate that the indirect effects of learning demands and time pressure on learning are mediated by challenge appraisal, whereas indirect effects of learning demands on vitality are mediated by hindrance appraisal. Overall, our study shows that challenge stressors have a positive total effect on learning, but no total effect on vitality. These differential relationships call for a finer distinction between the two components of thriving at work in future research. CORRIGENDUM: Following the publication online of this article, the authors would like correct the last sentence on Page 115: “Challenge appraisal positively affected learning but had no effect on vitality, whereas hindrance appraisal had no effect on learning but was POSITIVELY related to vitality.” The sentence should have read as “Challenge appraisal positively affected learning but had no effect on vitality, whereas hindrance appraisal had no effect on learning but was NEGATIVELY related to vitality.”
Our research aimed at disentangling the underlying processes of the adverse relationship between regulatory job stressors and ego depletion. Specifically, we analyzed whether state anxiety and self-control effort would mediate the within-person relationships of time pressure, planning and decision-making, and emotional dissonance with ego depletion. In addition, we also tested potential attenuating effects of situational job autonomy on the adverse effects of regulatory job stressors on state anxiety, self-control effort, and ego depletion. Based on an experience sampling design, we gathered a sample of 97 eldercare workers who provided data on 721 experience-sampling occasions. Multilevel moderated serial mediation analyses revealed that time pressure and emotional dissonance, but not planning and decision-making, exerted significant serial indirect effects on ego depletion via state anxiety and self-control effort. Finally, we found conditional serial indirect effects of all three regulatory job stressors on ego depletion as a function of job autonomy. Theoretical implications for scholarly understanding of coping with regulatory job stressors are discussed.
- Nov 2015
Time pressure has become an integral part of modern working life that affects large parts of the working population. As a challenge stressor, time pressure has been shown to have both beneficial as well as adverse relationships with work outcomes. Although such ambivalent relationships with work outcomes are well documented in the literature, previous evidence is largely based on cross-sectional data that does not permit to draw conclusions about within-person processes. However, it can be assumed that both the beneficial and the adverse relationships of time pressure with work outcomes actually stem from within-person processes that unfold on the day level. Thus, the three main publications of the present doctoral thesis investigated such within-person processes in daily working life using diary study designs. The first publication investigated motivational and strain-related processes that link time pressure to task performance simultaneously on the person level as well as the day level. The results indicated that not all person-level relationships might actually stem from within-person processes, suggesting that future research might benefit from further investigations of within-person processes triggered by time pressure. Thus, the second publication took a closer look at the adverse relationships of time pressure with job strain. It revealed that time pressure leads to ego depletion via a serial process of state anxiety and self-control effort. Finally, the third publication focused on the beneficial effects of time pressure and investigated cognitive appraisal processes in the link between time pressure and both components of thriving at work. The results showed that although time pressure fosters learning at work, it does not affect employees’ vitality at work, indicating that time pressure does not promote thriving at work in a strict sense. Overall, the present doctoral thesis sheds light on the within-person processes triggered by time pressure in daily working life. Implications for both scholarly knowledge as well as occupational practice are discussed.
Recent changes in the world of work have led to increased job demands with subsequent effects on occupational safety. Although work intensification has been linked to detrimental safety behavior and more accidents, there is so far no sufficient explanation for this relationship. This paper investigates the mediating roles of safety climate, safety motivation, and safety knowledge in the relationships of work intensification with components of safety performance at an organizational level. Safety engineers and managers from 122 Austrian high-accident companies participated in a cross-sectional survey. In line with our hypotheses, work intensification negatively related to both components of safety performance: safety compliance and safety participation. The results of a serial multiple mediation analysis further revealed safety climate and safety motivation to be serial mediators of the relationship between work intensification and safety performance. Unexpectedly, safety knowledge and safety climate only serially mediated the relationship between work intensification and safety compliance, but not the relationship between work intensification and safety participation. This study provides evidence for the detrimental effect of work intensification on safety performance across organizations. Additionally, this study offers an explanation as to how work intensification affects safety performance, enabling practitioners to protect their occupational safety procedures and policies from work intensification.
Background The initial preference task (IPT) is an implicit measure that has featured prominently in the literature and enjoys high popularity because it offers to provide an unobtrusive and objective assessment of self-esteem that is easy to administer. However, its use for self-esteem assessment may be limited because of weak associations with direct personality measures. Moreover, moderator effects of sample- and study-related variables need investigation to determine the value of IPT-based assessments of self-esteem. Methods Conventional and grey-literature database searches, as well as screening of reference lists of obtained articles, yielded a total of 105 independent healthy adult samples (N = 17,777) originating from 60 studies. Summary effect estimates and subgroup analyses for potential effect moderators (e.g., administration order, algorithm, rating type) were calculated by means of meta-analytic random- and mixed-effects models. Moreover, we accounted for potential influences of publication year, publication status (published vs. not), and participant sex in a weighted stepwise hierarchical multiple meta-regression. We tested for dissemination bias through six methods. Results There was no noteworthy correlation between IPT-based implicit and explicit self-esteem (r = .102), indicating conceptual independence of these two constructs. Effects were stronger when the B-algorithm was used for calculation of IPT-scores and the IPT was administered only once, whilst all other moderators did not show significant influences. Regression analyses revealed a somewhat stronger (albeit non-significant) effect for men. Moreover, there was no evidence for dissemination bias or a decline effect, although effects from published studies were numerically somewhat stronger than unpublished effects. Discussion We show that there is no noteworthy association between IPT-based implicit and explicit self-esteem, which is broadly consistent with dual-process models of implicit and explicit evaluations on the one hand, but also casts doubt on the suitability of the IPT for the assessment of implicit self-esteem on the other hand.
Following the publication online of this article, the authors would like correct the last sentence on Page 115: “Challenge appraisal positively affected learning but had no effect on vitality, whereas hindrance appraisal had no effect on learning but was POSITIVELY related to vitality.” The sentence should have read as “Challenge appraisal positively affected learning but had no effect on vitality, whereas hindrance appraisal had no effect on learning but was NEGATIVELY related to vitality.”
Project - Within-person processes of time pressure in daily working life
I am happy to announce that I will be sharing the 1st prize of the 2017 Dissertation Award of the section Work-, Organizational- and Business psychology of the German Psychological Society with Manuela Richter. As part of the Dissertation Award Ceremony we will both give a short overview presentation on our theses at the 10th Conference of the section Work-, Organizational- and Business psychology of the German Psychological Society in Dresden. Join us on Friday, Sept. 15th, 2017, at 10:45 a.m. in the great hall (‘Großer Saal’). For further information also refer to the conference webpage at http://aow2017.de/frontend/index.php?sub=58
- Apr 2017
- Job demands in a changing world of work
This book chapter explores how changes in work environments due to societal, economic, and technological change may affect day-level within-person processes of action regulation, cognitive appraisal, and motivation. First, short overviews of action regulation theory (e.g., Frese and Zapf 1994), cognitive appraisal theories (e.g., Lazarus and Folkman 1984), and self-determination theory (Ryan and Deci 2000) are given and results of empirical diary studies based on these theories are discussed. On the basis of these theories, a framework model is presented that integrates action regulation processes, cognitive appraisal processes, and motivation processes in daily working life by focusing on their effects on self-control effort and learning at work. Next, possible effects of changing work environments on day-level within-person processes are discussed on the basis of this framework model. It is argued that although some changes in work environments may have mainly adverse effects (e.g., work intensification), many changes hold the potential for both adverse and beneficial effects (e.g., flexible working). Based on the assumed potentially ambivalent consequences of changes in working conditions, implications for organizations and practitioners are discussed.
Project - Within-person processes of time pressure in daily working life
Conference Paper Self-control effort explains relationships of job stressors ...
Conference Paper Effects of challenge stressors on thriving at work
Conference Paper The role of cognitive appraisal in effects of daily time pre...
- May 2016
Due to economic and technological changes, work has intensified over the past few decades. This intensification of work takes a toll on employees’ well-being and job satisfaction. To explain the effects of work intensification on its outcomes we draw on the transactional stress model and examine the mediating role of cognitive appraisal. Furthermore, we examined whether a favorable participative climate influences the relation between work intensification and its appraisal. In Study 1, mediation analyses of 2-wave panel data (N = 253) supported the hypothesized mediating effect of cognitive appraisal on the relationship between work intensification and emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction, respectively. The cross-sectional Study 2 (N = 932) provided support for the salient role of cognitive appraisal in the relationship of work intensification to its outcomes. Moreover, data from Study 2 revealed that a favorable participative climate serves as a resource in the relationship between work intensification and cognitive appraisal. Additionally, results of a moderated mediation analysis showed that a favorable participative climate weakens the indirect effect of work intensification on its outcomes. Our studies emphasize the importance of promoting a favorable participative climate in organizations to better manage the work intensification resulting from economic and technological changes.
- Apr 2016
- 31st Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Our diary study with 124 knowledge workers (5 workdays, 3 measurement occasions per workday) shows that challenge stressors (time pressure, learning demands) differentially affect both components of thriving at work (learning, vitality). Further, cognitive appraisals of the work situation (challenge, hindrance) are used to explain these differential effects.
- Apr 2015
- 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Our experience sampling study with 97 eldercare workers (721 measurement occasions) shows that self-control effort (e.g., Diestel & Schmidt, 2011) can explain relationships of job stressors (workload, planning and decision-making, emotional dissonance) with ego depletion. Further, job control mitigates the indirect relationship of workload with ego depletion.
- Feb 2014
- The Impact of ICT on Quality of Working Life
Modern societies are currently undergoing accelerated social change (see also Chap. 4). In this chapter, we are interested in whether these societal changes influence individual working conditions. More specifically, it is argued that the speeding up of production, consumption, and decision processes due to the implementation of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and increased international competition confront employees with work intensification and increasing job insecurity. Using data from the European Working Conditions Surveys, we analyze trends in work intensity and job insecurity in Europe from 2000 onwards; using data from the Health and Retirement Study as well as the German Socio-Economic Panel, we also model individual change trajectories from 2000 onwards. The results show that employees differ in the extent to which they are confronted with changes in work intensity and job insecurity. European trend data suggest that work intensification occurred basically in conservative welfare states (i.e., Germany, France, and Spain), but not in the United Kingdom or Finland. Individual change trajectories show that nearly 30 % of German and American workers have experienced an increase in work intensity over the past decade. Less-educated workers are the most affected. Moreover, job insecurity has risen for a majority of employees in Europe and America. Especially, well-educated workers who have thus far been in rather stable employment relations perceived an increase in job insecurity.
- Jul 2012
- 2012 Southeast Asian Network of Ergonomics Societies Conference (SEANES)
A diary instrument that could be used as a macroergonomic evaluation tool was developed and applied to evaluating monitoring tasks. In the first part of the study, the development of the instrument allowing the measurement of employee evaluations of perceived workload, attained performance, and strain is presented. Railway signalers and controllers filled out a diary every four hours over ten consecutive working shifts. Analysis of the objective workload conditions of the railway signalers and their relations to subjective workload perceptions in the diary indicates a satisfying validity of the measures. In the second part of the study, the newly developed diary instrument was used for macro-ergonomic evaluations in two other controller work places. Using the shift diary it was possible to answer practical macro-ergonomic questions that originated from the respective work situations. The strengths and possible limitations of the diary instrument are discussed.
- Feb 2012
The study investigated the role of recovery and detachment in the break period between two shifts for fatigue in the current shift. A time-based paper-and-pencil diary study was carried out observing sixty-four railway controllers over ten consecutive working shifts. The results demonstrated that fatigue in the current shift was not only affected by recovery and psychological detachment during break phases before a shift, but also by fatigue at shift onset and perceived workload during the shift.
- Aug 2011
The present diploma thesis was written within the framework of a research project carried out by the University of Vienna and the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastruktur AG. It deals with stress and strain in the daily work life of signallers and dispatchers working at the control center BFZ Innsbruck, who monitor and control the rail traffic of western Austria while performing shift work. As part of an extensive literature survey not only the concept of stress and strain and various stress models but also the job demands-resources model is presented. In addition the specifics of monitoring tasks as well as methods to measure stress, strain and consequences of strain in general and within the context of diary studies are dealt with. To a great extend the hypotheses are based on the assumptions of the job demands- resources model and describe the influence of job demands and job resources that were identified as part of a preliminary investigation as well as stressors on strain, performance and consequences of strain. As part of a diary study data for the relevant constructs was obtained at multiple points in time during ten consequent twelve hours shifts using self-designed measures based on prior existent ones. Data of overall 626 shifts was collected from 64 participants. Additionally ‘objective’ data was gathered from the data processing equipment at the BFZ Innsbruck. Multiple linear as well as logistic regression analyses were carried out to test the hypotheses. The results showed that in most cases only a part of the measured job demands, job resources, and stressors had the predicted effects on strain, performance and consequences of strain. As part of the exploration the influence of ‘objective’ stressors on ‘subjective’ stress as well as the trends of the constructs measured by the diary over the course of time were investigated. It was shown, that ‘objective’ stressors are good predictors of experienced ‘subjective’ stress, and that the trends of most constructs can be captured quite accurately.
Awards & Achievements (1)
Award · Sep 2017
1st Prize at the Dissertation Award of the Division for Work, Organizational, and Business Psychology (AOW) of the German Psychological Association (DGPs)