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Thriving on Demand: Challenging Work Results in Employee Flourishing Through Appraisals and Resources

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Thriving on Demand: Challenging Work Results in Employee Flourishing Through Appraisals and Resources

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Resources theories of occupational stress (e.g., conservation of resources theory) argue that job demands deplete employees’ resources, and the challenge– hindrance model of occupational stress proposes that some demands tend to be appraised by employees more as challenges and others more as hindrances. Focusing on challenge demands, we propose and test a model in which work demands influence two resources (employees’ sense of self-worth and work meaningfulness) via appraisal processes, and the resources subsequently contribute to employees’ flourishing in their lives. Data were collected from U.S. employees at two separate points with a 1-month interval. Challenge appraisals of demands had positive effects on the two motivational resources, organization-based self-esteem and perceptions of meaningful work, and hindrance appraisals had negative effects on them. The findings suggest adapting conservation of resources theory to add appraisals as mediators between demands and resources. Overall, the present study shows a spillover effect and extends well-being research by providing evidence that resources created by positive organizational experiences contributed to promoting general positive well-being in employees’ lives in the form of flourishing.
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International Journal of Stress
Management
Thriving on Demand: Challenging Work Results in
Employee Flourishing Through Appraisals and Resources
Minseo Kim and Terry A. Beehr
Online First Publication, May 16, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/str0000135
CITATION
Kim, M., & Beehr, T. A. (2019, May 16). Thriving on Demand: Challenging Work Results in
Employee Flourishing Through Appraisals and Resources. International Journal of Stress
Management. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/str0000135
Thriving on Demand: Challenging Work Results in Employee Flourishing
Through Appraisals and Resources
Minseo Kim
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Terry A. Beehr
Central Michigan University
Resources theories of occupational stress (e.g., conservation of resources theory) argue that job demands
deplete employees’ resources, and the challenge– hindrance model of occupational stress proposes that
some demands tend to be appraised by employees more as challenges and others more as hindrances.
Focusing on challenge demands, we propose and test a model in which work demands influence two
resources (employees’ sense of self-worth and work meaningfulness) via appraisal processes, and the
resources subsequently contribute to employees’ flourishing in their lives. Data were collected from U.S.
employees at two separate points with a 1-month interval. Challenge appraisals of demands had positive
effects on the two motivational resources, organization-based self-esteem and perceptions of meaningful
work, and hindrance appraisals had negative effects on them. The findings suggest adapting conservation
of resources theory to add appraisals as mediators between demands and resources. Overall, the present
study shows a spillover effect and extends well-being research by providing evidence that resources
created by positive organizational experiences contributed to promoting general positive well-being in
employees’ lives in the form of flourishing.
Keywords: work demands, appraisals, organization-based self-esteem, meaningful work, flourishing
In organizational behavior, work stressors or demands are con-
sidered harmful based on occupational stress theory, in which
stressors create strains (defined as poor employee health or well-
being; Beehr, 2014; Spector & Jex, 1998). It is important to
distinguish between hindrance demands and challenge demands as
stressors (often labeled stress in other literatures, e.g., ergonomics
and engineering; International Organization for Standardization
[ISO] 10075–1, 2017) however, because they may be associated
differently with employees’ responses (Lepine, Podsakoff, & Lep-
ine, 2005; Stiglbauer, 2018). Hindrance demands are considered to
be unmanageable barriers thwarting employees’ progress toward
work achievement, whereas challenge demands are obstacles to be
overcome with enough effort and skill (Cavanaugh, Boswell,
Roehling, & Boudreau, 2000). According to the transactional
theory of stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), employees’ primary
appraisal involves cognitively evaluating a situation’s potential for
gain or loss, and employees’ appraisals of demands as hindrance
lead to losses, but their appraisals of demands as challenges result
in possible gains.
Most studies and meta-analyses assume that certain demands are
challenging and therefore the nature of the demand causes em-
ployees to appraise them as challenging, but that other demands
are inherently hindering and cause employees to appraise them as
hindering (Cavanaugh et al., 2000; Lepine et al., 2005). Therefore,
most research on challenge and hindrance stressors classified stres-
sors a priori into demands or hindrances. Yet, Webster, Beehr, and
Love (2011) demonstrated that the different demands can be
appraised as somewhat demanding and somewhat hindering at the
same time, even by the same person; their study showed the
appraisals mediated the relationship between the stressors and
the strains. Studies based on the literature on challenge and hin-
drance demands (Cavanaugh et al., 2000) have indicated that
exposure to both types of work demands may make employees feel
tired and experience psychological strains (Lepine et al., 2005;
Widmer, Semmer, Kälin, Jacobshagen, & Meier, 2012). However,
challenge demands containing potential gains are sometimes also
related to more positive outcomes, such as motivation, work en-
gagement, organization-based self-esteem (OBSE), and good cit-
izenship behaviors (Crawford, Lepine, & Rich, 2010; Kim &
Beehr, 2018a; Lepine, Lepine, & Jackson, 2004).
Minseo Kim, College of Business, Hankuk University of Foreign Stud-
ies; Terry A. Beehr, Department of Psychology, Central Michigan Univer-
sity.
Minseo Kim is a PhD student in the Department of Management and
Organization Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South
Korea. She received her PhD from Central Michigan University with a
major in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Her research interests
include occupational stress, leadership, motivation, job crafting, and em-
ployee well-being. Terry A. Beehr is a Professor of Psychology and
member of the Industrial and Organizational Psychology faculty at Central
Michigan University. His research interests include occupational stress,
retirement, leadership, motivation, and careers.
We previously presented some of these data at the 12th International
Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, “Work, Stress, and Health,
2017: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities,” Minneapolis, Minne-
sota.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Minseo
Kim, College of Business, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul,
02450, South Korea. E-mail: minseokim0331@gmail.com
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
International Journal of Stress Management
© 2019 American Psychological Association 2019, Vol. 2, No. 999, 000
1072-5245/19/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/str0000135
1
Flourishing consists of feelings of competence, positive rela-
tionships, and having purpose in life (Diener et al., 2010). The
present study proposes that challenge demands can lead to good
effects in the form of employee flourishing, because challenge
appraisals lead more directly to personal and environmental re-
sources that can help employees deal with job situations, which
can be motivational. That is, there is a mediational process, with
purportedly challenging demands leading to challenge appraisals,
which then lead to good outcomes (see Figure 1). Resource theo-
ries of stress, conservation of resources (COR; Hobfoll, 1989) and
job demands–resources (JD-R; Bakker & Demerouti, 2007) theo-
ries, maintain that stressful demands can deplete employees’ re-
sources.
We propose, however, that appraisals of job demands can ex-
plain how resources are affected by demands. Demands leading to
challenge appraisals will have a more positive effect on resources,
an indirect effect via the challenge appraisals. This accumulation
or depletion of resources via appraisals then can result in effects on
employees’ thriving or flourishing at work. Therefore, the study
contributes to resources theories of occupational stress by explain-
ing that the indirect effects of demands on resources occurs through
the appraisals they engender.
Research has usually assumed that certain work demands would,
on average, be experienced as either challenges or hindrances. One
of the rare studies directly measuring appraisal showed that the
same work demand can be appraised as somewhat hindering and
somewhat challenging, although the majority of appraisals fit with
researchers’ a priori theoretical judgments, suggesting the job
situation is causing the appraisal (Webster et al., 2011). Thus, an
employee might appraise a demand primarily in one way (e.g., as
a challenge), but also he or she might simultaneously appraise it
the other way (e.g., hindrance), but to a lesser extent. Appraisals
matter because seeing demands as challenging implies greater
opportunities to show one’s competence, achieve, and gain mean-
ingful success, which can be positively related to motivation, but
seeing demands as hindering implies less motivating states such as
futility and unlikely success.
Consistent with theory, but addressing limitations in much pre-
vious research, we examine primary appraisal (Lazarus & Folk-
man, 1984) as an important underlying mediator or mechanism
explaining indirect relationships between work demands and out-
comes. Specifically, we examine potential mediating roles of in-
dividual appraisals in the link between three purportedly challeng-
ing demands, workload, responsibility, and learning demands and
psychological outcomes (see Figure 1). High workload is the
degree to which employees have to work very hard (Spector & Jex,
1998). Responsibility is a work demand with high material or
nonmaterial consequences that depend on the employee’s deci-
sions at work (Schmitt, Den Hartog, & Belschak, 2015). Learning
demands require employees to improve the knowledge and skills
that are necessary to perform their jobs well (Kubicek, Paškvan, &
Korunka, 2015; Loon & Casimir, 2008). Previous research con-
sidered these work demands as motivating challenges (Lepine et
al., 2005). We test these working conditions simultaneously for
their impact on employee appraisals of both challenge and hin-
drance.
Personal resources are employees’ evaluations of their own
ability to control their work situation, and they make the employee
more resilient to stressful demands (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014;
Hobfoll, Johnson, Ennis, & Jackson, 2003). Environmental re-
sources also help employees to deal with stressful demands, be-
cause they are features of the job or work situation that help
employees function better to achieve work goals, which can in-
clude dealing with challenges and hindrances (Bakker & Demer-
outi, 2007, 2014).
Challenge appraisal would be positively associated with a sense
of OBSE (employees’ beliefs of their worthiness as an organiza-
tional member; Pierce & Gardner, 2004), because employees could
show their abilities and success at high levels in challenging work
situations. In the model, challenge appraisal would also be posi-
tively related to the experience of meaning in work (the degree to
which employees view their work as significant and worthwhile;
Rosso, Dekas, & Wrzesniewski, 2010). Employees may experi-
ence meaningfulness of work by doing challenging jobs that pro-
vide opportunities for learning, high achievement, and future ca-
reer gains and thus increase the intrinsic worth of accomplishing
job purposes. In contrast, hindrance appraisals would be expected
to show the opposite patterns of relationships with OBSE and
meaningfulness of work. Self-esteem and meaning can be con-
ceived as resources (i.e., JD-R, Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; COR,
Figure 1. Hypothesized model.
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2KIM AND BEEHR
Hobfoll, 1989; Kim & Beehr, 2018b). We propose that employees
experiencing these two resources in the workplace, due to apprais-
als, would then experience more flourishing in their lives. Based
on the argument that resources derived from work can be used to
enhance one’s nonwork life (Greenhaus & Powell, 2006), we
expect that there will be a spillover effect of positive organiza-
tional experiences on employees’ lives outside of the workplace, in
the form of flourishing.
Only a few recent studies have measured primary appraisal and
its effect on work outcomes in the field (Lepine, Zhang, Crawford,
& Rich, 2016; Liu & Li, 2018; Prem, Ohly, Kubicek, & Korunka,
2017). Additionally, the influence of work demands on general
positive well-being (flourishing) rather than on work-specific neg-
ative effects has not been well-explored, although it would be
consistent with recommendations from the positive organizational
behavior movement (Luthans, 2002; Simmons & Nelson, 2007) to
examine the potential positive outcomes of demands. We studied
purportedly challenging demands as having their effects through
challenging appraisals but also examined their potential hindering
appraisals to determine the overall effects of appraisals on the
positive outcome of employee flourishing.
The contributions of the present study are therefore as follows. We
extend resources theories of occupational stress (i.e., JD-R, Bakker &
Demerouti, 2007; COR, Hobfoll, 1989) by integrating resources prop-
ositions with appraisal constructs from the challenge– hindrance
framework (Cavanaugh et al., 2000). We do this by adding two
important resources variables—OBSE and meaningful work—as con-
sequences of demand appraisals; the JD-R model in particular helped
us to identify relevant resources, as OBSE is listed as a personal
resource, and work characteristics related to meaning (e.g., job au-
tonomy and variety) are job resources (Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). In
doing so, we demonstrate that, despite their conceptual differences, all
three work demands exert their favorable effects on employees’
resources through the challenge– hindrance appraisal framework. The
model in Figure 1 proposes that both cognitive appraisals and re-
sources (OBSE and meaningful work) are serial mediators in the links
of work demands with flourishing, a positive potential result of
demanding work. In so doing, we also show spillover effects in which
positive work-related resources, OBSE and meaningful work, can
influence employees’ general psychological well-being in life (flour-
ishing).
Work Demands, Cognitive Appraisals, Motivational
Resources, and Well-Being
Bakker and Demerouti (2014) noted the lack of integration of
occupational stress and motivational theories in spite of a natural
link between them. In Figure 1, well-being in the form of flour-
ishing is predicted by work demands because the demands lead to
cognitive appraisals and motivational resources.
Challenge Appraisals
We propose that particular types of demands may be positively
related to employees’ well-being, consistent with concepts such as
eustress (Selye, 1976). The present study focuses on three suppos-
edly challenging demands (Cavanaugh et al., 2000): high work-
load, responsibility, and learning demands. Many employees are
required to work very hard, make decisions independently with
increased responsibility, and have new learning demands (Kubicek
et al., 2015). We test them simultaneously for employee appraisals
of them as both challenge and hindrance, which can lead to
different outcomes; we note that based on past theoretical catego-
rizations, these three work demands should, on average, result in
challenge appraisals more than hindrance appraisals (Cavanaugh et
al., 2000; Lepine et al., 2005).
In Figure 1, we propose that challenge appraisals would have
positive effects on OBSE and meaningful work, and that hindrance
appraisals would have negative effects on these resources. OBSE
inspires a sense of being capable of dealing with challenging work
situations (Pierce & Gardner, 2004); employees’ confidence in
their abilities is a form of motivation, because it is the effort-to-
performance expectancy in expectancy theory of motivation
(Vroom, 1964). The challenge demand of workload gives oppor-
tunities to show one’s competence and to achieve high success,
which consequently lead to favorable attitudes toward oneself.
High responsibility causes employees to work harder, because
doing so, they can experience a sense of personal accomplishment
and sometimes formal recognition, which in turn contributes to
developing their self-esteem at work. By coping with learning
demands, employees have opportunities for personal growth be-
cause of the acquired skills and increased knowledge related to
their tasks. We propose, however, that these three demands affect
the OBSE motivational resource through the challenge– hindrance
appraisal process. Taken together, by coping with challenge de-
mands, employees demonstrate their competence and success at
high levels, which in turn leads to favorable evaluations of them-
selves in the workplace, the essence of OBSE.
Challenging appraisals may also affect employees’ sense of
meaningfulness in their work. Such job meaningfulness is a part of
intrinsic motivation (Hackman & Oldham, 1980), because work
demands seen as meaningful are worth the time and energy in-
vestment required for their accomplishment. Challenge demands
allow employees to see the opportunity for a sense of purpose and
personal growth as a result of successfully coping with these
challenges. Greater responsibility leads to employees’ psycholog-
ical identification with the work by encouraging them to take
charge of their work outcomes, so that their contribution is more
personally meaningful. Hence, perceptions that their work is
meaningful and significant are motivational resources that would
be strengthened by challenge appraisals.
Hindrance Appraisals
The three demands in the present study are purported to be
challenges (Lepine et al., 2005) and so should be appraised as
more challenging than hindering. The limited past research directly
on employees’ appraisals suggests a single demand can be ap-
praised on both a challenge and hindrance (Webster et al., 2011).
In contrast to challenge demands, hindrance demands are ap-
praised as having the potential to block task accomplishment,
personal growth, and achievement. Therefore, individuals may
have few opportunities to successfully show their abilities in
relation to the work task, and their self-value in the organization
(OBSE) would be less. Hindrance appraisals also would discour-
age seeing the work as meaningful, because hindrances are inher-
ently discouraging. Based on hindrance appraisals, employees will
be unwilling to invest themselves and their energy in efforts to
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3
FLOURISHING ON DEMAND
meet demands that they appraise as being obstacles. Even if
employees deal successfully with the hindrances, they only
achieve normal job performance. They are thus less likely to obtain
benefits such as experiencing exceptional OBSE and meaningful-
ness of work.
Flourishing: A Case of Positive Spillover
The two resources—OBSE and meaning of work—are partial
forms of motivation based on expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964)
and work design theory (Hackman & Oldham, 1980), and in the
model they are derived from being challenged. We hypothesize
that there is a potential spillover effect of positive evaluations of
work as meaningful and of a good work self-concept; these posi-
tive states will spill over from employees’ work to their general
(nonwork) psychological well-being (flourishing; Diener et al.,
2010). Spillover effects are the transfer of one’s functioning (e.g.,
attitudes and emotions) from one domain to another; in this case
functioning in life in general is proposed to be influenced by a
person’s functioning in the work domain. Previous research shows
that such spillover from work to nonwork lives can generally occur
(e.g., meta-analysis by Erdogan, Bauer, Truxillo, & Mansfield,
2012), and we propose spillover specifically from employees’
OBSE and meaningful work to their flourishing in life.
The positive self-view of OBSE in the workplace spills over to
times when the employee is not in the workplace, so that he or she
develops a personal sense of well-being in nonwork domains with
increased self-competence. That is, high OBSE employees are
likely to be better able to control stressful conditions in their
nonwork life as well as in the work life, showing more adaptive
coping behaviors and seeking ways of enhancing their well-being.
This assumption is consistent with previous studies demonstrating
that OBSE had negative associations with general depression and
unpleasant affect (Bowling, Eschleman, Wang, Kirkendall, &
Alarcon, 2010; Pierce, Gardner, & Crowley, 2016) and a positive
association with favorable attitude toward life (Widmer et al.,
2012).
We also expect meaning formed around work to positively
influence employee flourishing. Important, meaningful work can
be a key source of a purposeful life in general, given the fact that
work is a large part of people’s lives. Some studies argued that
meaningful work is related to overall positive experience and
judgment about one’s life (Judge & Watanabe, 1994; Steger &
Dik, 2010; Steger, Dik, & Duffy, 2012). Similarly, we posit that
employees experiencing purpose and meaning in their work should
hold an optimistic outlook on their future (optimism is one of
components of flourishing), because those who enjoy their work
and feel happy at work may develop positive attitudes and judg-
ment about their future lives.
According to career research, one’s career can provide mean-
ingful and purposeful experiences, as well as serve a greater good
(calling, Dik & Duffy, 2009; Hall & Chandler, 2005), and people
feeling that their work is a calling view their lives as more
meaningful, leading to well-being (Duffy, England, Douglass,
Autin, & Allan, 2017; Duffy & Sedlacek, 2007). Therefore, mean-
ingful work should result in global-level life meaning and func-
tioning (flourishing).
In summary, we develop a mediation model explaining how
work demands can result in employee flourishing through the
serial mediators of appraisals (challenge and hindrance) and re-
sources (OBSE and meaningful work). Therefore, by integrating
appraisal constructs from transactional theory (Lazarus & Folk-
man, 1984; adapted as challenge– hindrance appraisal by Ca-
vanaugh et al., 2000) and resource-based theories of stress (i.e.,
JD-R, Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; COR, Hobfoll, 1989), we
propose that particular types of demands can lead to resource gain
via their effects on individual appraisals, and these resources are
more proximal predictors of psychological well-being in the form
of flourishing (see Figure 1). The overall mediation hypothesis
depicted in the model and the subhypotheses that are inherently a
part of it are as follows:
Overall Mediation Hypothesis: Challenge appraisal, hin-
drance appraisal, OBSE, and meaningful work mediate the
relationships of work demands with flourishing.
Hypothesis 1a: Because the work demands in the present
study are theoretically challenge demands, we expect them to
be more positively related to challenge appraisal than to
hindrance appraisal.
Hypothesis 1b: Challenge appraisal will be positively, and
hindrance appraisal will be negatively, related to OBSE and
meaningful work.
Hypothesis 1c: OBSE and meaningful work will be positively
related to flourishing.
Method
Participants and Procedure
Participants were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk,
an online marketplace connecting researchers and survey respon-
dents. Several studies indicated MTurk workers are highly edu-
cated and read survey instructions carefully, and they are diverse
in age, education, and work experience (Paolacci & Chandler,
2014; Ramsey, Thompson, McKenzie, & Rosenbaum, 2016). Re-
cent meta-analytic research showed that results from MTurk and
other online data platforms have reliability and validity (i.e., cor-
relations with criteria) similar to other sources of data for occu-
pational and organizational studies (Walter, Siebert, Goering, &
O’Boyle, 2018). To ensure high-quality data, we also surveyed
only MTurk workers with a 95% approval rating from their pre-
vious assignments and conducted multiple screening tests, as is
recommended (Buhrmester, Kwang, & Gosling, 2011; Mason &
Suri, 2012).
Data were collected at two time points with a 4-week interval to
measure the outcomes at a different time from the predictors, to
help reduce common method bias (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, &
Podsakoff, 2012). This amount of time between measurement
events has been successful in previous studies of occupational
stress and therefore should be an appropriate time interval between
data collections (Daniels & Guppy, 1994; Dawson, O’Brien, &
Beehr, 2016). Initially, 439 participants completed the first survey.
Of these, 382 (87%) employees completed the second survey 4
weeks later. To control data quality, we followed the recom-
mended data screening process and attention check filter methods
(Cheung, Burns, Sinclair, & Sliter, 2017; DeSimone, Harms, &
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4KIM AND BEEHR
DeSimone, 2015; Peer, Vosgerau, & Acquisti, 2014); only 16
responses were deleted due to failed attention checks, suspected
low effort responding (80% above the same answers overall on the
survey), quick response time (less than 3 min to complete the
survey), and extreme outliers (3.0 SD from the mean). Therefore,
our models were tested with a resulting sample of 366 responses:
54.8% were male, 79.7% White, and 68.1% had a bachelor’s
degree. Their mean age was 35.41 years (SD 9.58), and they
worked 40.69 hr per week (SD 7.74) and in their organization
for an average of 6.47 years (SD 5.54). The sample consisted of
full-time U.S. employees in a variety of industries (e.g., education,
technology, health, and manufacturing), and 60.1% were line
employees, 16.9% supervisors, 15.3% managers, and 5.7% exec-
utives.
Measures
The first survey (Time [T] 1) included measures of the three
types of work demands, the challenge and hindrance primary
appraisals, and demographics. The Time 2 survey measured the
resources of OBSE and meaningful work, and the outcome of
flourishing.
Workload (T1). Workload was assessed using three items,
␣⫽.88, from the Quantitative Workload Inventory (Spector &
Jex, 1998). An example item is “How often does your job require
you to work very hard?” rated on a 5-point frequency scale from
1(less than once per month)to5(several times per day).
Responsibility (T1). Responsibility was measured with three
items, ␣⫽.91, adapted from the production responsibility mea-
sure developed by Jackson, Wall, Martin, and Davids (1993). This
scale was also used to measure outcome responsibility as a job
demand in a study by Schmitt et al. (2015). An example item is
“An error on my part can cause expansive damage to my com-
pany” rated on a 7-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree)to
7(strongly agree).
Learning demands (T1). Learning demands were measured
with six items, ␣⫽.94, adapted from the Intensification of Job
Demands Scale (Kubicek et al., 2015). An example item is “I have
to familiarize myself with new work processes” rated on a 5-point
Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree)to5(strongly agree).
Primary appraisal (T1). Primary appraisals were the first
mediators in the model and were assessed with two three-item
measures for challenge appraisals and hindrance appraisals based
on previous theory and research (Cavanaugh et al., 2000; Lepine et
al., 2005). Specifically, items measuring challenge appraisal are “I
view my tasks as challenging,” “My work brings me closer to the
accomplishment of personal goals,” and “I feel challenged” (Ohly
& Fritz, 2010). The three items for hindrance appraisal are “My
work restricts my capabilities,” “My work hinders me from attain-
ing personal goals,” and “Working to fulfill the demands of my job
thwarts my personal growth.” They were taken from measures of
hindrance appraisal in previous studies (Lepine et al., 2016; Searle
& Auton, 2015). Respondents rated appraisal items on a scale from
1(strongly disagree)to5(strongly agree). Reliability was .87 for
challenge appraisal and .92 for hindrance appraisal.
OBSE and meaningfulness (T2). Two resources, OBSE and
meaningful work, were the secondary mediators. OBSE was as-
sessed with 10 items, ␣⫽.92, developed by Pierce, Gardner,
Cummings, and Dunham (1989). A sample item is “I am valuable
in this organization” rated on a 7-point Likert scale from 1
(strongly disagree)to7(strongly agree).
Meaningful work was measured with Steger et al.’s (2012)
10-item, ␣⫽.97, Work as Meaning Inventory. It has three
dimensions: positive meaning (e.g., “I have found a meaningful
career”), meaning making via work (e.g., “I view my work as
contributing to my personal growth”), and greater-good motiva-
tions (e.g., “The work I do serves a greater purpose”). Items were
rated ona1(absolutely untrue)to7(absolutely true) scale.
Flourishing (T2). Flourishing was operationalized with Die-
ner et al.’s (2010) eight-item, ␣⫽.91, Flourishing scale, which
measures the unidimensional structure of the flourishing (Diener et
al., 2010; Silva & Caetano, 2013). The scale captures important
aspects of human functioning, such as feelings of competence,
having positive relationships, and leading a meaningful life, pro-
viding an overall picture of well-being (Hone, Jarden, Schofield, &
Duncan, 2014). A sample item is “I lead a purposeful and mean-
ingful life” rated on a 7-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly dis-
agree)to7(strongly agree).
Analyses
We first conducted a confirmatory factor analysis using LISREL
8.8 (Jöreskog & Sörbom, 2006) to calculate fit and parameter
statistics as well as test the factor structure of our measures. The
confirmatory factor analysis or overall measurement model includ-
ing all of the study variables (hypothesized 8-factor model)
showed an acceptable fit to the data,
2
(674, N366) 2,126.70,
p.01; standardized root mean square residual .08; compar-
ative fit index .96; normed fit index .94; incremental fit
index .96. For confirmatory factor analyses, items of each
variable were used as indicators except for meaningful work—its
three dimensions served as indicators. Then, we tested the overall
mediation hypothesis as well as Hypotheses 1a to 1c simultane-
ously using path analysis with manifest variables. The fit statistics
tested the overall mediation model and provided estimates of
indirect effects.
In addition, to test the specific mediation effects predicting
flourishing, alternative models were tested. The first alternative
model tested whether the three work demands would directly
predict flourishing in spite of the inclusion of the mediators.
Therefore, alternative Model 1 added three direct paths, one each
from workload, responsibility, and learning demands, to flourish-
ing. The second alternative model tested whether the challenge and
hindrance appraisals would directly predict flourishing in spite of
the inclusion of the mediating effects of OBSE and meaningful
work. Therefore, alternative Model 2 added two direct paths, from
OBSE and meaningful work, to flourishing. Testing these models
thus represented attempts to disconfirm the mediation hypotheses.
Results
Means, standard deviations, reliabilities, and correlations of all
the variables are presented in Table 1. Correlations corresponding
to the paths in the hypothesized model were significant. The three
work demands, the predictors in the model, were significantly
related to the first two mediators, challenge appraisals, r.45 to
r.48, p.01, and hindrance appraisals, r⫽⫺.11, p.05, to
r⫽⫺.26, p.01. The first two mediators were also related to the
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5
FLOURISHING ON DEMAND
two secondary mediators: challenge appraisal was positively re-
lated to OBSE, r.31, p.01, and meaningful work, r.50,
p.01, whereas hindrance appraisal was negatively related to
OBSE, r⫽⫺.42, p.01, and meaningful work, r⫽⫺.38, p
.01. The two secondary mediators were both positively related to
the criterion, flourishing, r.56 for OBSE and r.47 for
meaningful work, both p.01.
Overall Mediation Hypothesis
The overall mediation hypothesis, regarding the fit of the model
with challenge appraisal, hindrance appraisal, OBSE, and mean-
ingful work mediating the relationships of work demands with
flourishing, was supported. The hypothesized path model fit the
data moderately well,
2
(13, N366) 84.09, p.01; stan-
dardized root mean square residual .08; comparative fit index
.94; normed fit index .93; incremental fit index .94, and the
standardized path coefficients were all significant (see Figure 2).
Additionally, Table 2 shows the indirect standardized effects of
work demands on employee flourishing via the two appraisals
(challenge and hindrance) and two resources (OBSE and mean-
ingful work); the indirect effects are equal to the total effects,
suggesting only indirect effects exist.
Next, the alternative models were examined to further test the
overall mediation hypothesis. They tested the potential direct ef-
fects of the demands (alternative Model 1) and of the appraisals
(alternative Model 2) on flourishing. Table 3 shows that none of
the new paths added was significant, and overall fit indices were
not improved, ⌬␹
2
(3) .55, p.91, for alternative Model 1;
⌬␹
2
(2) 4.60, p.10, for alternative Model 2. Therefore, the
hypothesized serial mediations model was the ideal and most
parsimonious model for predicting flourishing, compared with the
alternative models. Taken together, regarding the study’s overall
hypothesized model as illustrated in Figure 1, the model fit statis-
tics and the comparative fit statistics of alternative models both
supported the indirect effects of work demands on employee
flourishing via two appraisals and resources. Finally, several ad-
ditional, more specific mediation analyses were run with PRO-
CESS, and the results are presented in Appendix.
Hypothesis 1a
Regarding Hypothesis 1a, workload was positively related to
challenge appraisal, ␤⫽.21, but it was not significantly related to
hindrance appraisal, ␤⫽.06. The other two demands, responsi-
bility and learning demands, were positively associated with chal-
lenge appraisal, ␤⫽.27 and ␤⫽.29, and negatively with
hindrance appraisal, ␤⫽⫺.14 and ␤⫽⫺.24. Regarding Hypoth-
esis 1a, not only were all of the coefficients from these demands
more positive for challenge than for hindrance, but for two de-
Table 1
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations
Variables MSD1234567
1. Workload (T1) 3.47 1.17 .88
2. Responsibility (T1) 4.21 1.28 .91 .41
ⴱⴱ
3. Learning demands (T1) 3.33 1.08 .94 .50
ⴱⴱ
.32
ⴱⴱ
4. Challenge appraisal (T1) 3.71 0.97 .87 .47
ⴱⴱ
.45
ⴱⴱ
.48
ⴱⴱ
5. Hindrance appraisal (T1) 2.24 1.03 .92 .11
.19
ⴱⴱ
.26
ⴱⴱ
.37
ⴱⴱ
6. Organization-based self-esteem (T2) 5.49 0.95 .92 .07 .25
ⴱⴱ
.07 .31
ⴱⴱ
.42
ⴱⴱ
7. Meaningful work (T2) 4.92 1.53 .97 .15
ⴱⴱ
.24
ⴱⴱ
.27
ⴱⴱ
.50
ⴱⴱ
.38
ⴱⴱ
.43
ⴱⴱ
8. Flourishing (T2) 5.62 0.91 .91 .09 .17
ⴱⴱ
.11
.31
ⴱⴱ
.36
ⴱⴱ
.56
ⴱⴱ
.47
ⴱⴱ
Note.N366. T1 Time 1; T2 Time 2.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
Figure 2. Path diagram with standardized coefficients. ns not significant. All paths were significant at p
.01 except the path with a dotted line from workload to hindrance appraisal, ␤⫽.06, ns.
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6KIM AND BEEHR
mands (responsibility and learning demands) the coefficients with
hindrance were actually negative. For further support for Hypoth-
esis 1a, comparing the correlations in Table 1, all three correlations
of the demands with challenge appraisals were more positive than
the corresponding correlations of demands with the hindrance
appraisal. Tests of the differences between dependent correlations
(McNemar, 1969) were significant, for workload, t(364) 7.59,
p.01; for responsibility, t(364) 8.25, p.01; and for learning
demands, t(364) 9.76, p.01.
Hypotheses 1b and 1c
Results also supported Hypothesis 1b, because challenge ap-
praisal was positively related to OBSE, ␤⫽.19, and meaningful
work, ␤⫽.42, and hindrance appraisal was negatively related to
OBSE, ␤⫽⫺.35, and meaningful work, ␤⫽⫺.23. Hypothesis
1c, that OBSE, ␤⫽.45, and meaningful work, ␤⫽.29, would
be positively related to flourishing, was supported too.
Discussion
Based on COR theory (Hobfoll, 1989), demands or stressors can
deplete employees’ resources, but demands can be appraised as
challenging and/or hindering (Cavanaugh et al., 2000; based on
transactional stress theory, Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) and there-
fore can lead to either greater or fewer resources. Although de-
mands can lead to harmful effects on employees (strains) because
of the appraisals and their effects on resources, employees could
also be better off, thriving or flourishing in the lives. The overall
model and its specific links based on these propositions were
largely supported: Appraisals and resources together mediate the
relationship between work demands and employee flourishing.
Table 2
Summary of Model Fit Indices
Model test
2
df SRMR CFI NFI IFI ⌬␹
2
df p
Measurement model 2,126.70 674 .08 .96 .94 .96
Hypothesized model 84.09 13 .08 .94 .93 .94
Alternative Model 1: Adding 3 direct
paths, one from each predictor to
flourishing 83.54 10 .08 .94 .93 .94 .55 3 .91
Alternative Model 2: Adding 2 paths,
one each from challenge and
hindrance appraisal to flourishing 79.49 11 .08 .94 .93 .94 4.60 2 .10
Note. SRMR standardized root mean square residual; CFI comparative fit index; NFI normed fit index; IFI incremental fit index.
2
values for
the path models are significant at p.01. ⌬␹
2
refers to comparisons with the hypothesized model.
Table 3
Direct, Indirect, and Total Standardized Effects of the Three Work Demands on Flourishing
Effect from To Direct effects Indirect effects Total effect
Workload ¡Challenge appraisal .21
ⴱⴱⴱ
.21
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Hindrance appraisal .06 .06
¡OBSE .02 .02
¡Meaningful work .08 .08
¡Flourishing .03 .03
Responsibility ¡Challenge appraisal .27
ⴱⴱⴱ
.27
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Hindrance appraisal .14
ⴱⴱⴱ
.14
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡OBSE .10
ⴱⴱⴱ
.10
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Meaningful work .15
ⴱⴱⴱ
.15
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Flourishing .09
ⴱⴱⴱ
.09
ⴱⴱⴱ
Learning demands ¡Challenge appraisal .29
ⴱⴱⴱ
.29
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Hindrance appraisal .24
ⴱⴱⴱ
.24
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡OBSE .14
ⴱⴱⴱ
.14
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Meaningful work .18
ⴱⴱⴱ
.18
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Flourishing .11
ⴱⴱⴱ
.11
ⴱⴱⴱ
Challenge appraisal ¡OBSE .19
ⴱⴱⴱ
.19
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Meaningful work .42
ⴱⴱⴱ
.42
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Flourishing .21
ⴱⴱⴱ
.21
ⴱⴱⴱ
Hindrance appraisal ¡OBSE .35
ⴱⴱⴱ
.35
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Meaningful work .23
ⴱⴱⴱ
.23
ⴱⴱⴱ
¡Flourishing .22
ⴱⴱⴱ
.22
ⴱⴱⴱ
OBSE ¡Flourishing .45
ⴱⴱⴱ
.45
ⴱⴱⴱ
Meaningful work ¡Flourishing .29
ⴱⴱⴱ
.29
ⴱⴱⴱ
Note. OBSE organization-based self-esteem. If the indirect effect is equal to the total effect, only an indirect
effect exists.
ⴱⴱⴱ
t-value 3.29 (p.001).
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7
FLOURISHING ON DEMAND
The study thus contributes to the resources theories of occupa-
tional stress (i.e., JD-R, Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; COR theory,
Hobfoll, 1989) by explaining that challenging demands can result
primarily in challenging appraisals, creating increased resources,
an indirect effect outlined by the transactional theory of stress
(Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).
The demands chosen in the present study were purported to be
challenge demands in earlier studies, studies that did not, however,
assess employees’ actual appraisals of them (Cavanaugh et al.,
2000; Lepine et al., 2005; Stiglbauer, 2018). The present results
showed that actual appraisals are important in determining effects
of demands, because if demands led to challenge appraisals versus
hindrance appraisals, there was a positive effect on the amount of
resources available to the employee. Challenge appraisals (posi-
tively) and hindrance appraisals (negatively) mediated effects of
work demands in relation to employees’ motivational resources
(sense of self-worth and work meaningfulness). This occurred
even though the appraisals were of the whole job rather than of the
specific demands being studied (workload, responsibility, and
learning). Other, unmeasured, characteristics of the jobs could also
have influenced these appraisals; therefore, future research is en-
couraged to use appraisal measures that are more specific to the
demands being studied.
Our results also supported the idea of a spillover effect from
work to life in general (Erdogan et al., 2012; Pierce et al., 2016).
Resources created by positive organizational experiences, OBSE
and meaningful work, were linked to employees experiencing
more flourishing in their lives. Thus, we extended well-being
research by providing evidence that some work demands perceived
as challenges contributed to employees’ flourishing. No previous
studies had specifically examined how challenge demands affected
employees’ flourishing through appraisal and motivation pro-
cesses, but the examination of flourishing is consistent with rec-
ommendations from positive psychology for research on positive
human outcomes regarding stress in the workplace (Luthans, 2002;
Simmons & Nelson, 2007). Our study showed that motivational
resources developed from appraisals contributed to obtaining other
life resources, namely, the features of flourishing: rewarding rela-
tionships, having optimism, and leading a purposeful life (Diener
et al., 2010).
Some previous research found demands like those in the present
study, which are purportedly challenges, are sometimes seen as
hindrances to a lesser extent (Webster et al., 2011). In the present
study, however, they actually tended to be appraised as less hin-
dering; there was a negative relationship between the demands and
hindrance appraisal. We interpret these negative relationships as
strong evidence for our prediction that the demands would be less
positively related to hindrance than to challenge demands, because
a negative coefficient is certainly less positive than a positive one.
We only know of one previous study that found such a negative
relationship of one demand (responsibility) with hindrance ap-
praisal, but it was very weak (Webster et al., 2011). Future re-
search could seek to identify conditions under which the relation-
ship of a demand with challenge versus hindrance appraisals
actually has opposite signs.
Overall, the study’s results supported the view that some work
demands tend to be appraised as challenges and have positive
consequences, highlighting the role of individual appraisals and
resources in achieving a higher level of flourishing. Accordingly,
organizations should understand the significance of shaping work
conditions to enhance meaningful work and self-worth. One way
could be to assign challenging tasks that encourage employees’
experiences of high self-value and competence, as well as a sense
of meaningfulness. In some industries or specific jobs, it may be
difficult to increase the positive types of challenge in the work, but
in those situations, other ways of increasing the meaning of work
or OBSE could be attempted. Based on previous research for
example, meaningfulness tends to be related not only to job re-
sources in motivating job designs (e.g., autonomy and variety;
Hackman & Oldham, 1980; Schaufeli & Taris, 2014) but also to
specific forms of leadership (e.g., empowering leadership; Kim &
Beehr, 2018a). If job design cannot be altered, organizations can
select, train, and reward supervisors for empowering behaviors
toward subordinates, such as encouraging subordinates’ participa-
tion in decision-making, taking charge of their jobs, and develop-
ment of employee skills. Regarding improving employees’ OBSE,
other people, including supervisors, coworkers, and mentors, tend
to be related to favorable self-esteem for employees (Ghosh, Reio,
& Haynes, 2012; Haggard & Park, 2018; Sui & Wang, 2014;
Yang, Zhang, Kwan, & Chen, 2018). Organizations can try to
promote OBSE by not only improving supervision, but also pro-
moting team building and cooperative work behaviors. In addition,
organization-level variables such as organizational justice and
organizational support are related to favorable OBSE (Aryee, Chu,
Kim, & Ryu, 2013; Liu, Luksyte, Zhou, Shi, & Wang, 2015;
Minibas-Poussard, Le Roy, & Erkmen, 2017), so that managers
also can work to be sure fairness and supportive policies are in
place.
Limitations and Directions for Future Research
We used a time-lagged study design to examine the potential
effects of work demands and appraisals on employees’ motiva-
tional resources and flourishing; this research design helped to
reduce common method effects (Podsakoff et al., 2012), and
measurement of the variables in their theoretical causal order
helped strengthen support for the proposed model. The use of
cross-time data lessens the likelihood that reverse-causation could
account for the study’s results, but still stronger causal inference
could be gained from experimental designs.
Additionally, because the correlation between demands and
appraisals was not perfect, there may be additional factors affect-
ing the appraisals, including factors moderating the relationship
between demands and challenge– hindrance appraisals. Such
boundary effects might be found by examining environmental
variables that are often proposed to moderate between stressors
and strains, such as control or social support (Semmer & Beehr,
2014). The reason they might moderate this relationship is that
they might affect appraisals. Supportive others can offer advice
and perspective on demanding situations, which can influence
appraisals, and having control in a work situation can help the
employee take charge and figure out ways to solve problems
caused by specific demands. Future studies are also encouraged to
explore other contextual factors, such as fairness and leadership
styles, for their potential effects in the appraisal process. As an
example, Lepine et al. (2016) found charismatic leadership mod-
erated the relationship between hindrance appraisals and outcomes
among soldiers. Furthermore, empowering leadership focusing on
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8KIM AND BEEHR
motivational support, autonomy, and evoking positive emotions
(Kim, Beehr, & Prewett, 2018) may affect subordinates’ reactions
to challenge and hindrance appraisals, but these are also forms of
potential resources that might help in coping with the potentially
aversive effects of stressors.
Individual differences could also be boundary conditions affect-
ing the relationship between demands and appraisals. One study
found that types of efficacy may moderate relationships between
demands and their appraisals (Liu & Li, 2018). Other personal
moderators may also exist. Regarding workload for example,
employees with greater job skills might not appraise the same
heavy workload to be as challenging as employees with weaker
skills. Future research examining demands and appraisals should
include theoretically important individual differences.
Finally, we note that the approach to measuring appraisals in the
present study was to ask for appraisals of the general tasks of
the employee. Some research has asked employees to appraise the
specific demands in the job (e.g., appraise the workload; Webster
et al., 2011), which is a more specific appraisal and is consistent
with the background of demand– hindrance theory. Nevertheless,
as in previous studies using the more general appraisal method
(Ohly & Fritz, 2010), the present results were interpretable. A
recent review (O’Brien & Beehr, in press) argues that past research
indicates appraisals may not usually be necessary for research
testing demand– hindrance issues, because demands tend to be
appraised similarly within any single culture, where the idio-
graphic differences are small. Nevertheless, we propose that the
results might have been even stronger if more specific appraisals
were obtained.
Conclusion
We proposed and examined the mediating role of individuals’
appraisals in the link of three supposedly challenging demands
with work-related resources and the positive life outcome of flour-
ishing. The three demands, which previous literature tended to
assert were challenges, were serially linked to flourishing through
more challenge appraisal and less hindrance appraisal, followed by
more of the resources OBSE or meaningful work. Drawing on
resources theories of occupational stress, we also showed that
although the stressors or demands are usually thought to result in
loss of energy and resources, some particular types of demands
(workload, responsibility, and learning demands) tend to be indi-
rectly linked to more rather than less of the two resources in the
study.
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(Appendix follows)
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11
FLOURISHING ON DEMAND
Appendix
Specific Mediation Analyses
Figure A1. Graphical depiction of the ordinary least squares mediation model using PROCESS Model 6,
bootstraps 10,000.
ⴱⴱ
p.05.
ⴱⴱⴱ
p.01.
(Appendix continues)
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12 KIM AND BEEHR
(Appendix continues)
Figure A1. (continued)
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13
FLOURISHING ON DEMAND
For additional tests of the mediation hypotheses, PROCESS mod-
eling (Model 6 allowing up to four mediators operating in series;
Hayes, 2013) was used to simultaneously test for mediation
through the two primary appraisals and two resources indepen-
dently, as well as for serial mediation through both variables.
Because of many instances of mediation in the model (12 cases),
we ran many separate analyses with 10,000 bootstrap samples.
Table A1 presents the direct effects and estimates for the indirect
effects with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Graphical depictions
of the mediation models are also provided in Appendix (Figure
A1), showing the 12 two-mediator models in which the predictor
variable (X) is modeled as influencing criterion (Y) through four
pathways. One pathway is indirect and runs from X to Y through
the first mediator (M1) only; a second indirect pathway passes
through both M1 and M2 sequentially, with M1 influencing M2;
and a third indirect path runs through the second mediator (M2)
only (see the right column named path in Table A1). A bias-
corrected 95% CI for the product of these paths that does not
include zero supports evidence of a significant indirect effect
(Preacher & Hayes, 2008).
The results of the serial mediation analyses largely supported
the hypothesized model. First, note that 10 of the 12 indirect
effects from each of the three demands through the four mediators
were significant (i.e., the indirect path did not include zero; see the
entries for the rows labeled “Ind2” in Table A1). This means that
the two mediators fully accounted for the effects of the demand on
flourishing for all but two instances, both involving workload to
flourishing through hindrance appraisals. Second, the direct link
(Appendix continues)
Table A1
Direct and Indirect Effects of the Three Work Demands on Flourishing Through Multiple Mediators
XM1M2Y
Direct effects Indirect effects
(p)ab SE 95% CI ab
cs
path
Workload Challenge appraisal OBSE Flourishing .01 (.73) .06 .02 [.01, .11] .07 Ind1
.07 .01 [.04, .10] .09 Ind2
.04 .02 [.09, .01] .05 Ind3
Meaningful work .02 (.68) .04 .02 [.01, .09] .05 Ind1
.08 .02 [.05, .13] .11 Ind2
.03 .02 [.08, .00] .05 Ind3
Hindrance appraisal OBSE Flourishing .03 (.34) .01 .01 [.00, .04] .02 Ind1
.02 .01 [.01, .04] .02 Ind2
.01 .02 [.03, .05] .01 Ind3
Meaningful work .01 (.79) .02 .01 [.01, .04] .02 Ind1
.01 .01 [.00, .03] .02 Ind2
.03 .02 [.00, .07] .04 Ind3
Responsibility Challenge appraisal OBSE Flourishing .02 (.54) .05 .02 [.01, .09] .07 Ind1
.04 .01 [.02, .07] .06 Ind2
.05 .02 [.00, .10] .07 Ind3
Meaningful work .02 (.52) .03 .02 [.02, .07] .04 Ind1
.07 .01 [.04, .10] .09 Ind2
.00 .02 [.03, .04] .01 Ind3
Hindrance appraisal OBSE Flourishing .01 (.63) .02 .01 [.01, .04] .03 Ind1
.02 .01 [.01, .05] .04 Ind2
.06 .02 [.03, .10] .09 Ind3
Meaningful work .03 (.36) .03 .01 [.01, .05] .04 Ind1
.02 .01 [.01, .04] .02 Ind2
.05 .02 [.02, .08] .07 Ind3
Learning demands Challenge appraisal OBSE Flourishing .00 (.94) .06 .03 [.01, .12] .07 Ind1
.08 .02 [.05, .11] .09 Ind2
.05 .03 [.10, .00] .05 Ind3
Meaningful work .06 (.21) .05 .03 [.00, .11] .06 Ind1
.08 .02 [.05, .12] .10 Ind2
.01 .02 [.02, .05] .01 Ind3
Hindrance appraisal OBSE Flourishing .03 (.36) .03 .01 [.01, .06] .04 Ind1
.05 .01 [.02, .08] .06 Ind2
.02 .02 [.06, .03] .02 Ind3
Meaningful work .04 (.27) .05 .01 [.02, .08] .06 Ind1
.03 .10 [.01, .05] .03 Ind2
.06 .02 [.02, .11] .07 Ind3
Note. Xa predictor; M1 and M2 mediators; Y an outcome; ␤⫽c=(direct effect); ab estimated indirect effect; SE bootstrap standard error;
CI confidence interval; ab
cs
completely standardized indirect effect; Ind1 X¡M1¡Y; Ind2 X¡M1¡M2 ¡Y; Ind3 X¡M2 ¡Y.
ab,SE, and 95% CIs were obtained from 10,000 bootstrap samples.
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14 KIM AND BEEHR
between each of the three predictors (work demands) and the
criterion (flourishing) was not significant after the serial medi-
ators were entered in the model (see the entries for the column
“Direct effects (p)” in Table A1). This means that there were
no direct effects of the demands on flourishing. The model’s
mediation effects were therefore largely supported by PRO-
CESS analyses.
In addition to the key effects noted above, the results include all
other links in the models, a total of 60 links. As an example, the
first row of Table A1 tests the path from workload leading to
challenge appraisal (M1) and then to flourishing; note that this
ignores both the model’s second set of mediators, the resources
(M2) and hindrance appraisal (M1). In the first row of Table A1,
the direct effect from workload to flourishing was not significant,
c=⫽⫺.01, p.73, but the indirect effect of workload on
flourishing through challenge appraisal alone (ind1) was signifi-
cant, ab .06, 95% CI [.01, .11]. We summarize only a few of
these 60 effects here, in addition to the key ones already noted.
Each of the three work demands showed different indirect effects
depending on the four mediators, but some main conclusions are as
follows: Indirect effects of workload on flourishing were mediated
through challenge but maybe not through hindrance appraisals.
Indirect effects of both responsibility and learning demands were
mediated through both challenge and hindrance appraisals. Al-
though there were significant and positive relations of OBSE and
meaningful work with flourishing, there was no evidence that
either OBSE or meaningful work alone served as a mediator
between two demands (responsibility and learning demands) and
flourishing (the 95% CIs include zero; see Table A1).
Received July 19, 2018
Revision received March 25, 2019
Accepted April 5, 2019
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15
FLOURISHING ON DEMAND
... Within the literature strand of the challenge-hindrance framework, such differential effects are commonly depicted by drawing on the concepts of work engagement (e.g., Crawford et al., 2010;J. A. LePine et al., 2005) and self-esteem (e.g., Kern et al., 2021;Kim & Beehr, 2020;Widmer et al., 2012). While the former represents a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind which is characterized by vigor (i.e., high levels of energy while working), dedication (i.e., being strongly involved in one's work, experiencing significance and enthusiasm), and absorption (i.e., being fully immersed in one's work; Schaufeli et al., 2006), the latter refers to one's positive self-evaluation (Semmer, Jacobshagen et al., 2007) and represents a high personal goal for most individuals (Leary, 1999;Semmer, Jacobshagen et al., 2007). ...
... Empirical evidence supports the classification of complexity and responsibility as challenge demands. Next to reporting positive relationships with employee strain (e.g., Kunzelmann & Rigotti, 2021), studies also found positive relationships with work engagement (e.g., Christian et al., 2011;Karatepe et al., 2014), self-esteem (e.g., Kim & Beehr, 2020), thriving (e.g., Kunzelmann & Rigotti, 2021;Prem et al., 2017), or resilience (e.g., Kunzelmann & Rigotti, 2021). In contrast, as outlined earlier, time pressure's classification as a challenge demand has been controversially discussed, considering that researchers consistently report a straining effect (e.g., Crawford et al., 2010;Prem et al., 2018); however, relationship patterns with outcomes such as work engagement (e.g., Baethge et al., 2018;Schaufeli et al., 2008) or self-esteem (e.g., Kim & Beehr, 2020;Widmer et al., 2012) are diverse and may be positive, nonsignificant, or negative. ...
... Next to reporting positive relationships with employee strain (e.g., Kunzelmann & Rigotti, 2021), studies also found positive relationships with work engagement (e.g., Christian et al., 2011;Karatepe et al., 2014), self-esteem (e.g., Kim & Beehr, 2020), thriving (e.g., Kunzelmann & Rigotti, 2021;Prem et al., 2017), or resilience (e.g., Kunzelmann & Rigotti, 2021). In contrast, as outlined earlier, time pressure's classification as a challenge demand has been controversially discussed, considering that researchers consistently report a straining effect (e.g., Crawford et al., 2010;Prem et al., 2018); however, relationship patterns with outcomes such as work engagement (e.g., Baethge et al., 2018;Schaufeli et al., 2008) or self-esteem (e.g., Kim & Beehr, 2020;Widmer et al., 2012) are diverse and may be positive, nonsignificant, or negative. ...
Article
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This study aims at resolving the inconsistent findings regarding the effects of time pressure on work engagement and personal resources by considering time pressure’s qualitative sources. Specifically, using the notion of statistical suppression, we argue that qualitative challenge and hindrance demands operate as suppressor variables and thus determine whether time pressure itself exerts a challenging or hindering potential. To test our assumptions, we conducted a daily diary study over the course of one workweek in a sample of 396 employees. We tested our hypotheses at the day-level. Results of multilevel structural equation modeling revealed that when controlling for qualitative challenge demands, time pressure positively related to exhaustion, but negatively related to work engagement and self-esteem. Suppression was significant. In contrast, when controlling for qualitative hindrance demands, time pressure was unrelated to work engagement, negatively related to self-esteem, and positively related to exhaustion, whereby qualitative hindrance demands did not act as a suppressor variable at the day-level. Additional analyses revealed that qualitative challenge and hindrance demands operated as suppressor variables at the person-level. In summary, when qualitative challenge demands were controlled for, time pressure operated as a hindrance demand. Yet, when qualitative hindrance demands were controlled for, time pressure operated as a challenge demand at the person-level. Our findings outline the need to account for the quality of work when assessing time pressure’s effects and further highlight the relevance of suppressor variables within the field of occupational health psychology.
... (2010) states that two resources that are considered in this line are (1) Employees' belief of their worthiness as an organisational member (organisation based self-esteem) and (2) The degree to which employees' view their work as significant and worthwhile (meaningful work). This is also supported by the following theories: Job demand -resources model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007); conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 1989) and appraisal & resources model (Kim & Beehr, 2020). When employees' carry these two beliefs related to themselves and their work, they are able to exercise the challenge appraisal leading to positive affect and experiences in contrast to the hindrance appraisal where they experience psychological strain. ...
... judging or appraising the challenges/stressors/demands as a challenging form of demand or a hindrance form of demand.Extant literature shows that challenge demands containing potential gains are sometimes more related to positive outcomes such as motivation, work engagement, organisational citizenship behaviour and organisational based self-esteem.Kim & Beehr (2020) argue that appraising a stressor as a challenge demand can lead to good effects in the form of employee flourishing because challenge appraisals lead more directly to personal and environmental resources that can help employees deal with job situations creating a motivation to move forward. Bakker & Demerouri (2014) state that accumulat ...
... Further experimental research byDweck & Leggett (1988) argued that the type of mindset carried by individuals leads to the type of goals set which causes individuals to function differently when faced with challenging situations. In this context,Kim & Beehr (2020) argue that difference in the type of appraisal of demands or stresses in the job lead to difference in the nature of employee work output and performance. Challenge appraisal is a positive form of appraisal in comparison with hindrance appraisal which is seen as a negative form of appraisal leading to withdraw from preforming tasks. ...
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Structured Abstract: Purpose Theoretical application on a case narrative of a services sector employee to find the underlying psychological process leading to employee experiences of workplace suffering, estrangement and alienation. Method Two-part theory-based method to analyse the situation of concern and to derive a remedy. Research limitation and Implication The model/theory of Dweck & Leggett, 1988 was initially based on children in school settings but the theory is validated for its generality beyond time and across challenging situations. Hence it is applied here to study adaptive behaviour and optimal functioning among employees. Practical Implication The study provides enlightenment for aggrieved employees, inquisitive to know, reflect and improve their workplace behaviour and functioning. The study aims to facilitate early-career counsellors and practitioners to engage, re-train and re-orient employees estranged and alienated from work towards a sense of self-worth and work meaningfulness leading to positive workplace functioning and a desired state of well-being. Social Implication The study aims for business organisations to realize in their human resource practices, the theme of the fifth industrial revolution which focuses on humanism, inclusiveness, purpose, civility and creativity whereby limiting loss of talent and livelihood. Originality/Value Employee experience is captured as a re-telling/case narrative. Scientific theory-based analysis was adopted to address the case narrative. The study is placed in an interpretive paradigm with the dimensions of the philosophy of knowledge explained to guide the study. Keywords: Mindset, Goal orientation, Employee experience, Organisation-based self-esteem, Meaningfulness of work, Well-being, Case narrative. Type of Paper: Case study
... Value factor was expected to correlate positively with the full OMS. (Chattopadhyay & George, 2001;Kim & Beehr, 2019;Pierce et al., 1989). This instrument measures an individual's perceptions of self-worth as an employee in their organization. ...
Thesis
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Mattering, defined as synergistic experiences of feeling valued and adding value, is a psychosocial construct with underappreciated pragmatic potential. It has explanatory relevance across disciplines, domains of life, and social contexts. It is also both parsimonious and far-reaching in uniting areas of concern relevant to community psychologists and the needs, values, and goals of diverse communities. Nevertheless, it has received limited attention in the community psychology (CP) literature. This dissertation will develop and provide empirical support for an ecological understanding of mattering suited to community research and practice. Empirical support is furnished in three studies using large, representative U.S. samples. The first evaluates a novel multidimensional measure of mattering (MIDLS), providing evidence of MIDLS’ validity as a bifactor measure of general and domain-specific mattering. The second study provides evidence of differences between demographic groups in domain-specific mattering. Finally, covariance-based structural equation modeling (CB-SEM) is used to assess the relationships between multidimensional mattering, fairness, and well-being in six life domains. Findings suggest that mattering fully mediates the relationship between fairness and well-being for all domains investigated except economic well-being. Taken together, these studies show that mattering can be conceived and assessed in multidimensional terms; that doing so can yield novel insights; and that mattering has unique value as an organizing construct which helps map the relationship between key community psychology values and outcomes. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of key limitations and implications as well as next steps for a program of research which can actualize the pragmatic potential of multidimensional mattering for community research and practice.
... In other words, psychological flourishing relates to not only personal pleasure, but also fulfilment of self-achievement in life, as well as one's positive contribution to others and the society . Inevitably, work and its related factors, such as work demands (Kim & Beehr, 2020) and workplace relationships (Colbert et al., 2016), influence employees' psychological flourishing, but further research that identifies factors that promote psychological flourishing and those mechanisms underlying their effects is warranted in order to inform effective interventions designed to promote wellbeing among employees. ...
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... This study also provides insights regarding how to conceptualize these disruptions. The results showing that disruptions of work positively affect meaningful work, for both the essential and the non-essential worker, imply that disruptions can be viewed as challenges providing opportunities to demonstrate competence, achievement, and gain meaningfulness (Kim & Beehr, 2020). Meaningfulness may be particularly triggered in situations (such as during the COVID-19 crisis) where employees are facing challenges that provide opportunity for learning, high achievement, and future gains. ...
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This study examines the implications of categorizing workers into essential and non-essential groups due to disruptions in work associated with—and the quality of organizational change communication about—the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we examine how these cues trigger identity threats and influence the meaningfulness of work, consequently affecting the mental health of workers (anxiety, distress, and depression). The results show that change communication reduces identity threat, while also increasing meaningfulness of work, for both work categories. However, the disruptions increase identity threat only for non-essential workers. Conversely, identity threat increases two of the three mental health issues while meaningfulness of work reduces two of them. The study contributes to our growing understanding of the pervasive, though subtle, implications of COVID-19 for the workplace by showing how a process of employee sensemaking and organizational change communication directly and indirectly influence important dimensions of mental health.
... By emphasising how certain individual experiences coincide with circumstances in the individual's environment, stress is conceived as a personal experience which may extend beyond the presence of objective stress factors (Warr, 2007) and into the individual's interpretation of the situation (Kim & Beehr, 2020;Ursin & Eriksen, 2004). This means that an individual's feelings of stress and wellbeing are affected by situational demands which exceed the 'stress threshold' experienced by the individual (Lazarus, 1966(Lazarus, , 1999Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) such as the onset and offset of job tension, workplace engagement, work-family conflict and other stressful events (Hochwarter et al., 2007;Pieper & Brosschot, 2005). ...
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