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It’s so boring – or is it? Examining the role of mindfulness for work performance and attitudes in monotonous jobs

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Abstract

We examine the role of employee mindfulness in the context of highly monotonous work conditions. Integrating research on task monotony with theorizing on mindfulness, we hypothesized that mindfulness is negatively associated with the extent to which employees feel generally bored by their jobs. We further hypothesized that this lower employee boredom would relate to downstream outcomes in the form of job attitudes (job satisfaction and turnover intentions) and task performance. We examined both objective task performance quality and quantity to shed light on the complexity of the mindfulness-task performance relation, which has so far mostly been investigated using subjective supervisor ratings. In a sample of 174 blue-collar workers in a Mexican company, results showed that employee mindfulness was negatively related to boredom. Further, mindfulness was positively related to job satisfaction and negatively to turnover intentions, partly mediated through boredom. Mindfulness turned out to be a double-edged sword for task performance in monotonous jobs: mindfulness was positively related to task performance quality but negatively related to quantity.

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... There is limited research that shows the indirect relationship between mindfulness and commitment in employees who perform monotonous and routine tasks. Extant research proves that in employees performing monotonous jobs boredom mediates the relationship between mindfulness and job attitude (Wihler et al., 2022). Therefore, this mediation may also be expected in the relationship between mindfulness and employees' commitment. ...
... However, there is limited research that shows the effect of mindfulness on the employees' commitment. Extant research suggests that mindfulness is positively linked to many positive outcomes at work like engagement, satisfaction, job performance and mental health (Johnson et al., 2020;Wihler et al., 2022). Therefore, it may be believed that there is a positive relationship between mindfulness and organizational commitment. ...
... Therefore, it may be believed that mindful employees may feel less bored because of the stability, control and efficiency of their attention. Wihler et al. (2022), also highlight the negative effect of mindfulness on boredom by explaining the nature of information processing related to mindfulness. They contend that mindfulness enhances experiential information processing which directs attention to the present in contrast to conceptual information processing in which thoughts dominate attention. ...
Article
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Purpose This paper aims to show the direct and indirect effects of mindfulness on the employees’ commitment in the employees who perform monotonous work. Moreover, it also shows the role of basic psychological needs proposed by self-determination theory (SDT), on the relationship between mindfulness and commitment. Design/methodology/approach This paper has used a time-lagged approach. Data has been collected from the nurses in public sector hospitals through a survey strategy. Structural equation modeling has been used to validate the measure and to test the hypotheses. Findings The results of thi study reveal that there is a positive relationship between mindfulness and employee affective organizational commitment. This study also shows that in the existence of a high level of autonomy, mindfulness does have more effect on commitment. Moreover, this study also shows that this relationship is mediated by employee boredom. However, this mediation is not moderated by the satisfaction of the need for autonomy. Practical implications This study serves as a guide for frontline managers in situations where they want their subordinates who perform monotonous and boring work to remain committed to the organization. This study also emphasizes the recruitment of employees who may show more trait mindfulness. Originality/value This study enriches the literature in the field of organizational behavior by showing how basic psychological needs proposed by SDT collaborate with mindfulness in producing employees’ positive attitudes.
... There is limited research that shows the indirect relationship between mindfulness and commitment in employees who perform monotonous and routine tasks. Extant research proves that in employees performing monotonous jobs boredom mediates the relationship between mindfulness and job attitude (Wihler et al., 2022). Therefore, this mediation may also be expected in the relationship between mindfulness and employees' commitment. ...
... However, there is limited research that shows the effect of mindfulness on the employees' commitment. Extant research suggests that mindfulness is positively linked to many positive outcomes at work like engagement, satisfaction, job performance and mental health (Johnson et al., 2020;Wihler et al., 2022). Therefore, it may be believed that there is a positive relationship between mindfulness and organizational commitment. ...
... Therefore, it may be believed that mindful employees may feel less bored because of the stability, control and efficiency of their attention. Wihler et al. (2022), also highlight the negative effect of mindfulness on boredom by explaining the nature of information processing related to mindfulness. They contend that mindfulness enhances experiential information processing which directs attention to the present in contrast to conceptual information processing in which thoughts dominate attention. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This paper aims to show the direct and indirect effects of mindfulness on the employees’ commitment in the employees who perform monotonous work. Moreover, it also shows the role of basic psychological needs proposed by self-determination theory (SDT), on the relationship between mindfulness and commitment. Design/methodology/approach This paper has used a time-lagged approach. Data has been collected from the nurses in public sector hospitals through a survey strategy. Structural equation modeling has been used to validate the measure and to test the hypotheses. Findings The results of thi study reveal that there is a positive relationship between mindfulness and employee affective organizational commitment. This study also shows that in the existence of a high level of autonomy, mindfulness does have more effect on commitment. Moreover, this study also shows that this relationship is mediated by employee boredom. However, this mediation is not moderated by the satisfaction of the need for autonomy. Practical implications This study serves as a guide for frontline managers in situations where they want their subordinates who perform monotonous and boring work to remain committed to the organization. This study also emphasizes the recruitment of employees who may show more trait mindfulness. Originality/value This study enriches the literature in the field of organizational behavior by showing how basic psychological needs proposed by SDT collaborate with mindfulness in producing employees’ positive attitudes.
... Most of the mindfulness studies were done among white-collar employees as their jobs involve various skills and interpersonal interaction (Wihler et al., 2022). The sample was composed of 193 white-collar employees working in İstanbul. ...
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Mindfulness techniques, having long played an important role in contemplative traditions around the world, are now recognized as having the potential to transform workplaces. As interest in the role of mindfulness in organizational settings continues to increase, this timely book fills a gap in the literature by providing an overview of the latest theoretical and empirical research on workplace mindfulness. It brings together world-leading scholars to explore the foundations, key discussions, diversity of approaches and applications of mindfulness in organizations. It acts as a catalyst for future research on the topic by suggesting research directions and stimulating organizational researchers to embark on new projects involving mindfulness. Furthermore, it provides valuable ideas for implementing mindfulness programs in organizations, for teaching mindfulness in business contexts, and for coaching with mindfulness. This must-read book will appeal to researchers and professionals in the fields of organizational behavior, organizational psychology and employee well-being.
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Due to its potential to concurrently improve work-related wellbeing (WRW) and job performance, occupational stakeholders are becoming increasingly interested in the applications of meditation. The present study conducted the first randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of meditation on outcomes relating to both WRW and job performance. Office-based middle-hierarchy managers (n = 152) received an eight-week meditation intervention (Meditation Awareness Training; MAT) or an active control intervention. MAT participants demonstrated significant and sustainable improvements (with strong effect sizes) over control-group participants in levels of work-related stress, job satisfaction, psychological distress, and employer-rated job performance. There are a number of novel implications: (i) meditation can effectuate a perceptual shift in how employees experience their work and psychological environment and may thus constitute a cost-effective WRW intervention, (ii) meditation-based (i.e., present-moment-focussed) working styles may be more effective than goal-based (i.e., future-orientated) working styles, and (iii) meditation may reduce the separation made by employees between their own interests and those of the organizations they work for.
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Background Mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to be effective in treating depression and reducing cognitive biases. Anxiety sensitivity is one cognitive bias that may play a role in the association between mindfulness and depressive symptoms. It refers to an enhanced sensitivity toward symptoms of anxiety, with a belief that these are harmful. Currently, little is known about the mechanisms underpinning the association between mindfulness, depression, and anxiety sensitivity. The aim of this study was to examine the role of genetic and environmental factors in trait mindfulness, and its genetic and environmental overlap with depressive symptoms and anxiety sensitivity.Methods Over 2,100 16-year-old twins from a population-based study rated their mindfulness, depressive symptoms, and anxiety sensitivity.ResultsTwin modeling analyses revealed that mindfulness is 32% heritable and 66% due to nonshared environmental factors, with no significant influence of shared environment. Genetic influences explained over half of the moderate phenotypic associations between low mindfulness, depressive symptoms, and anxiety sensitivity. About two-thirds of genetic influences and almost all nonshared environmental influences on mindfulness were independent of depression and anxiety sensitivity.Conclusions This is the first study to show that both genes and environment play an important role in the etiology of mindfulness in adolescence. Future research should identify the specific environmental factors that influence trait mindfulness during development to inform targeted treatment and resilience interventions. Shared genetic liability underpinning the co-occurrence of low mindfulness, depression, and anxiety sensitivity suggests that the biological pathways shared between these traits should also be examined.
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In this research, we examined the role of mindfulness for recovery from work using a daily diary design (N = 121; 5 days; 3 measurement occasions per day). The first goal of the study was to investigate the relationship of mindfulness with sleep quality and the mediating role of psychological detachment from a day-level perspective. A second goal was to extend the process perspective in recovery research beyond the day level and consider systematic change trajectories in recovery variables over the course of the work week and the role of mindfulness in these trajectories. Results regarding day-level relationships confirmed that mindfulness experienced during work was related to subsequent sleep quality, and this relationship was mediated by psychological detachment from work in the evening. Furthermore, an investigation of the role of mindfulness in recovery change trajectories supported the idea that psychological detachment trajectories increase over the work week for individuals low on mindfulness while there was no systematic mean-level change for individuals high on mindfulness. In contrast, sleep quality followed a linear increase from Monday to Friday for all individuals, irrespective of their levels of trait mindfulness. Practical and theoretical implications for the mindfulness and the recovery literature are discussed in conclusion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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Organizational theory and research has increased attention to the determinants and consequences of attention in organizations. Attention is not, however, a unitary concept but is used differently in various metatheories: the behavioral theory of the firm, managerial cognition, issue selling, attention-based view, and ecology. At the level of the brain, neuroscientists have identified three varieties of attention: selective attention, executive attention, and vigilance. Attention is shaped by both top-down (i.e., schema-driven) and bottom-up (i.e., stimulus-driven) processes. Inspired by neuroscience research, I classify and compare three varieties of attention studied in organization science: attentional perspective (top-down), attentional engagement (combining top-down and bottom-up executive attention and vigilance), and attentional selection (the outcome of attentional processes). Based on research findings, I develop five propositions on how the varieties of attention in organization provide a theoretical alternative to theories of structural determinism or strategic choice, with a particular focus on the role of attention in explaining organizational adaptation and change.
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Although the concept of mindfulness has attracted scholarly attention across multiple disciplines, research on mindfulness in the field of management remains limited. In particular, little research in this field has examined the nature of mindfulness and whether it relates to task performance in organizational and occupational settings. Filling these gaps, the present article delineates mindfulness by (a) defining it as a state of consciousness in which attention is focused on present-moment phenomena occurring both externally and internally, (b) comparing it to a range of other attention-related concepts, and (c) developing theory concerning the factors that determine when mindfulness is beneficial versus costly from a task performance standpoint.
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Although quasi-experiments can facilitate causal inferences by combining good internal validity with high external validity, organizational scholars underutilize them. In this article, the authors aim to encourage the novel use of quasi-experimentation by identifying five of its key benefits: (a) strengthening causal inference when random assignment and controlled manipulation are not possible or ethical; (b) building better theories of time and temporal progression; (c) minimizing ethical dilemmas of harm, inequity, paternalism, and deception; (d) facilitating collaboration with practitioners; and (e) using context to explain conflicting findings. We offer advice and illustrative examples to guide future research, and provide recommendations for gaining access to organizations to open doors for collaborating on quasi-experiments.
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Little is known about temporal trends in the intensification of work in America, or its determinants. This study analyzed two representative samples of the American labor force, and found that the pace of work increased significantly between 1977 and 1997. In a decomposition analysis, two-thirds of the increase in work intensification was attributable to objective economic changes, in particular job complexity and the length of work schedules. Future research should further explore the role of technology in quickening the pace of work, but not ignore the possibility that the demands of family life also affect perceptions of work intensification.
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Past studies in U.S. work organizations have supported a model derived from self-determination theory in which autonomy-supportive work climates predict satisfaction of the intrinsic needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness, which in turn predict task motivation and psychological adjustment on the job. To test this model cross-culturally, the authors studied employees of state-owned companies in Bulgaria, a country that has traditionally had a central-planning economy, a totalitarian political system, and collectivist values. A sample from a privately owned American corporation was used for comparison purposes. Results using structural equation modeling suggested that the model fit the data from each country, that the constructs were equivalent across countries, and that some paths of the structural model fit equivalently for the two countries but that county moderated the other paths.