Psychological costs and benefits of work restructuring

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationAcademic


    Purpose: In this study, we proposed and empirically tested two processes evolving from work restructuring. We argue that work restructuring can simultaneously operate as a challenge and a hindrance stressor, and therefore can impact employee outcomes in two ways, through a motivational and an energy-depletion process. The motivational process involves employees’ perception of work restructuring as a situation of increased demands for learning; learning demands in turn will enhance employees’ learning outcomes. The energy-depletion process involves employees’ appraisal of work restructuring as a situation entailing insecurity regarding valuable job aspects (i.e. qualitative job insecurity), which in turn can negatively impact employee well-being (i.e. emotional exhaustion). Design/Methodology: A two-wave design was used to test the study’s hypotheses on a heterogeneous sample of 1366 Dutch wage earners. Data were analyzed with structural equation modeling. Results: As expected, work restructuring predicted learning demands and qualitative job insecurity, which in turn significantly related to learning outcomes. The predictors were unrelated to emotional exhaustion. Limitations: Self-reports; choice of time lags. Implications: Tackling qualitative job insecurity may be particularly important for innovative organizations in order to maintain high learning performance of their employees in times of restructuring. Originality/Value: The current study answers earlier calls for more empirical evidence regarding the effects of hindrance and challenge stressors on employee learning and well-being. Moreover, considering that existing research in this area is predominantly cross-sectional, the two-wave design of the study allowed us to assess the hypothesized effects over time.
    Period21 May 2015
    Event title17th congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology : Respectful and effective leadership: Managing people and organizations in turbulent times
    Event typeConference
    LocationOslo, Norway
    Degree of RecognitionInternational