Boredom at Work: A systematic review of the causes and consequences of work-related boredom

Edwin A.J. Van Hooft, Madelon L.M. Van Hooff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In contemporary workplaces, it is not uncommon that employees experience boredom. Work-related boredom is a profound negative and often deactivating activity-related emotional state, implying that employees experience a negative intrinsic value regarding their work. In this chapter, we will position work-related boredom as a distinct construct within the broader employee well-being literature. Using motivational and affect theories, we describe how boredom at work may lead to negative consequences. Based on a systematic literature review, we discuss the empirical evidence for the negative consequences that work-related boredom has for both the individual employee and the organization (i.e., mental ill health, low job satisfaction, reduced motivation, lower job performance, more counterproductive work behavior, distraction, and withdrawal). We further systematically review the causes of boredom, distinguishing between personal (i.e., age, personality, work commitment, job crafting), job-related (low challenge demands, high hindrance demands, low job resources, and low person–job fit), and social antecedents of work-related boredom (i.e., low social support, high social tension). Finally, we outline suggestions for future research and discuss implications for practice (both for individual employees and organizations).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Boredom
EditorsMaik Bieleke, Wanja Wolff , Corinna Martarelli
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781040018231
ISBN (Print)9781032221861
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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