Workgroup Prof. Dr. Rigotti

Individual and contextual moderators for the relationship of stressor-/resources profiles with well-being, and health

How stressors and resources interact is part of the Job-Demands-Resources-Modell (JD-R, Bakker & Demerouti, 2007). Direct effects are postulated to exist from stressors to strain (called health impairment path), and from resources to motivational gains (motivational path). The JD-R model in addition postulates an interaction effect of stressors and resources; resources should buffer the negative effects of stressors on strain, and stressors (or demands) can enhance positive effects of resources on motivation. Job demands like time- and performance pressure have been shown to be – at least in the short run - positively related to motivational gains, and job performance when enough resources are given (Lepine, Podsakoff & Lepine, 2005; Widmer, Semmer, Kälin, Jacobshagen & Meier, 2012). But even then, stressors keep their health impairment potential. These differential effects of stressors have been labelled “challenge” vs. “hindrance”-stressors. Whereas the general propositions of the JD-R model are well supported in the empirical literature, we still know relatively little about the dynamic processes that evolve over time. Among others, Roe (2008) claimed that psychological research is dealing to much with the question “what is?” instead of asking “what happens?”.

Resilience can be defined as the coping capabilities of a system dealing with changes and problems. Thus, changes over time are part of the resilience definition. Taking a systemic perspective, it gets clear that not only personal resources, but also contextual resources should play an important role in the stressor-strain relationship. An important, yet unanswered, question is how sequences of changing stressors and resources impact the health and well-being of employees. Using an experimental design, De Jong and Rigotti (2014) could show that responses to positive and negative events (here: breaches, and fulfilment of promises) differ dependent on the sequence of events. They could find evidence for habituation effects (in sequences of positive events), sensitization (in sequences of negative events), as well as order-effects. Whether these results generalize to sequences of changing stressors and resources is an open question. It could be expected that a loss spiral (increasing stressors and decreasing resources over time) leads to stronger (negative) effects, as opposed to a gain spiral. Even within the period of a working day, such effects might be apparent (cf., Baethge, Rigotti & Roe, 2015).

Stress is not a static phenomenon, but develops in an ongoing interaction of internal and external factors (Lazarus & Launier, 1982). It can be assumed that dynamic processes of stress are again contingent upon internal and external time-variant, as well as time-invariant aspects. Using latent growth mixture modeling (Nylund, Asparouhov & Muthén, 2007) clusters representing different time series can be modeled. These clusters can be tested for differences according to health-, and well-being. The aim of the dissertation project is to model individual dynamic profiles of changing stressors and resources in relation to well-being. As a dynamic setting, organizational change processes could be an option. Organizational restructuring has been shown to be a severe stressor for employees (e.g., Datta Guthrie, Basuil, & Pandey, 2010; Rigotti, Otto & Köper, 2014). Changes in work related stressors and resources are also likely when looking at career transitions (Rigotti, Korek & Otto, 2014). Diary studies can be used to model dynamic processes in shorter time frames (cf. Baethge & Rigotti, 2013), and longitudinal designs with several points of measurement for longer time frames.

Selected References

Baethge, A. & Rigotti, T. (2013). Interruptions to workflow: Their relationship with irritation and satisfaction with performance, and the mediating roles of time pressure and mental demands. Work & Stress, 27, 43-63. doi: 10.1080/02678373.2013.761783

Baethge, A., Rigotti, T., & Roe, R. (2015). Just More of the Same, or Different? An Integrative Theoretical Framework for the Study of Cumulative Interruptions at Work. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24, 308-323. doi: 10.1080/1359432X.2014.897943

De Jong, J. P., & Rigotti, T. (2014). How sequences of breached and fulfilled obligations impact employee outcomes. Academy of Management Conference Best Paper Proceedings 2014, 912-917. doi: 10.5465/AMBPP.2014.108

Rigotti, T., Korek, S., & Otto, K. (2014). Gains and losses related to career transitions within otganisations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84, 177-178. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2013.12.006