Work Overload

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CURRENT RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Volume 13, No. 8 Submitted: April 19, 2007 First Revision: October 24, 2007 Second Revision: November 2, 2007 Third Revision: December 10, 2007 Accepted: December 16, 2007 Published: December 16, 2007

EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL REACTIONS TO WORK OVERLOAD: SELF-EFFICACY AS A MODERATOR Olugbenga Jelil. Ladebo Joseph Mubo. Awotunde University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria ABSTRACT This study examined the main and interactive effects of work overload and self-efficacy on emotional exhaustion and job performance of extension personnel in Southwest Nigeria (N = 156). Results of moderated multiple regression analyses indicate positive relation between work overload and emotional exhaustion and not with job performance; and efficacy beliefs is positively associated with job performance. The interaction term between efficacy beliefs and work overload is unrelated to emotional exhaustion and job performance as hypothesized. The implications of findings are discussed.


Current Research in Social Psychology (Vol. 13, No. 8)

(Ladebo & Awotunde)

INTRODUCTION The literature on occupational stress and emotional exhaustion indicates that stress is a constituent of modern organizations and it would remain a constant phenomenon in the workplace (Sikora, Beaty, & Forward, 2004; Vigoda, 2000). Sikora et al. (2004) suggest that daily demands in the workplace are a constant challenge to the assimilative and adaptive capabilities of employees. Thus, an employee, who is overtaxed and unable to cope with environmental demands, would develop stress reactions or emotional exhaustion, which in turn, will adversely affect the employee’s job performance. To promote an understanding of employee and organizational wellbeing, recent research trend focuses on emotional exhaustion and job performance as separate responses to environmental demands (Bluen, Barling, & Burns, 1990; Chambel & Curral, 2005). Other studies examined the effect of emotional exhaustion on employee performance indicating that emotionally exhausted employees perform poorly on the job (Cropanzano, Rupp, & Byrne, 2003; Shirom, Nirel, & Vinokur, 2006; Witt, Andrews, & Carlson, 2004). Further, empirical evidence indicates that emotional exhaustion could be a causal mechanism effecting performance decrement in employees (Bakker, Demerouti, & Verbeke, 2004). Therefore, there is need for continuing research to understand the processes underlying the development of emotional exhaustion and decrement in employees' performance. Emotional exhaustion being a core constituent of burnout refers to a chronic state of feeling that a person's emotional resources are overtaxed or depleted in attempts to meet job demands. It is internally consistent, stable overtime, and is responsive to work stress (Shirom, 2003). Emotional exhaustion may be considered as an immediate response gap between environmental pressures and available resources (Leiter, 1991). The construct exhibits stronger relations to important outcomes and is important in mediating the effects of other burnout components of cynicism and personal accomplishment (professional efficacy) (Lee & Ashforth, 1996). Empirical evidence provides support that an emotionally exhausted employee is weakly committed to supervisor and organization, considers quitting, performs poorly on the job, and is unwilling to engage in organization citizenship behaviors (Cropanzano et al., 2003). For the organization, the consequences of emotional exhaustion are significant, as it leads to increased withdrawal behaviors, and reduced job performance (Lee & Ashforth, 1996; Shirom, 2003). However, job performance refers to the duties and responsibilities that are executed as part of an individual's job assignments (Vigoda, 2000). Past studies have conceptualized job performance as comprising quality and quantity of tasks accomplished. Individuals suffering from...
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