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The bright side of the coin: Enlarging the stressor perspective on overqualification with a resource perspective

English title The bright side of the coin: Enlarging the stressor perspective on overqualification with a resource perspective
Applicant Debus Maike Elisabeth
Number 156537
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.10.2015 - 30.06.2021
Approved amount 255'075.00
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Keywords (3)

resources; overqualification; job stressors

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Lead: Überqualifizierung bezeichnet die Situation, in der eine Person mehr Kenntnisse, Fähigkeiten und Erfahrung besitzt, als sie eigentlich für ihre Arbeitsstelle benötigt. Bisherige Forschung betrachtete Überqualifizierung vor allem als Stressor, der mit negativen Konsequenzen assoziiert ist (z.B. verringerte Arbeitszufriedenheit und Gesundheit, höhere Wechselabsicht). Im vorliegenden Projekt untersuchen wir das Phänomen Überqualifizierung aus einer Ressourcenperspektive.
Lay summary

Ziele des Forschungsprojekts: Ziel des Projektes ist es zum einen, herauszufinden, inwiefern Überqualifizierung eine Ressource darstellen kann, d.h. unter welchen Umständen Überqualifizierung mit positiven Konsequenzen assoziiert ist. Zum anderen untersuchen wir, welche Strategien Organisationen anwenden können, um das Potential überqualifizierter Mitarbeiter optimal zu nutzen und diese Personengruppe optimal zu fördern. Insgesamt werden wir drei Studien durchführen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts: Arbeitslosigkeit und prekäre Arbeitsverhältnisse zählen seit einigen Jahren zu den grossen Problemen der heutigen Arbeitswelt. Auch wenn Personen eine Arbeitsstelle innehaben, kann es daher sein, dass ihr Potential nicht voll genutzt wird – d.h. sie sind überqualifiziert. Wir untersuchen daher, wie sowohl Betroffene als auch Organisationen am besten mit dieser Situation umgehen können, und wann Überqualifizierung sogar einen Vorteil darstellen kann.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 16.07.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The Power of Doing: How Job Crafting Transmits the Beneficial Impact of Autonomy Among Overqualified Employees
Debus Maike E., Gross Christian, Kleinmann Martin (2020), The Power of Doing: How Job Crafting Transmits the Beneficial Impact of Autonomy Among Overqualified Employees, in Journal of Business and Psychology, 35, 317-331.
Überqualifizierung im Kontext organisationaler Karrieren
Debus Maike E., Körner Barbara (2018), Überqualifizierung im Kontext organisationaler Karrieren, in Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Organisationspsychologie (GIO), 49(1), 34-41.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Sabine Sonnentag, University of Mannheim Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Mo Wang, University of Florida United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Chiahuei Wu, University of Leeds Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Filip Lievens, Singapore Management University Singapore (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Serge da Motta Veiga, EDHEC Business School France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Thomas Rigotti, University of Mainz Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
SIOP network (various institutions) & Prof. Dr. Berrin Erdogan (Portland State University) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Laurenz Meier, University of Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
42nd Congress of the German Psychological Society Talk given at a conference Überqualifizierung und Unterbrechungen bei der Arbeit: Eine Tagebuchstudie [Overqualification and work interruptions: A diary study] [Note: The paper was accepted but not presented due to the cancellation of the conference during the COVID-19 pandemic.] 13.09.2020 Wien, Austria Debus Maike Elisabeth; Körner Barbara;
11th Conference of the Section “Work, Organizational, and Business Psychology” of the German Psychological Society (DGPs) Talk given at a conference Die Bedeutung von Karrierechancen für überqualifizierte Mitarbeitende [The importance of career opportunities for overqualified employees] 30.09.2019 Braunschweig, Germany Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
11th Conference of the Section “Work, Organizational, and Business Psychology” of the German Psychological Society (DGPs) Talk given at a conference Hilft es, zu helfen? Die Rolle von OCB im Kontext des organisationalen Wiedereinstiegs [Does helping help? The role of OCB in the context of organizational reentry] 25.09.2019 Braunschweig, Germany Debus Maike Elisabeth;
79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) Talk given at a conference A career opportunities perspective on overqualification 09.08.2019 Boston, United States of America Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
19th Bi-Annual Conference of the European Association for Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) Talk given at a conference The role of perceived career opportunities for overqualified employees 29.05.2019 Turin, Italy Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
19th Bi-Annual Conference of the European Association for Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) Talk given at a conference Overqualification among returning mothers: The impact of maternal role adaptation 29.05.2019 Turin, Italy Debus Maike Elisabeth;
34th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Talk given at a conference Overqualification and job performance: A dual-pathway model 04.04.2019 National Harbor, MD, United States of America Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
41st Congress of the German Psychological Society (DGPs) Talk given at a conference Überqualifizierung und Arbeitsleistung bei NeueinsteigerInnen: Ein Suppressormodell [Overqualification and job performance among newcomers: A suppressor model] 15.09.2018 Frankfurt, Germany Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
41st Congress of the German Psychological Society (DGPs) Talk given at a conference Die Black Box öffnen: Warum sind Überqualifizierte unzufriedener? [Opening the black box: Why are overqualified employees less satisfied?] 15.09.2018 Frankfurt, Germany Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
Talk at University of Würzburg, Germany (invited by Prof. Tanja Bipp) Individual talk Überqualifizierung bei der Arbeit: Die Rolle von proaktivem Verhalten und realistischen Erwartungen [Overqualification at work: The role of proactive behavior and realistic expectations] 15.05.2018 Würzburg, Germany Debus Maike Elisabeth;
33th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Talk given at a conference Overqualification among newcomers: The importance of job crafting 19.04.2018 Chicago, IL, United States of America Körner Barbara; Debus Maike Elisabeth;
Talk at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, PR China (invited by Prof. Junqi Shi) Individual talk Facets of active employee behavior during selection and on the job 08.12.2017 Guangzhou, PR China , China Debus Maike Elisabeth;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Ich habe eine Arbeit, aber…: Neue Befunde zu verschiedenen Formen prekärer Beschäftigungen [Symposium conducted at the 51. Conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs)] 17.09.2018 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop (one day) on the topic of job satisfaction and how to measure and improve it for the "Nachhaltigkeitszirkel Zürich Tourismus". 16.08.2017 Zürich, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Interview on the future of work with myHEALTH myHEALTH German-speaking Switzerland International 2021
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Participant in the DATEV-Podcast on the topic of homeoffice during and after the pandemic DATEV-Podcast German-speaking Switzerland International 2021
Media relations: print media, online media Interview on remote leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic Beobachter German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: radio, television Interview on remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic Radio Central/Sunshine German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Interview on returning to work after maternity leave Context German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Ist für dich das Ende von Ausbildung und Studium in Sicht? Bildungsmagazin by eduwo International German-speaking Switzerland 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Der organisationale Wiedereinstieg von Müttern: Hürden und erleichternde Faktoren Panorama - Zeitschrift für Berufsbildung German-speaking Switzerland 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Erfolgreicher Berufseinstieg: Experten-Tipps Job & Karriere Blog International German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Interview on emotions at work Friday Magazine German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television Interview on meaningful work SRF3 Input German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Interview on successful organizational re-entry after maternity leave Fritz+Fränzi Elternmagazin German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Ist für Dich das Ende von Ausbildung und Studium in Sicht? FHNews.ch International German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Mütter über den Wiedereinstieg Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Was Müttern den Wiedereinstieg erschwert Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Zu schlau für das eigene Glück? Kaleidos Fachhochschule Schweiz German-speaking Switzerland International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Zurück in den Beruf – was Mütter dafür brauchen Mamamal3 Blog German-speaking Switzerland 2019

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
154383 If jobs don’t fit their people: Increasing our understanding of demands-abilities misfit research with three perspectives 01.05.2014 International short research visits

Abstract

Overqualification is defined as a situation in which an employee has a surplus of education, experience, and/or skills relative to the job he or she holds (e.g., Feldman, 1996). In other words, when employees are overqualified for their current position, their educational, experience-, and/or skill-related capacities and resources are underutilized. In fact, current statistics reveal that overqualification is a pervasive issue, affecting around 15-20% of the workforce in Switzerland (Bundesamt für Statistik, 2011); similar numbers can be found in other industrialized countries (e.g., 19 to 34% in the EU-27, Eurostat, 2011, around 20% in the U.S., Vaisey, 2006). As such, it comes as no surprise that researchers have become increasingly interested in overqualification and its correlates (e.g., Erdogan, Bauer, Peiró, & Truxillo, 2011). Generally, the extant research has framed overqualification within the light of stress theories, arguing that overqualification constitutes a stressor that is related to a number of detrimental outcomes (e.g., Luksyte, Spitzmüller, & Maynard, 2011). Indeed, a recent meta-analysis (Maynard & Feldman, 2012) demonstrated that overqualification is related to reduced favorable job attitudes and well-being, less favorable career outcomes, and an increased number of withdrawal behaviors.The current proposal will approach the topic of overqualification from a different angle, namely a resource-oriented perspective (cf. Hobfoll, 1989). Although previous research in line with the stressor perspective has served to increase our knowledge and understanding of the construct, this proposal seeks to demonstrate that there is also a bright side to overqualification. Based on various theoretical concepts, we will develop conceptual arguments that also demonstrate beneficial effects of overqualification. Moreover, this proposed research will attempt to unravel the mechanisms by which overqualified employees can be encouraged to invest their surplus resources in ways that are advantageous for both organizations and individuals. We will test these propositions in three studies with different methodological approaches (i.e., multi-source, diary/measure-intensive, and longitudinal studies). Moreover, we will apply both a subjective and an objective measure of overqualification, thereby uniting approaches stemming from the different fields of organizational psychology and economics (cf. Erdogan et al., 2011).Based on the notion that certain work characteristics can exert opposing effects (e.g., N. P. Podsakoff, LePine, & LePine, 2007), the goal of Study 1 is to show that being overqualified can simultaneously foster and decrease favorable job attitudes and well-being. Organizational re-entry after maternity leave provides a suitable context to test these propositions. Moreover, the study seeks to demonstrate that the relative size of each of the opposing relationships is affected by a third variable, namely the mother’s degree of role adaptation. Based on the match principle (e.g., de Jonge & Dormann, 2006), the goal of Study 2 is to show that overqualification can exert a buffering effect on daily stress processes. In particular, the study seeks to demonstrate that overqualification mitigates the relationship between daily task-related stressors and their daily outcomes (i.e., job satisfaction, irritation, work engagement, and heart rate variability) as opposed to social and role stressors. Moreover, the goal of Study 3 is to demonstrate that impaired job attitudes (i.e., job satisfaction and commitment) explain why overqualification negatively affects favorable work behavior (i.e., organizational citizenship behavior, proactivity, and work engagement). Finally, based on social exchange theory (e.g., Blau, 1964), the study seeks to identify boundary conditions that alleviate these negative relationships.The current proposal will make an important contribution to the literature on overqualification, as it will enrich previous thinking in the field by using a resource-oriented perspective. Recently, Erdogan et al. (2011) noted that there might be situations in which being overqualified can be a benefit and that overqualified employees can be an important asset for organizations. Hence, our proposed research will provide the first empirical test of this notion. From a practical perspective, the proposal will provide guidance for practitioners concerning crucial external circumstances for overqualification and its outcomes, and which boundary conditions can make overqualified employees invest their surplus resources in a beneficial way.
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