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You want me to do what? Two daily diary studies of illegitimate tasks and employee well-being.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2016
Author Eatough Erin, Meier Laurenz L., Igic Ivana, Elfering Achim, Spector Paul E., Semmer Norbert K.,
Project Examining the Effect of Well-being on Work Stressors
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Organizational Behavior
Volume (Issue) 37
Page(s) 108 - 127
Title of proceedings Journal of Organizational Behavior
DOI 10.1002/job.2032


Illegitimate tasks, a recently introduced occupational stressor, are tasks that violate norms about what an employee can reasonably be expected to do. Because they are considered a threat to one’s professional identity, we expected that the daily experience of illegitimate tasks would be linked to a drop in self-esteem and to impaired well-being. We report results of two daily diary studies, one in which 57 Swiss employees were assessed twice/day and one in which 90 Americans were assessed three times/day. Both studies showed that illegitimate tasks were associated with lowered state self-esteem. Study 1 demonstrated that high trait self- esteem mitigated that relationship. Study 2 showed that illegitimate tasks were associated with not only lowered state self-esteem but also lower job satisfaction and higher anger and depressive mood, but not anger or job satisfaction remained elevated until the following morning