A Matter of Time? Challenging and hindering effects of time pressure on work engagement
The aim of our research was to test time-exposure effects of time pressure as a stressor typically considered to be a challenge, rather than a hindrance stressor. We examined the within- and between-person effects of time pressure on work engagement in two diary/panel studies with employees using intervals of five days and three weeks, respectively (Study 1, n = 350, and n = 357, respectively) and six-to-eight weeks (Study 2, n = 238). We assumed that it is a matter of time whether time pressure acts as a challenge (under short-term exposure)or as a hindrance stressor (under long-term exposure). We found significant positive within-person effects of time pressure on work engagement when controlling for strain in the daily and weekly diary assessment (Study 1), but a significant negative within-person effect in the six-to-eight weeks’ assessment (Study 2). The between-person effects were significant and negative in all studies. Although a short-term increase can be beneficial for a certain time, stable and long-time exposure of time pressure does rather reduce work engagement. Thus, employers should not keep time pressure permanently high to motivate their employees. However, short-term increases of time pressure (e.g., before a deadline) may serve as a motivating factor.
Baethge, A., Vahle-Hinz, T., Schulte-Braucks, J., & Van Dick, R. (2018). A Matter of Time? Challenging and hindering effects of time pressure on work engagement. Work & Stress, 32, 228-247. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02678373.2017.1415998.