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Being Unengaged at Work but Still Dedicating Time and Energy: A Longitudinal Study

SOEPpapers 1048, 22 S.

Sabine Hommelhoff, David Richter, Cornelia Niessen, Denis Gerstorf, Jutta Heckhausen


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Published in: Motivation Science 6 (2020), 4, S. 368-373


Overcommitted individuals cannot withdraw from work obligations. We examine whether work goal engagement attenuates the negative effects of overcommitment on work and health outcomes. For overcommitted professionals it should matter whether they dedicate time and energy to work goals they feel bound to or to goals they do not feel attached to (unengaged overcommitment). In a longitudinal study of 752 employees, we examined the interaction between overcommitment (T1) and work goal engagement (T2) in contributing to job and sleep satisfaction (T1 and T3). Results indicated that higher overcommitment and lower work goal engagement were associated with lower job and sleep satisfaction at T3, controlling for T1 job and sleep satisfaction. Overcommitment was only related to lower job satisfaction when work goal engagement was low. No interactive effect was found for sleep satisfaction. These findings support the essential role of goal engagement for well-being and adaptive development in the work domain.

Keywords: overcommitment, work goal engagement, job satisfaction, sleep satisfaction, well-being at work
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