Thriving on challenge stressors? Exploring time pressure and learning demands as antecedents of thriving at work.J Organ Behav. 2017 Jan; 38(1):108-123.JO
In the conceptualization of thriving at work, it is emphasized that employees' learning and vitality are two equally important components of thriving and that thriving is facilitated by contextual features and available resources. In this study, we examined the effects of two challenge stressors (time pressure and learning demands) on thriving at work. Based on the literature on challenge and hindrance stressors, we proposed that challenge stressors positively affect learning and negatively affect vitality. To uncover underlying mechanisms, we measured challenge appraisal and hindrance appraisal of work situations in a diary study. A sample of 124 knowledge workers responded to three daily surveys (before the lunch break, during the afternoon, and at the end of the workday) for a period of five workdays. Results indicate that the indirect effects of learning demands and time pressure on learning are mediated by challenge appraisal, whereas indirect effects of learning demands on vitality are mediated by hindrance appraisal. Overall, our study shows that challenge stressors have a positive total effect on learning but no total effect on vitality. These differential relationships call for a finer distinction between the two components of thriving at work in future research.