Crafting social resources on days when you are emotionally exhausted: The role of job insecurity

Kimberley Breevaart*, Maria Tims

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Workdays are demanding and draw upon one's emotional and physical resource pools. Consequently, employees become exhausted and need to recover by replenishing their resources during and/or after their workday. Building on conservation of resources theory, we argue that employees, especially those with low job insecurity, cope with exhaustion at work by crafting social resources on the days that they are exhausted. Specifically, we expect that employees who are exhausted will use their limited resources to gain social support from their co-workers and supervisor, but only when employees feel they can profit from this newly gained resource in the long run (i.e., when the risk of losing one's job is low). We tested this idea in a sample of 271 elementary school teachers who filled out an online daily diary at the end of each workday for a period of 10 workdays (271 × 7.31 days = 1,539 data points). Results of multilevel modelling analyses showed that there was a significant cross-level interaction effect for perceived risk of losing one's job (i.e., job insecurity). That is, on the days that employees were exhausted, they crafted more social resources, especially when they perceived low (vs. high) job insecurity. Our study shows that exhaustion is not necessarily detrimental to employees and organizations, but may also activate employees to reduce resource loss by proactively searching for support in their work environment. Practitioner points: On a daily basis, employees who are exhausted search for social resources such as social support from colleagues. Employees especially try to deal with their exhaustion by crafting social resources when they generally feel that their job is not at risk (i.e., low job insecurity).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-824
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume92
Issue number4
Early online date21 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • cross-level interaction
  • daily diary study
  • exhaustion
  • job crafting
  • job insecurity

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