Amani Qaqish, a first-semester undergraduate lab member, recently gave an article presentation on the article titled “Effort-Reward Imbalance and Employee Performance With the Moderating Roles of Overcommitment and Humor” (Reizer & Siegrist, 2022).
Effort Reward Imbalance (ERI) is described as when the amount of effort one puts into the workplace should be equally reciprocated with reward but is not. The negative implications of ERI include stress-related mental health disorders and physical disorders. Additionally, to cope with ERI, many engage in overcommitment or the two types of different humor: affiliative humor and self-enhancing humor. Affiliative humor is a joke made during a conversation to bring everyone together which can strengthen interpersonal relationships. Self-enhancing humor is a joke about oneself staying positive during a negative time which can regulate emotions. Amani explains the Broaden-and-Build theory which is the idea of broadened attention focus is positive emotions (considering new possibilities and fostering psychological flexibility). Lastly, to explain the background, the dimensions of employee performance were explained as four parts: task performance, organizational citizenship, creative performance, and destructive deviance (DD).
The presented study had three different hypotheses starting with (1) Employee ERI is related to job performance measures with 4 sub-hypotheses: (a) negatively associated with task performance, (b) negatively associated with OCB, (c) negatively associated with creative performance, (d) positively associated with DD. Hypothesis (2) states that overcommitment moderates the relationships between ERI and task performance (H2A), OCB (H2B), creative performance (H2C), and DD (H2D). Lastly, hypothesis (3) states adaptive humor moderated the associations between ERI and workplace outcomes. Both self-enhancing and affiliative humor diminishes the negative associations between ERI and task performance (H3A), OCB (H3B, creative performance (H3C, and DD (H3D).
Three hundred and ninety-nine adults who worked a minimum of 10 hours per week, worked for their respective employer for at least 6 months, salary employees, had access to the internet and email, and had direct supervisors involved were included in the study. Participants ranged from different genders, ages, education levels, employment, and supervisor-employee relationships. Effort Reward and ERI were measured along with humor scales, task performance, creative performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and destructive workplace deviance through a self-report questionnaire.
Multiple regression was conducted for statistical analysis. Results for H1a, H1b, & H1c show the ER ratio negatively associated with task performance, OCB, and creative performance, ER and DD were unrelated, but the reward measure was negatively associated with DD. ER ratio and overcommitment (OC) are positively correlated, and OC is positively correlated with creative performance. Hypothesis 2 results showed that overcommitment moderated associations between ER ratio and task performance with negative associations between ER ratio and task performance for employees who scored high in over-commitment. Hypothesis 3 results show that humor moderates the association between ER ratio and workplace outcomes. Specifically for H3A, there was a negative association between ER ratio and task performance which reached significance for employees who scored low in self-enhancing humor. For H3B, H3C, and H3D, associations were found between ER ratio and OCB, creative performance, and DD which reached significance for employees who scored low in self-enhancing humor.
This study demonstrated the effects of overcommitment as a moderating effect limited to task performance. It was found that self-enhancement humor reduced the strength of associations for ERI and employee task performance, OCB, and DD. It was found to be a robust predictor of resilience and a stable moderator for job stress-burnout relationships, and affiliative humor was less effective. These findings have important implications for improving balance in the workplace, implementing more group-based programs, interventions to decrease overcommitment and increase humor, and more leader involvement. Limitations of the study include a lack of longitudinal design, not exploring the full range of information inherent in the ERI model, and no empirical insights into the mediating process. There are also opportunities for future research by considering burnout and occupational health problems or looking at other mediators such as a trust or organizational commitment.
Amazing job presenting this article, Amani! She will be using this research to assist her in her literature review throughout the semester!