A story of gains and losses: intra-individual shifts in job characteristics and well-being when transitioning to a managerial role
Building on conservation of resources theory, we examined the duality inherent in one of the most significant work-related transitions an employee may go through: becoming a manager. Specifically, we explored intra-individual resource gains (i.e., increases in participation in decision-making) and resource losses (i.e., increases in time pressure) and their associations with intra-individual shifts in well-being (i.e., job satisfaction, exhaustion, and work-to-family conflict) when employees transitioned to a managerial position. In addition, we examined whether new managers’ perceived ability to detach from work during nonwork time moderated these processes. Multilevel analyses among 2052 individuals demonstrated that individuals experienced both a resource gain and a loss when they became managers. As expected, there was an indirect effect of the transition to a managerial position to an increase in job satisfaction via an increase in participation in decision-making. Additionally, there were indirect effects of the transition to a managerial position to an increase in both exhaustion and work-to-family conflict via an increase in time pressure. In line with the hypotheses, we found that new managers who perceived that they were able to detach well experienced a weaker increase in exhaustion and work-to-family conflict (as transmitted via an increase in time pressure). Contrary to the hypothesis, perceived ability to detach reduced the increase in job satisfaction (as transmitted via an increase in participation in decision-making). Our findings shed light on the intra-individual processes that occur when employees become managers, indicating that this transition can be a “double-edged sword.”
KeywordsManager Well-being Exhaustion Psychological detachment
This work was supported by a grant from the Schweizerischer Nationalfonds [Swiss National Science Foundation, Grant Number 154383] awarded to Maike E. Debus. This grant is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Sabine Sonnentag for her comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.
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