- Extending the Job Demands-Resources model
The proposed research program seeks to extend the Job Demands-Resources (JD−R) model, a recently developed and increasingly used model in work and organizational psychology to explain the antecedents of negative (burnout) and positive (work engagement) aspects of employee well−being. Three extensions are envisioned: (1) integrating positive (charismatic) and negative (destructive) leadership into the model; (2) including employee learning and development as an additional outcome; and (3) applying the JD−R at the aggregated team level. These extensions are pursued in interdisciplinary research collaboration with occupational medicine (burnout), labor pedagogy (employee learning) and human resources management (leadership).
- Conceptualization and measurement of employee’s mental condition
It is likewise important for both research and practice that well-validated tools are available to assess employee’s mental condition. Moreover, knowledge about its antecedents and consequences are essential for interventions to improve that condition. In my research I focus on four topics:
Work engagement is defined as a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor (i.e. high levels of energy and mental resilience), dedication (i.e., exceptionally strong involvement in one’s work), and absorption (i.e., being totally engrossed in one’s work). The concept is assessed by the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES).
Burnout is a negative, chronic work-related state that is primarily characterized by mental exhaustion and mental distance. The use of today’s most popular burnout questionnaire – the Maslach Burnout Inventory – has been questioned, particular by practitioners, so that the time has come to develop a superior, alternative assessment tool (read more on the website of the project).
Workaholism or work addiction is characterized by an irresistible inner drive to work very hard; it is a combination of working compulsively and excessively. Both components are assessed by the Dutch Work Addiction Scale (DUWAS).
Job boredom is characterized by under-stimulation (i.e. low arousal) and high dissatisfaction and can be measured by the Dutch Boredom Scale (DUBS).
- The use and effectiveness of on-line tools to improve occupational health
Current technical developments allow to design online assessment and intervention tools that can be used by individual employees as well as by organizations to monitor and improve occupational health. That is, to prevent and combat burnout, boredom and workaholism as well as to improve work engagement. Research on the usability and effectiveness of these tools is much needed.