Daily self-leadership and playful work design: Proactive approaches of work in times of crisis

Arnold Bakker*, Kimberley Breevaart, Yuri Scharp, Juriena de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
209 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates how employees may use proactive work strategies to satisfy their basic psychological needs during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We use self-determination theory to hypothesize that daily self-leadership (e.g., goal setting, constructive cognition) and playful work design (PWD; redesigning work to be more fun/challenging) satisfy basic psychological needs and facilitate job performance. We also predict that the use of these proactive strategies is particularly important when individuals ruminate a lot about the COVID-19 crisis. Daily diary data collected among a heterogeneous group of employees largely confirm these theoretical predictions. For organizational practitioners, this study thus suggests that it is important to encourage employees to be proactive. Although this may be challenging during crises, leaders could provide autonomy and feedback to foster self-leadership and PWD. In addition, organizations may offer training interventions so that employees learn to apply these proactive work strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021

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© The Author(s) 2021.


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