Strengths use and work-related flow: An experience sampling study on implications for risk taking and attentional behaviors

Wei Liu*, Dimitri van der Linden, Arnold B. Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Using positive psychology theories, the authors build a model to test whether episodic fluctuations in strengths use coincide with changes in flow experiences and further predict risk-taking behavior and attentional performance. Design/methodology/approach: A field study covering five working days was conducted among 164 Chinese employees; twice a day, they were asked to complete questionnaires regarding their strengths use and flow experiences during the previous hour (N = 938 observations). Immediately afterward, their risk-taking behaviors and attentional performance were tested using computerized tasks. Findings: Multilevel analyses showed that when employees used their strengths more often in the previous hour, they also reported an increase in flow. Episodic fluctuations in flow were positively associated with risk taking and negatively related to attentional performance. Practical implications: Employees should be encouraged to use their strengths more at work, as this might increase their flow experiences. At the same time, they should pay attention to the downsides of flow (i.e. less attention after flow) at an episodic level. Originality/value: The authors add to previous studies by using a more objective approach, namely employing computerized tasks on risk-taking behavior and attention to capture the behavioral outcomes of work-related flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-60
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Chinese Scholarship Council (No. 201706220053) and Center of Excellence for Positive Organizational Psychology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The authors are thankful for Tingting Han’s assistance to collect the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Wei Liu, Dimitri van der Linden and Arnold B. Bakker.


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