The effect of coping on job performance

LG Tummers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference contributionAcademic


Frontline workers, such as teachers and social workers, often experience stress, for instance because of high workloads. To deal with this, they use coping strategies. However, it is still unclear how coping strategies influence performance at work. The first goal of this article is therefore to theoretically and empirically study whether one important coping strategy (prioritizing motivated clients) influences job performance. The secondary goal is to go beyond testing a linear relationship between coping and performance by examining how work experience moderates this relationship. We use a multi-source survey of frontline workers and their supervisors in the United States to achieve these goals. We found that coping by prioritizing motivated clients is positively related to job performance. A strong moderation effect was also found: The positive effect is weaker for experienced frontline workers. Experienced frontline workers do not ‘have to’ prioritize motivated clients for high performance, as their knowledge and skills enable them to deliver results also for more difficult target groups. Contrary, for less experienced frontline workers, this coping strategy seems quite beneficial. We conclude with implications and a future research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2015
EventInternational Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) Conference - Birmingham
Duration: 30 Mar 20151 Apr 2015


ConferenceInternational Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) Conference


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