When do daily unattained tasks boost job performance? The moderating role of employee reflexivity and mindfulness

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Abstract

Although unattained work goals and tasks are often viewed by management as an undesired state, the present paper proposes that daily lack of closure can sometimes boost rather than block job performance. Lack of closure is defined as an employee state or subjective feeling whereby the tasks, goals, or projects of a working day remain incomplete. This state is hypothesized to positively relate to job performance for high trait-level employee reflexivity and high day-level employee mindfulness and to negatively relate to job performance for low reflexivity and low mindfulness. To test expectations, a diary survey study was conducted among 209 employees of different sectors. Results supported both hypotheses but with a different temporal pattern for each moderator: On the one hand, previous-day lack of closure negatively related to day-level performance for low employee mindfulness and positively related to day-level performance for high employee mindfulness. On the other hand, day-level lack of closure negatively related to same-day performance for low employee reflexivity and positively related to same-day performance for high employee reflexivity. Theoretical implications of the findings are discussed and practical recommendations are formulated about how employee reflexivity and mindfulness can be enhanced, for example, though workplace interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2021

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