Profiling a Spectrum of Mental Job Demands and their Linkages to Employee Outcomes
Keywords:mental job demands, work intensification, job burnout, job performance, meaning of work, latent profile analysis
Working life is becoming more mentally demanding and intense due to technological acceleration. The present study explored employees’ experiences of different mental job demands (MJDs) and their outcomes (job burnout, job performance, and meaning of work). We focused on intra- and inter-individual variations and possible harmful combinations of MJDs, which we explored via latent profile analysis (LPA). To identify harmful combinations of MJDs, we also investigated how the profiles of MJDs related to the outcomes of interest. The study was based on a diverse sample of Finnish employees (n = 4,583). LPA showed that both intra-individual and inter-individual variation characterized MJDs as we identified five latent profiles of MJDs. The most harmful profile, which predicted the most negative outcomes (particularly job burnout), was characterized by employees’ scoring high on all MJDs. A profile characterized by low learning demands and moderate level of other MJDs was also a harmful combination in terms of outcomes. In contrast, a profile characterized by moderate level of learning demands and low level of other MJDs did not relate to negative outcomes. Altogether, the findings suggest that different MJDs may co-occur implying risks to employee well-being and performance. However, MJDs simultaneously form a complex spectrum that may differ within and between individuals.
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