Workaholism, the tendency to work excessively hard on a compulsive basis, is a type of heavy work investment that is mainly associated with negative outcomes for both the worker and the organization, including psychological and physical symptoms, sickness absences, and lower job performance. Hence, in terms of prevention, it seems important to identify situational and personal factors that may lead to the onset of workaholism. Among the latter, several studies showed that perfectionism, a stable individual disposition to consider not acceptable anything that is not perfect, is strongly associated with workaholism. However, previous research did not consider mechanisms that could explain this association. In this perspective, irrational beliefs at work (IBW), that is, illogical and rigid cognitions related to unrealistic demands about the self and other people in the work context, may mediate the association between perfectionism and workaholism. Accordingly, in this study we investigated the possible mediating role of four specific IBW, concerning performance demands, coworkers’ approval, failure, and control, in the relationship between perfectionism and workaholism. The study was conducted on 257 workers from a company in the industrial sector, who completed a self-report questionnaire aimed at determining workaholism (i.e., working excessively and working compulsively), irrational beliefs at work, and two dimensions of perfectionism, namely self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP). Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling with latent variables. With respect to the relationship between perfectionism and IWB, results showed that SOP was positively associated with performance demands, whereas SPP was positively associated with performance demands, coworkers’ approval, failure, and control. Moreover, performance demands and failure were positively associated with workaholism, controlling for the effect of both SOP and SPP. Finally, the test of indirect effects showed that performance demands mediated the association between perfectionism (both SOP and SPP) and workaholism, whereas failure mediated the association between SPP (but not SOP) and workaholism. From a theoretical perspective, this study showed that individuals with high levels of perfectionism tend to endorse irrational beliefs concerning the pursuit of exceedingly high standards of performance and the fear of failure that, in their turn, may be a risk factor for workaholism. Finally, from a practical standpoint, this study suggests that interventions aimed at preventing workaholism should help workers with high levels of perfectionism to reduce irrational beliefs at work (especially the ones related to performance demands and failure) in favor of more functional rational beliefs.

Irrational beliefs at work mediate the association between perfectionism and workaholism

Alessandra Falco
;
Damiano Girardi;Laura Dal Corso;
2018

Abstract

Workaholism, the tendency to work excessively hard on a compulsive basis, is a type of heavy work investment that is mainly associated with negative outcomes for both the worker and the organization, including psychological and physical symptoms, sickness absences, and lower job performance. Hence, in terms of prevention, it seems important to identify situational and personal factors that may lead to the onset of workaholism. Among the latter, several studies showed that perfectionism, a stable individual disposition to consider not acceptable anything that is not perfect, is strongly associated with workaholism. However, previous research did not consider mechanisms that could explain this association. In this perspective, irrational beliefs at work (IBW), that is, illogical and rigid cognitions related to unrealistic demands about the self and other people in the work context, may mediate the association between perfectionism and workaholism. Accordingly, in this study we investigated the possible mediating role of four specific IBW, concerning performance demands, coworkers’ approval, failure, and control, in the relationship between perfectionism and workaholism. The study was conducted on 257 workers from a company in the industrial sector, who completed a self-report questionnaire aimed at determining workaholism (i.e., working excessively and working compulsively), irrational beliefs at work, and two dimensions of perfectionism, namely self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP). Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling with latent variables. With respect to the relationship between perfectionism and IWB, results showed that SOP was positively associated with performance demands, whereas SPP was positively associated with performance demands, coworkers’ approval, failure, and control. Moreover, performance demands and failure were positively associated with workaholism, controlling for the effect of both SOP and SPP. Finally, the test of indirect effects showed that performance demands mediated the association between perfectionism (both SOP and SPP) and workaholism, whereas failure mediated the association between SPP (but not SOP) and workaholism. From a theoretical perspective, this study showed that individuals with high levels of perfectionism tend to endorse irrational beliefs concerning the pursuit of exceedingly high standards of performance and the fear of failure that, in their turn, may be a risk factor for workaholism. Finally, from a practical standpoint, this study suggests that interventions aimed at preventing workaholism should help workers with high levels of perfectionism to reduce irrational beliefs at work (especially the ones related to performance demands and failure) in favor of more functional rational beliefs.
Psychological Applications and Trends 2018
978-989-99864-5-9
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3340280
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