The role of leadership in the changing world of work: Why and how supporting recovery is important for employee's well-being when working flexibly

In a changing world of work new working conditions arise from developments such as flexibilization as well as digitalization and can endanger psychological well-being. Aim is to examine recovery and the role of leadership behaviour which supports employees recovery experiences along with well-being in short and long term.

Key facts

job demands, recovery, leadership, well-being, flexible work-arrangements
03/01/2021 - Until further notice
University institution
Department of Work and Organizational Psychology


New working conditions arise from developments such as flexibilization and digitization; these can endanger psychological well-being and lead to burnout in the long run. Unexamined relationships of the following working conditions (increased work intensification, telepressure and technostress) and irritation are surveyed within the Job Demand-Resouces model (JD-R model) especially in flexible work-arrangements. The JD-R model is extended by including recovery experiences and leadership behaviour. The leader's role for employee's recovery is largely unclear. The study assumptions are that

  1. there is a positive connection between job demands (intensification of work, telepressure and technostress) and impariment of well-being;
  2. the more the employee works from home, the stronger this connection between job demand and well-being
  3. the connection between job demand and well-being is mediated through recovery experiences
  4. leadership behaviour and style (in the form of recovery-supporting leadership behaviour, servant and transformational leadership) act as moderating resources, so that they weaken the relation between job demands and recovery.

To assess these assumptions, leaders are interviewed in a pilot study and, on the basis of these qualitative results, a recovery-supporting leadership behaviour scale is developed and tested. Dyads of leaders and employees are questioned quantitatively with standardized measuring instruments within a two-week diary study and a one-year longitudinal study (three measurement times) in order to show short-term, medium-term and long-term relationships. Results will show which leadership behaviour can support and influence employee’s recovery during and after work, and secondly, whether and how leadership behaviour should be adapted due to a changing world of work with more flexible work regulations and blurring boundaries.


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