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Working in times of COVID-19: investigating the effect of daily risk perception of COVID-19 infection on goal progress

Donghun Seo (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Sunghyuck Mah (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Sophia Miri Yoo (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Minju Oh (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Byung-Im Kim (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Jeong-Yeon Lee (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Seokhwa Yun (College of Business Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 9 January 2023

58

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the transactional theory of stress and coping, this study aims to understand the daily impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on employee goal progress. In particular, the authors explore how COVID-19 induces anxiety related to task setbacks that consequently influences one's goal progress.

Design/methodology/approach

A daily diary study was conducted with a total of 558 observations from 60 participants. The data were analyzed using multilevel path analysis with random slopes.

Findings

The perceived risk of COVID-19 infection was positively associated with COVID-19 task setback anxiety, which in turn improved end-of-day goal progress. Lower employee conscientiousness strengthened the relationship between perceived risk of COVID-19 infection and COVID-19 task setback anxiety, and lower supervisor bottom-line mentality strengthened the relationship between COVID-19 task setback anxiety and end-of-day goal progress.

Practical implications

Although COVID-19 task setback anxiety results in higher end-of-day goal progress, the authors recommend caution as the cost of coping exists. Thus, supervisors should focus on supporting the employees rather than having a bottom-line mentality.

Originality/value

This study advances stress and coping literature by examining how employees appraise and cope with COVID-19 in work context. The authors demonstrate that a perceived risk of COVID-19 induces task setbacks related to anticipatory anxiety, which in turn influences employee outcomes. In addition, the authors identify employee conscientiousness and supervisor bottom-line mentality as a boundary condition of this process.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Institute of Management Research at Seoul National University.

Citation

Seo, D., Mah, S., Yoo, S.M., Oh, M., Kim, B.-I., Lee, J.-Y. and Yun, S. (2023), "Working in times of COVID-19: investigating the effect of daily risk perception of COVID-19 infection on goal progress", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-03-2022-0121

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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