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Self-leadership and self-control strength in the work context

Teresa Müller (Institute of Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany)
Cornelia Niessen (Institute of Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 5 February 2018

Issue publication date: 7 March 2018

3255

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the limited strength model, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of self-leadership strategies (behavior-focused strategies, constructive thought patterns) and qualitative and quantitative overload with subsequent self-control strength.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study is a field study with 142 university affiliates and two measurement occasions during a typical workday (before and after lunch). Self-control strength was measured using a handgrip task.

Findings

Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that self-leadership, quantitative overload, and qualitative overload were not directly associated with self-control strength at either of the two measurement occasions. Qualitative overload moderated the relationship between self-leadership and self-control strength, such that self-leadership was associated with lower self-control strength at both measurement occasions when individuals experienced high qualitative overload in the morning.

Practical implications

Employees and employers should be aware of the possibly depleting characteristics of self-leadership in order to be able to create a work environment allowing for the recovery and replenishment of self-control strength.

Originality/value

The present field study theoretically and methodologically contributes to the literature on self-leadership and self-control strength in the work context by investigating the depleting nature of self-leadership and workload.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Bettina Eibl, Kyra Göbel, Dr Sabine Hommelhoff, Inge Mäder, Carina Schröder, and Meike Sons for their helpful feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Citation

Müller, T. and Niessen, C. (2018), "Self-leadership and self-control strength in the work context", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 74-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-04-2017-0149

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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