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The role of the employees' individual resources in the perception of the work overload

Anna Pluta (Institute of Management, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland)
Aleksandra Rudawska (Institute of Management, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 2 March 2021

Issue publication date: 28 April 2021




The contemporary world's pressure, oriented on flexibility and quick actions, has permanently changed work characteristics. Taking the employees' perspective into account, it seems important to identify whether and which of the employees' individual resources help them cope with those job demands. Therefore, the main research question is what is the relation between holistically conceptualised employees' individual resources and perceived work overload?


Based on the literature on individual resources and job demands, the authors test for relations between three components of individual resources (physical, emotional, spiritual potentials) and job characteristics (work variability and work diversity) and the perceived work overload. Data were collected using a survey method amongst 336 Polish knowledge workers.


The results partially supported the posed hypotheses. Both work variability and work diversity relate positively to work overload. Only the physical potential is related directly and negatively to perceived work overload. The spiritual potential relates indirectly to work overload through work diversity. The authors also found that age moderates the relation between physical and spiritual potential and overload.

Research limitations/implications

Human resource management (HRM) practitioners and supervisors need to consider the level of employee's individual resources, especially when dealing with older employees and their physical resources.


This study contributes to research on the causes of work overload perception by identifying the role of individual resources and employees' age, thereby indicating that taking care of those resources could be another way of preventing occupational burnout in demanding work conditions.



The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their comments and suggestions that helped improve this paper. The publication is financed within the framework of the programme of the Minister of Science and Higher Education under the name “Regional Excellence Initiative” in the years 2019–2022, project number 001/RID/2018/19, the amount of financing PLN 10,684,000.00.


Pluta, A. and Rudawska, A. (2021), "The role of the employees' individual resources in the perception of the work overload", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 590-612.



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