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Predicting boredom-coping at work

John W. Whiteoak (Faculty of Arts and Business, University of the Sunshine Coast, The Sunshine Coast, Australia)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 29 July 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore the dimensions of boredom-coping in the workplace and develop a linear equation capable of predicting a single individual's boredom-coping capacity.


The research employs a mixed-methods approach and triangulates the identification of themes through, consultation with five industry experts, 23 individual interviews and 169 survey respondents.


A linear composite that explains 41.4 percent of the variance in boredom-coping (r=0.66, p<0.001) was developed. The model was derived from four constructs identified from primary qualitative data. These were, personality traits (i.e. conscientiousness, openness, work ethic, and extraversion), attitude to challenge, trainable abilities (i.e. practical intelligence, foresight ability, and situational awareness), and group potency.

Research limitations/implications

These findings provide research implications for the study of boredom-coping at work. Common-method artifacts are a potential limitation of the conclusions drawn. However, the mixed-methods approach, independent samples at each stage, and multiple data collection sites and times, supports the integrity of the findings discussed.

Practical implications

The practical implications of this research includes providing strategies for human resource decisions associated with recruitment, selection, and front-line training interventions. The model indicates training may be targeted at different areas of the equation with markedly different impact and return depending on the timed nature of interventions.


The findings support the development of approaches that may help to create a more engaged, productive, and well-adjusted workforce. The translation of the findings to the “bottom-line” is also significant.



This research was supported by funding from the Australian Coal Association Research Program Grant, C17027.


W. Whiteoak, J. (2014), "Predicting boredom-coping at work", Personnel Review, Vol. 43 No. 5, pp. 741-763.



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