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The success resource model of job stress

New Developments in Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches to Job Stress

ISBN: 978-1-84950-712-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-713-4

Publication date: 17 March 2010


New developments in concepts and approaches to job stress should incorporate all relevant types of resources that promote well-being and health. The success resource model of job stress conceptualizes subjective success as causal agents for employee well-being and health (Grebner, Elfering, & Semmer, 2008a). So far, very little is known about what kinds of work experiences are perceived as success. The success resource model defines four dimensions of subjective occupational success: goal attainment, pro-social success, positive feedback, and career success. The model assumes that subjective success is a resource because it is valued in its own right, triggers positive affect and emotions (e.g., pleasure, cf., Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), helps to protect and gain other resources like self-efficacy (Hobfoll, 1998, 2001), has direct positive effects on well-being (e.g., job satisfaction, cf., Locke & Latham, 1990) and health (Carver & Scheier, 1999), facilitates learning (Frese & Zapf, 1994), and has an energizing (Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002) and attention-directing effect (Carver, 2003), which can promote recovery by promoting mental detachment from work tasks in terms of absence of job-related rumination in leisure time (Sonnentag & Bayer, 2005).

The model proposes that success is promoted by other resources like job control (Frese & Zapf, 1994) while job stressors, like hindrance stressors such as performance constraints and role ambiguity (LePine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005), can work against success (Frese & Zapf, 1994). The model assumes reciprocal direct effects of subjective success on well-being, health, and recovery (upward spiral), and a moderator effect of success on the stressor–strain relationship. The chapter discusses research evidence, measurement of subjective occupational success, value of the model for job stress interventions, future research requirements, and methodological concerns.


Grebner, S., Elfering, A. and Semmer, N.K. (2010), "The success resource model of job stress", Perrewé, P.L. and Ganster, D.C. (Ed.) New Developments in Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches to Job Stress (Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 61-108.



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