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Self-control during daily work activities and work-to-nonwork conflict

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Michael Clinton, Neil Conway, Jane Sturges, Rebecca Hewett

Original languageEnglish
Article number103410
JournalJournal Of Vocational Behavior
Early online date25 Feb 2020
Accepted/In press23 Feb 2020
E-pub ahead of print25 Feb 2020
PublishedApr 2020

King's Authors


Drawing on theories of self-regulation we propose that the nature of the activities performed at work, particularly those requiring self-control, can play an important role in the work-to-nonwork conflict process. We argue that because functional nonwork behavior requires continued self-control after work, occurrences of work-to-nonwork conflict will be more likely when one's limited self-control resources are expended during the day, and incidents of subsequent self-control failure in relation to the nonwork domain become more likely. We test hypotheses via a daily diary study, capturing the timing of different activities across a workday, along with independent ratings of how much self-control the activities require. We find, at the within-person level, that the extent that work activities performed that day require selfcontrol explains variance in work-to-nonwork conflict, beyond the effects of work hours and mediated by depleted state self-control capacity after work. Furthermore, afternoon self-controlled work activities, compared to morning, are more strongly associated with work-to-nonwork conflict. Against our hypothesis, low sleep quantity weakened the association between self-controlled work activities and self-control capacity. We discuss our findings in relation to the utility of self-regulation approaches to work-to-nonwork conflict based on the self-control strength model.

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