Th-SYM-752-3 - Low Psychological Detachment But High Cognitive Flexibility: The Challenging Nature Of Regulatory Demands

Organizational Culture
1 hour
Employee stress and burnout
Coping and social support
Low psychological detachment but high cognitive flexibility: The challenging nature of regulatory demands
B. Kubicek 1,*
1Faculty of Informatics, Communications and Media, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg, Austria
Main Abstract Content: Purpose
Nowadays, employees are increasingly required to handle regulatory demands, such as planning their work or taking work-related decisions. On the one hand, planning and decision-making demands (PDM) offer opportunities to learn and grow personally (e.g., by increasing cognitive flexibility), on the other hand they require cognitive effort and hamper psychological detachment. These potentially positive and negative consequences, which qualify PDM as challenges, may operate at different temporal levels. While cognitive flexibility takes time to evolve, poor detachment is an immediate outcome. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to assess (1) whether PDM are associated with cognitive flexibility and poor detachment, (2) whether these associations are found in short-term and long-term contexts and (3) whether cognitive appraisal operates as an underlying mechanism.
A longitudinal study (4 months time lag, n=457) and a dairy study (n=88) were conducted.
PDM are associated with increases in cognitive flexibility and decreases in psychological detachment. The positive effect on cognitive flexibility was found only for the longitudinal study and the person level, but not for the day level of the dairy study. Moreover, cognitive appraisals partly explained the effects of PDM on cognitive flexibility and poor psychological detachment.
The studies are based on self-reported data.
Interventions need to balance the positive and negative effects of regulatory demands by helping employees to better regulate their work and to better detach from work.
The results inform the understanding of challenge demands and their ambivalent (i.e., positive and negative) consequences. 


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