Demystifying workers in overdrive: An exploration of the antecedents of work intensity

Date of Completion

January 1996


Business Administration, Management|Psychology, Industrial




The study was designed to develop a model of the antecedents of, and their relationship to, work intensity. Work intensity was defined as the number of hours worked relative to organizational requirements and expectations. This study examined the relationship between work intensity and three 'sets' of characteristics: Personal Characteristics, Job-related Characteristics, and Situational Characteristics. Personal Characteristics were comprised of career commitment, job involvement, need for achievement, work ethic, fear of losing one's job, family involvement, and impression management. Job-related Characteristics included organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and intent to remain with the organization. Finally, the Situational Characteristics were the work group norm regarding work intensity and the company work norm regarding work intensity. These Situational Characteristics were predicted to have not only a direct relationship with work intensity, but also to have a moderating effect between other independent variables and work intensity.^ The results of this study were not consistent with many of the theoretically hypothesized relationships. The model presented twelve direct relationships between the independent variables and work intensity. This study, however, found only five significant relationships (one of these was in the opposite direction of that predicted) and mixed results regarding the moderating relationships.^ The significant relationships appear to have one commonality. Each of the significant relationships seems to be about individual needs, rather than an individual's attachment to the organization or the work. The significant relationships seem to involve personal goals and fears, not the individual's relationship with the organization. ^