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I shouldn't have to do this: Illegitimate tasks as a stressor in relation to organizational control and resource deficits
Univ Gothenburg, Dept Sociol & Work Sci, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Univ Bern, Inst Psychol, Bern, Switzerland.
Univ Gothenburg, Dept Sociol & Work Sci, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Work & Stress, ISSN 0267-8373, E-ISSN 1464-5335, Vol. 27, no 3, 262-277 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The performance of tasks that are perceived as unnecessary or unreasonable - illegitimate tasks - represents a new stressor concept that refers to assignments that violate the norms associated with the role requirements of professional work. Research has shown that illegitimate tasks are associated with stress and counterproductive work behaviour. The purpose of this study was to provide insight into the contribution of characteristics of the organization on the prevalence of illegitimate tasks in the work of frontline and middle managers. Using the Bern Illegitimate Task Scale (BITS) in a sample of 440 local government operations managers in 28 different organizations in Sweden, this study supports the theoretical assumptions that illegitimate tasks are positively related to stress and negatively related to satisfaction with work performance. Results further show that 10% of the variance in illegitimate tasks can be attributed to the organization where the managers work. Multilevel referential analysis showed that the more the organization was characterized by competition for resources between units, unfair and arbitrary resource allocation and obscure decisional structure, the more illegitimate tasks managers reported. These results should be valuable for strategic-level management since they indicate that illegitimate tasks can be counteracted by means of the organization of work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2013. Vol. 27, no 3, 262-277 p.
Keyword [en]
illegitimate tasks, role, management, work organization, multilevel analysis, resource deficits, work-related stress
National Category
Applied Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97046DOI: 10.1080/02678373.2013.818291ISI: 000326363600003OAI: diva2:668948


Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-02Bibliographically approved

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