Does looking forward set you back? Development and validation of the work prospection scale

R.L.J. Rutten*, U.R. Hulsheger, F.R.H. Zijlstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Findings from adjacent literatures suggest that thinking about the future may have implications for employee health, especially when such thoughts are affectively toned. However, existing constructs targeting work-related thinking are predominantly time-unspecific, possibly overlooking a substantial portion of work-related cognitions that occur on a daily basis. We therefore develop a comprehensive, multidimensional conceptualization of work prospection, as well as an instrument (Work Prospection Scale; WPS) that allows the measurement of three types of work prospection (cognitive, positive affective, and negative affective). We place work prospection in its wider nomological network and evaluate its validity across three cross-sectional studies (total N = 825) and a 5-day diary study (N = 199). Psychometric properties of the scale were supported across studies, and the WPS was related to, yet empirically distinct from related constructs. Criterion-related results showed that positive affective work prospection during the evening was associated with less fatigue and more recovery in the next morning. Conversely, negative affective work prospection was related to more evening fatigue, as well as less next morning recovery. Cognitive work prospection had no significant relationship with recovery indicators. Additionally, our findings show that targeting future-oriented cognitions adds to the prediction of employee recovery beyond time-unspecific measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-939
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Volume31
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Work prospection
  • time-orientation
  • employee recovery
  • scale development
  • OF-FIT INDEXES
  • SLEEP QUALITY
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DETACHMENT
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • POSITIVE EMOTIONS
  • UNFINISHED TASKS
  • SOCIAL STRESSORS
  • MEDIATING ROLE
  • JOB STRESSORS

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