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dc.contributor.authorLebel, R.D.
dc.contributor.authorYang, X.
dc.contributor.authorParker, Sharon
dc.contributor.authorKamran-Morley, D.
dc.identifier.citationLebel, R.D. and Yang, X. and Parker, S.K. and Kamran-Morley, D. 2022. What Makes You Proactive Can Burn You Out: The Downside of Proactive Skill Building Motivated by Financial Precarity and Fear. Journal of Applied Psychology.

Proactivity at work is generally assumed to be preceded by positive motivational states with positive outcomes for employees. However, recent perspectives suggest downsides to proactive behavior, including that it can be driven by negative emotions or experienced as depleting for employees. Bringing these previously disconnected ideas together, we utilize cognitive–motivational–relational and self-determination theories to holistically examine the negative antecedents of proactivity and its outcomes. We argue that employees, particularly those with high impression management motives, experience burnout when financial precarity and fear drive them to proactively learn new skills. We test and show support for these hypotheses in a four-wave study of 1, 315 university employees during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, an external event that threatened employees’ financial security. Theoretically, our findings broaden our understanding of the antecedents and consequences of proactivity, while expanding the role of fear at work beyond “flight” responses to include motivating protective effort. Practically, our findings help to understand both how employees proactively develop their skills in light of financial precarity and how these proactive efforts are experienced as depleting.

dc.titleWhat Makes You Proactive Can Burn You Out: The Downside of Proactive Skill Building Motivated by Financial Precarity and Fear
dc.typeJournal Article
dcterms.source.titleJournal of Applied Psychology

Copyright © American Psychological Association, 2022. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:

curtin.departmentFuture of Work Institute
curtin.accessStatusOpen access
curtin.facultyFaculty of Business and Law
curtin.contributor.orcidParker, Sharon [0000-0002-0978-1873]
curtin.contributor.scopusauthoridParker, Sharon [7401647326]

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