Doing good, doing harm, being well and burning out: The interactions of perceived prosocial and antisocial impact in service work

Adam M. Grant, Elizabeth M. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

Service employees often perceive their actions as harming and benefiting others, and these perceptions have significant consequences for their own well-being. We conducted two studies to test the hypothesis that perceptions of benefiting others attenuate the detrimental effects of perceptions of harming others on the well-being of service employees. In Study I, a survey of 377 transportation service employees and 99 secretaries, perceived prosocial impact moderated the negative association between perceived antisocial impact and job satisfaction, such that the association decreased as perceived prosocial impact increased. In Study 2, a survey of 79 school teachers, perceived prosocial impact moderated the association between perceived antisocial impact and burnout, and this moderated relationship was mediated by moral justification; the results held after controlling for common antecedents of burnout The results suggest that perceptions of benefiting others may protect service employees against the decreased job satisfaction and increased burnout typically associated with perceptions of harming others. Implications for research on burnout, job satisfaction, positive organizational scholarship and job design are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-691
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

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