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Hannah Berkers

What do you do and who do you think you are? Activities speak louder than words


In focusing on what employees do, this dissertation provides opportunities to assess whether particular activities are congruent with who employees are, and whether, and to what extent, those activities constrain or enhance employee well-being and performance. My research shows that each individual activity can be related to employee well-being. Changes in work over time may thus sometimes imply that what employees do at a certain moment no longer sufficiently reflects who employees are professionally or what they can deal with in terms of workload. Incongruence between what employees do and what the employee and/or the organization need in terms of well-being or performance may also unintentionally occur based on employees being true to themselves or their calling rather than rational decisions. Although more research is needed to understand how to address incongruences when they occur, a greater understanding of what employees do, how they perceive these activities, and how this impacts well-being and performance is an important first step in balancing between meaningful and meaningless work.
Continuous assessment what employees do at the level of activities may provide researchers and practitioners alike information to understand how balance in work can be (unintentionally) disrupted and (intentionally) be regained to optimize employees’ well-being and performance through changing what employees do, who they are, or their subjective experiences of the two.