Idle Hands are the Devil's Playthings: Boredom and Production Deviance



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Employee boredom may produce serious consequences for organizations. Despite the prevalence of boredom, researchers have generally neglected its occurrence in organizational settings (Vodanovich, 2003; Fisher, 1993). Applying both social exchange (Blau, 1964) and stress theories (Demerouti et al., 2001; Hobfoll, 1988), I propose and tested a conditional process model in which: (a) boredom leads to production deviance, a counterproductive work behavior, both directly and indirectly through emotional exhaustion; and (b) conscientiousness acts as a buffer for those experiencing boredom. Results of analyses of data collected from 289 public sector workers revealed that: (a) the effects of boredom on production deviance were both direct and indirect through emotional exhaustion; and (b) conscientiousness moderated the relationship between emotional exhaustion and production deviance (i.e., the second stage of mediation). Specifically, emotional exhaustion was more strongly related to production deviance among workers low than high in conscientiousness.



Boredom, Production deviance, Emotional exhaustion, Conscientiousness