Fast or Slow: How Temporal Work Design Shapes Experienced Passage of Time and Job Performance

Helen H. Zhao, Hong Deng*, Rocky Peng Chen, Sharon K. Parker, Wei Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    20 Downloads (Pure)


    Experienced passage of time, the extent to which employees perceive the passage of work time as being fast or slow, is a fundamental aspect of work experience. We identify two novel temporal work design characteristics that can speed up employees’ experienced passage of time: temporal predictability and task segmentation. Jobs with high temporal predictability do not make employees go through uncertain wait times before embarking on their next task. High task segmentation occurs when a large chunk of work time is segmented by categorically different temporal markers. We tested a model in which temporal predictability and task segmentation affect experienced passage of time, which in turn influences job performance, with five studies: two experiments that established the internal validity of temporal predictability and task segmentation (Studies 1a and 1b), a naturalistic field study in a factory that investigated the natural consequences of distinct temporal work design (Study 2), an organizational field study that constructively replicated the model using a sample of knowledge workers and their supervisors (Study 3), and an online survey in which we connected our model with the broader work design literature (Study 4). Altogether, the studies support a new temporal approach to work design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2014–2033
    Number of pages20
    JournalAcademy of Management Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
    • Management of Technology and Innovation
    • Business and International Management
    • Strategy and Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • work design
    • temporal predictability
    • task segmentation
    • experienced passage of time
    • performance


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