Let's get physical! A time-lagged examination of the motivation for daily physical activity and implications for next-day performance and health

Yolanda Na Li, Bonnie Hayden Cheng, Bingjie Yu, Julie N. Y. Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although physical activity is presumed to influence individuals’ work, motivation for daily physical activity and resulting implications for job performance are absent in the management literature. Integrating conservation of resources theory with the literature on physical activity, we build a theoretical model to address the nomological network of physical activity, inclusive of a predictor (autonomous motivation), mediators (resource caravans: physical, affective, and cognitive), outcomes (performance and health), and boundary condition (job self-efficacy). We test our theoretical model in two experience sampling studies that track employees’ physical activity across 10 workdays, using multiple data sources (self, supervisor, and objective). Findings across two studies consistently reveal that autonomous motivation prompts employees’ average levels of daily physical activity, which, on a daily basis, generates resource caravans—physical (sleep quality), affective (vigor), and cognitive (task focus)—that, in turn, variously benefit next-day performance (task and creative performance) and health (somatic symptoms). Next-day task performance is enhanced through increased task focus, while next-day somatic symptoms are reduced through improved sleep quality and vigor. Further, job self-efficacy strengthens the benefits of daily physical activity on work outcomes through sleep quality and task focus but not vigor.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
JournalPersonnel Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • autonomous motivation
  • job performance
  • job self-efficacy
  • physical activity
  • resource caravans
  • somatic symptoms

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