Skip to main content Accessibility help

Drivers of working longer: Results from a large-scale and representative German employee survey

  • Anika Schulz-Dadaczynski (a1), Johannes Wendsche (a1), Andrea Lohmann-Haislah (a1) and Nicole Stab (a1)


Most research on the factors driving employees to work longer than expected or preagreed has focused on behaviors of work extension and has widely neglected work intensification. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate whether job demands, as well as employees' job-related resources and personal resources (skill discretion, educational level), predict behavioral indicators of work extension (total working hours, overtime) and work intensification (skipping mandatory rest breaks). We use data from the sixth wave of a large cross-sectional and representative German employee survey (N = 10 148). The findings suggest that job demands and skill discretion are positively associated with the different behaviors of working longer. The relationship between work extension and skill discretion is stronger for higher-educated employees than for lower-educated employees. Our findings suggest that specific job demands and resources must be considered simultaneously to explain working longer and to differentiate between behaviors of working longer.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email:


Hide All
Algera, J. A. (1990). The job characteristics model of work motivation revisited. In Kleinbeck, U., Quast, H.-H., Thierry, H. & Häcker, H. (Eds.), Work motivation (pp. 85103). Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Anger, S. (2005). Working Time as an Investment? The Effects of Unpaid Overtime on Wages, Promotions, and Layoffs. DIW Diskussion paper series, No. 535.
Ashforth, B. E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. The Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 2039.
Bakker, A. B., Boyd, C. M., Dollard, M., Gillespie, N., Winefield, A. H., & Stough, C. (2010). The role of personality in the job demands-resources model: A study of Australian academic staff. The Career Development International, 15(7), 622636.
Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2014). Job demands-resources theory. In Chen, P. Y., & Cooper, C. L. (Eds.), Work and Wellbeing (pp. 3764). New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.
BAuA (2016). Arbeitszeitreport Deutschland 2016. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin.
Beckers, D. G. J., van der Linden, D., Smulders, P. G. W., Kompier, M. A. J., Taris, T. W., & Geurts, S. A. E. (2008). Voluntary or involuntary? Control over overtime and rewards for overtime in relation to fatigue and work satisfaction. Work & Stress, 22(1), 3350.
Blau, P. M. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley, Transaction Publishers.
Bos, J. T., Dongers, N. C., Bouwman-Brouwer, K. M., & Van der Gulden, J. W. (2009). Work characteristics and determinants of job satisfaction in four age groups: University employees' point of view. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 82, 12491259.
Bredehöft, F., Dettmers, J., Hoppe, A., & Janneck, M. (2015). Individual work design as a job demand: The double-edged sword of autonomy. Psychology of Everyday Activity, 8, 1224.
Brett, J. M., & Stroh, L. K. (2003). Working 61 plus hours a week: Why do managers do it? Journal of Applied Psychology 88(1), 6778.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016). Hours of Work. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from
Chrisopoulos, S., Dollard, M. F., Winefield, A. H., & Dormann, C. (2010). Increasing the probability of finding an interaction in work stress research: A two-wave longitudinal test of the triple-match principle. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(1), 1737.
Clark, M. A., Michel, J. S., & Stevens, G. W. (2015). Affective reactions and subsequent consequences of heavy work investments. In Harpaz, I., & Snir, R. (Eds.), Heavy work investment: Its nature, sources, outcomes, and future Directions (pp. 187203). New York, NY, USA: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Clark, M. A., Michel, J. S., Zhdanova, L., Pui, S. Y., & Baltes, B. B. (2016). All work and no play? A meta-analytic examination of the correlates and outcomes of workaholism. Journal of Management, 42(7), 18361873.
Clausen, T., Nielsen, K., Carneiro, I. G., & Borg, V. (2012). Job demands, job resources and long-term sickness absence in the Danish eldercare services: A prospective analysis of register-based outcomes. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(1), 127136.
Clausen, T., Tufte, P., & Borg, V. (2014). Why are they leaving? Causes of actual turnover in the Danish eldercare services. Journal of Nursing Management, 22(5), 583592.
Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 155159.
Crawford, E. R., LePine, J. A., & Rich, B. L. (2010). Linking job demands and resources to employee engagement and burnout: A theoretical extension and meta-analytic test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(5), 834848.
Dawson, J. F. (2014). Moderation in management research: What, why, when, and how. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(1), 119.
De Jonge, J., Spoor, E., Sonnentag, S., Dormann, C., & van den Tooren, M. (2012). “Take a break?!” Off-job recovery, job demands, and job resources as predictors of health, active learning, and creativity. European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, 21(3), 321348.
Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Fried, Y. (2012). Work orientations in the job demands-resources model. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 27(6), 557575.
Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499512.
Dettmers, J., Deci, N., Berset, M., Krause, A. (2016). Self-endangering work behavior. In Wienke, M., Cacace, M. & Fischer, S. (Eds.), Healthy at work (pp. 3753). Heidelberg: Springer.
Dewe, P. J., O'Driscoll, M. P., & Cooper, C. L. (2010). Coping with work stress: A review and critique. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell.
Eurofund (2016). Sixth European working conditions survey - overview report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Feldman, D. C., & Arnold, H. J. (1978). Position choice: Comparing the importance of organizational and job factors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63(6), 706710.
Fried, Y., & Ferris, G. R. (1987). The validity of the Job characteristics model: A review and meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 40(2), 287322.
Gagné, M., & Deci, E. L. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(4), 331362.
Gagné, M., Senécal, C. B., & Koestner, R. (1997). Proximal job characteristics, feelings of empowerment, and intrinsic motivation: A multidimensional model. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27(14), 12221240.
Galperin, B. L., & Burke, R. J. (2006). Uncovering the relationship between workaholism and workplace destructive and constructive deviance: An exploratory study. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(2), 331347.
Gao, Y. Q., Pan, B. C., Sun, W., Wu, H., Wang, J. N., & Wang, L. (2012). Depressive symptoms among Chinese nurses: Prevalence and the associated factors. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(5), 11661175.
Genin, E., Haines, V. Y., Pelletier, D., Rousseau, V., & Marchand, A. (2016). Why the long hours? Job demands and social exchange dynamics. Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 55(3), 539548.
Gensicke, M., Tschersich, N., & Hartmann, J. (2012). BIBB/BAuA-Erwerbstätigenbefragung 2011/2012. Feldbericht - Los 1. München: TNS Infratest Sozialforschung.
Gouldner, A. W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American Sociological Review, 25(2), 161178.
Grant, A. M. (2008). Does intrinsic motivation fuel the prosocial fire? Motivational synergy in predicting persistence, performance, and productivity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(1), 4858.
Griffin, J. M., Greiner, B. A., Stansfeld, S. A., & Marmot, M. (2007). The effect of self-reported and observed job conditions on depression and anxiety symptoms: A comparison of theoretical models. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(4), 334349.
Guglielmi, D., Simbula, S., Schaufeli, W. B., & Depolo, M. (2012). Self-efficacy and workaholism as initiators of the job demands-resources model. The Career Development International, 17(4), 375389.
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior & Human Performance, 16(2), 250279.
Hall, A., Siefer, A., Tiemann, M. (2015). Employment survey of the working population on qualification and working conditions in Germany 2012. suf_4.0. Bonn: Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.
Häusser, J. A., Mojzisch, A., Niesel, M., & Schultz-Hardt, S. (2010). Ten years on: A review of recent research on the job-demand-control(-support) model and psychological well-being. Work & Stress, 24(1), 135.
Höge, T. (2011). Perceived flexibility requirements at work and the entreployee-work-orientation: Concept and measurement. Psychologie des Alltagshandelns, 4(1), 321.
Holland, D. W. (2007). Work addiction: Costs and solutions for individuals, relationships and organizations. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 22(4), 115.
Houlfort, N., Philippe, F. L., Vallerand, R. J., & Ménard, J. (2014). On passion and heavy work investment: Personal and organizational outcomes. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(1), 2545.
Hu, Q., Schaufeli, W. B., & Taris, T. W. (2017). How are changes in exposure to job demands and job resources related to burnout and engagement? A longitudinal study among Chinese nurses and police officers. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 33(5), 631644. doi:10.1002/smi.2750.
Humphrey, S. E., Nahrgang, J. D., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Integrating motivational, social, and contextual work design features: A meta-analytic summary and theoretical extension of the work design literature. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(5), 13321356.
Huynh, J. Y., Xanthopoulou, D., & Winefield, A. H. (2014). The Job demands-resources model in emergency service volunteers: Examining the mediating roles of exhaustion, work engagement and organizational connectedness. Work & Stress, 28(3), 305322.
Johnstone, A., & Johnston, L. (2005). The relationship between organizational climate, occupational type and workaholism. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 34(3), 181188.
Kanfer, R., Frese, M., & Johnson, R. E. (2017). Motivation related to work: A century of progress. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 338355.
Karasek, R. A. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: Implications for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(2), 285308.
Kivimäki, M., Jokela, M., Nyberg, S. T., Singh-Manoux, A., Fransson, E. I., Alfredsson, L., … Virtanen, M. (2015). Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals. The Lancet, 386(10005), 17391746.
Kristensen, T. S., Bjorner, J. B., Christensen, K. B., & Borg, V. (2004). The distinction between work pace and working hours in the measurement of quantitative demands at work. Work & Stress, 18(4), 305322.
Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D., & Johnson, E. C. (2005). Consequences of individual's fit at work: A meta-analysis of person-job, person-organization, person-group, and person-supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 281342.
Kühnel, J., Sonnentag, S., & Bledow, R. (2012). Resources and time pressure as day-level antecedents of work engagement. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 85(1), 181198.
Lepine, J. A., Podsakoff, N. P., & Lepine, M. A. (2005). A meta-analytic test of the challenge stressor-hindrance stressor framework: An explanation for inconsistent relationships among stressors and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 48(5), 764775.
Mazzetti, G., Schaufeli, W. B., & Guglielmi, D. (2014). Are workaholics born or made? Relations of workaholism with person characteristics and overwork climate. International Journal of Stress Management, 21(3), 227254.
Meijman, T. F., & Mulder, G. (1998). Psychological aspects of workload. In Drenth, P. J. D., Thierry, H., & de Wolff, C. J. (Eds.), Handbook of work and organizational: Work psychology (pp. 533). Hove, England: Psychology Press/Erlbaum (UK) Taylor & Francis.
Ng, T. W. H., & Feldman, D. C. (2008). Long work hours: A social identity perspective on meta-analysis data. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29(7), 853880.
Nunally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1978). Psychometric theory. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Olds, D. M., & Clarke, S. P. (2010). The effect of work hours on adverse events and errors in health care. Journal of Safety Research, 41(2), 153162.
Pannenberg, M. (2002). Long-Term Effects of Unpaid Overtime: Evidence for West Germany. IZA Discussion paper series, 614.
Papagiannaki, E. (2014). Rising unpaid overtime: A critical approach to existing theories. International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 8, 6888.
Parhizi, S., Steege, L. M., & Pasupathy, K. S. (2013). Mining the relationships between psychosocial factors and fatigue dimensions among registered nurses. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 43(1), 8290.
Parker, S. K. (2014). Beyond motivation: Job and work design for development, health, ambidexterity, and more. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 661691.
Parker, S. K., Morgeson, F. P., & Johns, G. (2017). One hundred years of work design research: Looking back and looking forward. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 403420.
Podsakoff, N. P., LePine, J. A., & LePine, M. A. (2007). Differential challenge stressor-hindrance stressor relationships with job attitudes, turnover intentions, turnover, and withdrawal behavior: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(2), 438454.
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2012). Sources of method bias in social science research and recommendations on how to control it. Annual Review of Psychology, 63, 539569.
Reina-Tamayo, A. M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2017). Episodic demands, resources, and engagement: An experience-sampling study. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 16(3), 125136.
Schaufeli, W. B., & Taris, T. W. (2014). A critical review of the job demands-resources model: Implications for improving work and health. In Bauer, G. F., & Hämmig, O. (Eds.), Bridging occupational, organizational and public health: A transdisciplinary approach (pp. 4368). New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
Schulz-Dadaczynski, A. (2017). Umgang mit Zeit-und Leistungsdruck. Eher Anpassung als Reduktion? Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung, 12(3), 160166.
Siemsen, E., Roth, A., & Oliveira, P. (2010). Common method bias in regression models with linear, quadratic, and interaction effects. Organizational Research Methods, 13(3), 456476.
Snir, R., & Harpaz, I. (2012). Beyond workaholism: Towards a general model of heavy work investment. Human Resource Management Review, 22(3), 232243.
Spector, P. E. (1985). Higher-order need strength as a moderator of the job scope–employee outcome relationship: A meta-analysis. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 58(2), 119127.
Spoor, E., de Jonge, J., & Hamers, J. P. (2010). Design of the DIRECT-project: Interventions to increase job resources and recovery opportunities to improve job-related health, well-being, and performance outcomes in nursing homes. BMC Public Health, 10, 293.
Taris, T., Van Beek, I., & Schaufeli, W. (2015). The beauty versus the beast: On the motives of engaged and workaholic employees. In Harpaz, I., & Snir, R. (Eds.), Heavy work investment: Its nature, sources, outcomes, and future Directions (pp. 121139). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Van Beek, I., Taris, T. W., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2011). Workaholic and work engaged employees: Dead ringers or worlds apart? Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16(4), 468482.
Van den Broeck, A., Ferris, D. L., Chang, C.-H., & Rosen, C. C. (2016). A review of self-determination theory's basic psychological needs at work. Journal of Management, 42(5), 11951229.
Van den Tooren, M., de Jonge, J., & Dormann, C. (2012). A matter of match? An experiment on choosing specific job resources in different demanding work situations. International Journal of Stress Management, 19(4), 311332.
Van Der Hulst, M., & Geurts, S. (2001). Associations between overtime and psychological health in high and low reward jobs. Work & Stress, 15(3), 227240.
Virtanen, M., Ferrie, J. E., Singh-Manoux, A., Shipley, M. J., Vahtera, J., Marmot, M. G., & Kivimäki, M. (2010). Overtime work and incident coronary heart disease: The whitehall II prospective cohort study. European Heart Journal, 31, 17371744.
Virtanen, M., Stansfeld, S. A., Fuhrer, R., Ferrie, J. E., & Kivimäki, M. (2012). Overtime work as a predictor of major depressive episode: A 5-year follow-up of the whitehall II study. PLoS ONE, 7(1), e30719.
Virtanen, M., Jokela, M., Madsen, I. E. H., Hanson, L. L. M., Lallukka, T., Nyberg, S. T., … Kivimaki, M. (2018). Long working hours and depressive symptoms: Systematic review and metaanalysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 44(3), 239250. doi:10.5271/sjweh.3712.
Wendsche, J., & Lohmann-Haislah, A. (2017). A meta-analysis on antecedents and outcomes of detachment from work. Frontiers in Psychology (Online Journal), 7, 20722072.
Wendsche, J., Lohmann-Haislah, A., & Wegge, J. (2016). The impact of supplementary short rest breaks on task performance – A meta-analysis., 2, 124.
Widmer, P. S., Semmer, N. K., Kälin, W., Jacobshagen, N., & Meier, L. L. (2012). The ambivalence of challenge stressors: Time pressure associated with both negative and positive well-being. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(2), 422433.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed