How do employees react to overworked colleagues: a cognitive appraisal process

Jia LI, Xiangyu GAO, Sen XU*, Hongxu LI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Highly competitive society driven employees to work excessively hard. But the interpersonal influence of working excessively has not been fully examined. Based on the cognitive appraisal theory of stress, we proposed that colleague working excessively has mixed effects on employees’ well-being via stress appraisals. By analyzing two-wave data collected from 435 employees, we found that colleague working excessively indirectly influences employees’ emotional exhaustion and employees’ work engagement through the dual mechanisms of hindrance appraisal and challenge appraisal. Our study contributes to the stress literature by identifying colleague working excessively as a social stressor. Our study also broadens research on overtime work by exploring the effects of colleague working excessively on employees’ well-being. In addition, our study adds to the well-being literature by examining how and why colleague working excessively influences employees’ emotional exhaustion and work engagement. Our findings suggest managerial practitioners thinking about how they manage overworked employees. Flexible work arrangement, reasonable performance appraisal, and applicable training are highly recommended.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • Challenge appraisal
  • Colleague working excessively
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Hindrance appraisal
  • Work engagement


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