Focus of attention at work and organization-based self-esteem

Donald G. Gardner, Jon L. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to examine the questions “How does employees' focus of attention at work theoretically relate to organization-based self-esteem?”, and “Does job focus and off-job focus moderate relationships between organization-based self-esteem, and employee attitudes and perceptions of job complexity?”. Participants in two different samples completed questionnaires containing measures of organization-based self-esteem, focus of attention at work, job complexity, and a variety of attitudes and behavioral intentions. What and how much employees think about when they are at work changes relationships between organization-based self-esteem and employee perceptions of and attitudes towards their workplaces. Job focus and off-job focus of attention intensified or weakened relationships with organization-based self-esteem. Conclusions about causality are constrained by the cross-sectional data collected in this study. It appears that managers should attempt to draw employees' attention to self-esteem bolstering aspects of their jobs; and away from debilitating ones. Societies benefit by having members with positive well-being, to which organization-based self-esteem may contribute. This is the first theoretical analysis and empirical study of relationships between organization-based self-esteem and employee focus of attention at work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-132
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 8 2013


  • Employees attitudes
  • Employees behaviour
  • Focus of attention at work
  • Job complexity
  • Organization-based self-esteem
  • Organizations
  • Self-verification


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