Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Zhiqing Zhou

Committee Members

Harold Goldstein

Charles Scherbaum

Kristin Sommer

Logan Watts

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


illegitimate tasks, in-role performance, OCBs, perceived sharing, strain, workplace stress


Illegitimate tasks are unreasonable and unnecessary tasks that violate an individual’s work identity and the existing literature suggests that they can be linked with various employee strains. The detrimental aspect of illegitimate tasks is mainly based on the recipients’ perception rather than on their inherent characteristics, yet prior research on illegitimate tasks fails to account for contextual factors that might affect the perception of this experience and its outcomes. In addition, behavioral outcomes within the domain of employee performance, such as in-role performance and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have been largely overlooked. The current research explored the relationship between perceived illegitimate tasks and in-role performance and OCBs via state self-esteem and state negative affect. Moreover, perceived coworker sharing of illegitimate tasks was tested as a first stage moderator of the relationship between perceived illegitimate tasks and state self-esteem and negative affect. Using a hand-off approach, 188 participant-coworker pairs from a variety of industries and occupations were recruited through a panel company. The focal participants completed a 10-minute survey, including measures of illegitimate tasks, perceived coworker sharing of illegitimate tasks, state self-esteem, and state negative affect. Following the focal participant’s completion, a coworker completed a seven-minute survey largely with ratings of the focal participant’s in-role iv performance and OCBs. Results showed that illegitimate tasks are negatively related to state self-esteem and positively related to state negative affect. Furthermore, state self-esteem was positively related to in-role performance. No other analyses revealed statistically significant relationships. Theoretically, the results of this study provides support for a number of tenets of the ‘stress as disrespect’ (SAD) pathway in the Stress-as-Offense-to-Self model (Semmer et al., 2007). The insights gathered from this research may be useful in increasing the understanding of how individuals react to their tasks but also, to tasks assigned to coworkers. More specifically, managers may increasingly hold themselves accountable for assigning legitimate tasks to employees and also ensuring that their direct reports understand the legitimate nature of these tasks through framing or giving an explanation for the task.