Performance pressure acts as a double-edged sword for employees. Based on an approach/avoidance framework, we theorize that performance pressure produces both positive and negative effects on employees' in-role behaviors via approach motivation (i.e., self-objectification) and avoidance motivation (i.e., workplace anxiety), and work meaningfulness moderates employees' reactions to performance pressure. We examine our hypotheses using data from a sample of 345 employees in various organizations. The results show that self-objectification provides an approach motive that mediates the positive indirect effect of performance pressure on employees' in-role behaviors. However, workplace anxiety provides an avoidance motive that mediates the negative indirect effect of performance pressure on employees' in-role behaviors. Work meaningfulness strengthens both the approach and avoidance tendencies that employees experience under performance pressure. Our findings have significant theoretical and managerial implications.
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- approach/avoidance motivation
- in-role behaviors
- performance pressure
- work meaningfulness
- workplace anxiety