Organizational constraints and performance: an indirect effects model

Shani Pindek, David J. Howard, Alexandra Krajcevska, Paul E. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Surprisingly, most studies have failed to demonstrate a strong correlation between organizational constraints (conditions at work that make doing a job difficult) and job performance. The purpose of this paper is to challenge the view that constraints are a direct barrier on performance and take an alternative approach whereby constraints have an indirect effect via decreased motivation and increased workload. Further, differential effects of various constraints are examined. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 660 engineers licensed in the state of Florida using a single online survey. Findings: Qualitative results showed that the most commonly experienced constraints were from coworkers and organizational rules and procedures. Constraints identified as having a greater detrimental effect on motivation are from the supervisor, and organizational rules and procedures. Quantitative results supported an indirect effects model that includes an indirect path via motivation, and a path via workload, which had a curvilinear component. Originality/value: This is one of few studies to explain the relationship between constraints and performance, rather than simply estimate it. The use of mixed methods allows us to gain an in-depth understanding of constraints, and the convergence of findings across the methods increases confidence in this study’s results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 29 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Shani Pindek, David J. Howard, Alexandra Krajcevska and Paul E. Spector.


  • Job demands
  • Job performance
  • Motivation
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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