A Conservation of Resources Approach to the Multiple Dimensions of Sleep in Organizational Behavior



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Sleep is an important organizational phenomenon with significant implications for employee attitude and behaviors at work. While the organizational literature on sleep has made remarkable theoretical strides regarding sleep quantity and quality (such as subjective assessments of insomnia), this literature has grown without examining the existence of different types of sleep. Models developed around sleep in the organizational studies appear to have evolved separately from the wider body of research on sleep. Notably, one of the primary tenets of this work asserts that sleep is not a single mode of consciousness but is multimodal. Sleep can be divided into non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and they each are characterized by different neural activity and psychological functions. Therefore, given that the management literature has conceptualized and captured sleep as a unidimensional state, it appears at odds with the neuroscience of sleep which suggests that sleep is a complex unconscious behavior. Neglecting sleep states runs the risk of missing central underlying processes in understanding how sleep impacts employee responses to daily work demands. I address this problem by integrating the neurocognitive approach to sleep with the conservation of resources (COR) theory. In the first study, I examine the role of REM sleep for employees to feel recovered in order to tackle daily work demands, as well as the implication of daily resource expenditures affecting this process. In the second study, I further expand on the role of REM sleep to assess how it enhances positive self-referential thought which is subsequently associated with both in-role and extra-role daily performance behaviors, as well as the implication of resource substitution in high quality social exchanges at work. Finally, the third study integrates both REM and NREM sleep to suggest a dual pathway involving psychological and energetic processes that predict employees’ ability to engage in organizationally-desired behaviors without subverting their well-being. Across three experience sampling studies conducted in organizations across continents, I draw on the classification of sleep into two broad types, theorizing about the potential role of each sleep state and its implications for employees’ attitude and behavior at work. I test these hypotheses by integrating actigraphy with a Fitbit Charge 3, along with proximal measurement of employees’ daily lives using ExpiWell. Results from these three studies provide large support for key aspect of this dissertation, where REM sleep plays a central role is acquiring the necessary psychological resources necessary for employees to engage in behaviors that benefit organizations while not eroding their psychological well-being. Furthermore, it shows that central contingencies in resources permeating organizations can help ease the conservation process emanating from sleep. Taken together this work yields theoretical and practical implications about the significant influence that specific sleep states have on employees, and their organizations.



Organizational behavior, Employees, Sleep -- Physiological aspects