Whereas several studies have demonstrated that core self-evaluations (CSE)–or one’s appraisals about one’s own self-worth, capabilities, and competences–relate to job outcomes, less is known about the mechanisms underlying these relationships. In the present study, we address this issue by examining the role of within- and between-person variation in CSE in the relationship between work pressure and task performance. We hypothesized that (a) work pressure relates to task performance in a curvilinear way, (b) state CSE mediates the curvilinear relationship between work pressure and task performance, and (c) the relationship between work pressure and state CSE is moderated by trait CSE. Our hypotheses were tested via a 10-day daily diary study with 55 employees in which trait CSE was measured at baseline, while work pressure, task performance, and state CSE were assessed on a daily basis. Bayesian multilevel path analysis showed that work pressure affects task performance via state CSE, with state CSE increasing as long as the employee feels that (s)he is able to handle the work pressure, while it decreases when the level of work pressure exceeds the employees’ coping abilities. Moreover, we found that for people low on trait CSE, the depleting effect of work pressure via state CSE happens for low levels of work pressure, while for people high in trait CSE the depleting effect is located at high levels of work pressure. Together, our findings suggest that the impact of work pressure on task performance is driven by a complex interplay of between- and within-person differences in CSE.
- core self-evaluations, task performance, state, trait, within-person, between-person