Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul Spector


anger, depressive mood, fatigue, job satisfaction, psychological health, self-esteem


This dissertation focuses on an occupational stressor that has been recently introduced to the literature, illegitimate tasks, or tasks that seem unreasonable or unnecessary at work. Previous work has demonstrated the relationship between illegitimate tasks and a narrow set of discrete emotions as well as negative employee performance behaviors. The current research contributes to the literature by expanding the nomological network associated with illegitimate tasks and uses a rigorous daily diary methodology in a full-time working sample. It was expected that illegitimate tasks reduce state levels of self-esteem as well as other employee well-being indicators including anger, depressive mood, fatigue, job satisfaction, and sleep quality. Ninety participants filled out trait level surveys and subsequently completed daily dairy questionnaires three times daily for two workweeks. Daily diaries assessed experiences of illegitimate tasks as well as self-esteem and well-being. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to test primary hypotheses. Results indicate that anger and job satisfaction are consistently, significantly associated with illegitimate task episodes throughout workdays; however, responses dissipate overnight. Depressive mood and fatigue tend to be related to illegitimate tasks as the workday carries on and these responses appear to persist into the following workday. Results are consistent with the notion that illegitimate tasks reduce state self-esteem. However, high trait levels of self-esteem may negate this relationship. No effects on sleep quality were evident. In sum, daily experience of illegitimate task episodes represents a meaningful occupational stressor that predicts reductions in employee self-esteem and employee well-being.