Experimental evidence for the effects of task repetitiveness on mental strain and objective work performance

Jan Alexander Häusser*, Stefan Schulz-Hardt, Thomas Schultze, Anne Tomaschek, Andreas Mojzisch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


People frequently have to work in high repetitive jobs. Previous research has focused exclusively on the effects of task repetitiveness on well-being, while neglecting effects on work performance. In the present study, we aimed to fill this void by conducting two workplace simulations with experimental manipulations of task repetitiveness. Participants worked for about 5 hours at either a computer workstation, compiling computer hardware packages according to customer requests (Experiment 1, N=160), or at an assembly line, piecing together equipment sets for furniture (Experiment 2, N=213). Both experiments provide consistent evidence that high repetitiveness has a detrimental effect on well-being, whereas work performance increases under conditions of high repetitiveness. On a practical level, our study hence shows that high task repetitiveness is a double-edged sword for both employees and organizations. On a conceptual level, our findings emphasize the necessity to account for both mental strain and work performance when examining the effects of task repetitiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-721
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date11 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Job design
  • Job enlargement
  • Mental strain
  • Task repetitiveness
  • Well-being
  • Work performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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