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Exercise Frequency Predicts Performance among White-Collar Workers

Poster (konferens)
Författare Danilo Garcia
Patricia Rosenberg
Trevor Archer
Saleh Moradi
Publicerad i 24rd Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Institutionen för neurovetenskap och fysiologi, sektionen för psykiatri och neurokemi
Psykologiska institutionen
Språk en
Ämnesord Call Centre, Exercise Frequency, Learning Climate, Performance, Physical Activity
Ämneskategorier Psykologi


Most call centers define performance as the percentage of the scheduled “time on the phone”, this specific type of work design might imply unfavourable working conditions for employees that might affect learning how to cope with the rapid external and internal changes in working life. For example, minimizing opportunities for employees to organize their own work and the opportunities given for making decisions and initiating action (i.e., Autonomy). Moreover, physical activity has been found related to performance on cognitive complex tasks, perhaps because frequent exercise reduces stress symptoms and improves mental states, and in the long term, enable arousal levels to be more appropriate adjusted for cognitive work and by increased stress resistance. These suggestions are investigated in the present study among white-collar workers at a call center. The aim was to investigate if exercise frequency and the perceived work climate predicted workers’ performance on the telephone. At the beginning of the Study, workers (N = 110) self-reported how often they engaged in physical activity and their perception of seven work climate variables: management, time to do the job, autonomy and responsibility, team style, opportunities to develop, guidelines to do the work, contentedness with the workplace (Learning Climate Questionnaire by Bartram el al., 1993). Each worker’s performance (average percent of time on the phone) was then assessed by the same system handling the calls each day over a five month period. To understand which factors contributed to performance over the five months period, we conducted structural equation-modeling analysis. The results showed that low contentedness and low autonomy predicted high performance at work. In other words, when workers perceived low control over how they organize their work and general low feelings of satisfaction with the workplace climate (i.e., complaints, moans, and negative attitudes from colleagues) they spent more time answering calls from customers. However, frequent exercise predicted high performance among workers. In conclusion, call centers might need to emphasize the connection between performance and important measures of work climate by encouraging workers to take responsibility for learning and being given the freedom to experiment and take risks (i.e., autonomy). It is plausible to suggest that such work climate might lead to lower performance, at least in a call center environment. Nonetheless, low Contentedness for example, might arise when colleagues do not get on well, when they tend to blame each other for the work they do and people are resistant to trying new ways of doing things. Such workplace climate might lead to low performance in the long run. More important, encouraging and creating opportunities to frequent physical activity might compensate the negative effects of high autonomy, for example, by boosting up workers’ performance.

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