IACMR Research Seminar Series Session #20

TOPIC: Charting New Terrain in Work Design: A Study of Hybrid Work Characteristics
SpeakerJia Lin Xie, University of Toronto
Time: 9:00- 10:15 am, Jan. 26th, 2022 (China Time, UTC+8)
Language: English
Register link:


Work is an extremely important part of human life. Research on work design has focused on work characteristics associated primarily with one of three domains—task, social, or contextual. While this research has contributed to our understanding of how the identified work characteristics influence employee attitudes, behaviors and well-being, questions remain as how the transformative change in the modern business environment has changed the nature of work design. This study presents an effort to map the conceptual landscape of work design. We introduces a new concept—hybrid work characteristics—that refer to work characteristics which are not fully captured within any one of the three domains but possess features from more than one domain. We identify boundarylessness, multitasking, non-work-related interruptions, and demand for constant learning as hybrid work characteristics. We theorize that boundarylessness, multitasking, and demand for constant learning carry both enriching and depleting potential, but non-work-related interruptions have only depleting potential. Furthermore, we developed instruments to assess these hybrid work characteristics and tested their relationships with jobholders’ job satisfaction, occupational commitment, emotional exhaustion, and somatic health symptoms, through three independent studies with a total of 968 employees across a wide range of jobs. The results demonstrated convergent, predictive, and discriminant validity for the newly developed scales, and showed partial support for our predictions. Taken together, this study suggests that studying hybrid work characteristics is particularly relevant in the modern work environment where work is becoming increasingly diffusive and polychronic and where information technologies have significantly affected how work is performed. 

Above and beyond an introduction of hybrid work characteristics, the presenter will provide a critical review of extant research on work design, including her own research, to reveal the importance and challenges inherent in charting new terrain in a well-established research field. Moreover, she will open the discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic has re-defined work design and highlight the importance for management researchers to use multiple perspectives in studying the changing world of work.

Speaker’s bio

Jia Lin Xie is Magna Professor in Management at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on work design, job stress, and cross-cultural organizational behavior. Her work has been published in such academic journals as Academy of Management JournalJournal of Applied PsychologyJournal of Behavioral Decision Making, Journal of ManagementJournal of Occupational and Organizational PsychologyJournal of Organizational Behavior, and International Journal of Human Resource Management,etc. Her research has been featured widely in the World Medical NewsNews World of CBCInternational Herald TribuneRadio Canada Internationalthe London TimesUSA Today, and National Post, among others.Moreover, Professor Xie is a highly respected busines educator and has taught not only many degree students but also executives around the world. She is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, and recently received the “Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award” from University of Toronto. 

Professor Xie has a passion for Chinese management research. She served as the President for International Association for Chinese Management Research (IACMR) and Senior Editor for IACMR’s journal Management and Organization Review. She has contributed to numerous IACMR research and teaching workshops. Also, she is involved in the internationalization of Academy of Management with her service to the International Theme Committee and the All Academy Chair. In addition, she has served many academic conferences in the capacities of sessional chair, discussant, and reviewer over the past three decades.