CSRDA Discussion Paper Series

No. 86 Do Employees Grow during Challenging Periods?: An examination of the within-person effects of challenge stressors on learning
Megumi Ikeda, Nobutada Yokouchi
Megumi IkedaUniversity of Tsukuba
Nobutada YokouchiThe University of Tokyo
challenge-hindrance stress frameworkworkplace learningstrainwithin-person effectjob demands
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-BeingGoal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Japanese Panel Study of Employment Dynamics, 2016

The challenge–hindrance stressor framework can be used to examine learning in the workplace. However, two issues exist regarding the association between challenge stressors and learning: (1) there are two hypotheses related to challenge stressors and learning: a linear association hypothesis based on action regulation theory and an inverted U-shaped hypothesis based on the comfort zone model, and (2) few studies have examined the association with learning using longitudinal data. This study examined the within-person effects of a challenge stressor on learning and strain using Japanese panel data obtained annually for eight years. The findings reveal that cognitive demands have a linear relationship with learning and that workload has an inverted U-shaped relationship with learning. Our findings suggest that within-person effects may be more likely to benefit from challenge stressors than between-person effects. Moreover, depending on the type of job demands, the assumptions of the challenge-hindrance stressor framework should be improved, and the assumption that there is a linear relationship between learning and workload may need to be revised.