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Are Workaholism and Work Engagement in the Eye of the Beholder?

A Multirater Perspective on Different Forms of Working Hard

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759/a000318

Abstract. Virtually all studies on workaholism and engagement – two forms of heavy work investment – rely on self-part questionnaires. However, the limitations of self-reports are widely acknowledged and in their final sections, papers on workaholism and engagement typically lament the use of such measures. Investigating data other than respondents’ self-reports, such as peer ratings, may overcome these limitations. Using a sample of 73 dyads composed of focal workers and their colleagues, the present study aimed: (1) to compare focal workers’ and coworkers’ perceptions concerning their levels of work engagement and workaholism; and (2) to explore the discriminant validity of engagement and workaholism. A multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) matrix and a correlated trait-correlated method model, the CT-C(M-1) model, were examined. Our results showed a considerable agreement between both raters (i.e., focal workers and coworkers) in levels of engagement and workaholism. In contrast to previous findings, a significant difference between raters on the cognitive dimension of workaholism (i.e., working compulsively) was observed. Moreover, our results provided further evidence for the discriminant validity between the two forms of heavy work investment.

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