ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 2846-2856.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02846

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    


加锁锁1, 郭理1(), 蔡子君2, 毛日佑3   

  1. 1对外经济贸易大学国际商学院, 北京 100029
    2北京师范大学经济与工商管理学院, 北京 100875
    3西南财经大学工商管理学院, 成都 611130
  • 收稿日期:2022-01-18 出版日期:2022-12-15 发布日期:2022-09-23
  • 通讯作者: 郭理
  • 基金资助:

Double-edged-sword effect of performance pressure in organizational contexts

JIA Suosuo1, GUO Li1(), CAI Zijun2, MAO Jih-Yu3   

  1. 1Business School, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing 100029, China
    2Business School, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu 611130, China
  • Received:2022-01-18 Online:2022-12-15 Published:2022-09-23
  • Contact: GUO Li


市场经济的复杂多变给组织生存与发展带来诸多挑战, 组织往往对员工提出高的绩效要求, 绩效压力已成为普遍现象。现有研究大多关注绩效压力的消极效应, 存在忽视其积极结果及理论视角较窄等不足。因此, 系统、全面地认识绩效压力的双刃剑效应, 有助于组织充分发挥绩效压力的积极效应及阻遏其消极效应。通过系统地回顾和梳理相关研究, 在将绩效压力影响效果的研究分为积极、消极和二者并存的曲线效应三个类别后, 引入压力认知评价理论、资源保存理论等理论厘清研究背后的解释机制。最后, 基于以上梳理分析, 未来研究应进一步拓展组织中绩效压力的双刃剑效应及其边界条件, 从而更全面地认识组织中绩效压力所产生的影响。

关键词: 绩效压力, 双刃剑效应, 边界条件


The complexity of the market economy has brought about many challenges to organizational survival and development. As organizations often demand high performance from employees, experiencing workplace performance pressure has become a prevalent phenomenon. Performance pressure is a sense of urgency for employees to improve their performance levels demanded by the organization. Existing literature has differentiated performance pressure from other stressors. For example, workload stresses the requirement for employees to take on larger amounts of work, and time pressure emphasizes the time urgency of completing tasks. However, performance pressure is a unique and dynamic stressor. It is closely related to employee self-interests, as fulfilling performance demands often lead to the satisfaction of specific employee career needs (e.g., pay raise and promotion), and failing to fulfill performance demands often puts employees in unfavorable situations (e.g., pay cuts and demotion). As performance pressure is universal and paradoxical, this study adopts a “double-edged-sword” perspective on performance pressure and summarizes the positive, negative, and curvilinear influences of performance pressure and the theoretical explanatory mechanisms underlying these effects, such as cognitive appraisal theory of stress, conservation of resources theory, self-regulation theory, self-control theory, and the job demand-control model. For instance, based on the cognitive appraisal theory of stress and self-regulation theory, performance pressure would be appraised as a challenge or a threat, which then exerts positive or negative influences on employees. In contrast, according to the conservation of resources theory, performance pressure may lead to employees’ loss of resources and subsequently bring a negative impact on employees. By summarizing relevant literature on performance pressure through searching the keyword of “performance pressure” in databases, such as CNKI and Web of Science, this study suggests that existing research on the double-edged-sword effect of performance pressure is insufficient, for example, researchers mainly focused on the negative effect of performance pressure, but pays little attention to its positive effect. To facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of performance pressure, future research can examine the double-edged-sword effect of performance pressure in organizational contexts based on the different theoretical lenses and boundary conditions in which performance pressure’s positive and negative influences are strengthened and weakened, respectively. Three directions are specified. First, regarding theoretical applications, future research can enrich existing theoretical perspectives on the influences of performance pressure, such as the trickle-down effect of high-level managers on frontline employees through middle-level managers, resulting in excessive performance pressure on frontline employees, yet higher recovery level for leaders due to pressure transfer, and integrate conservation of resources with self-regulation theories to investigate the effects of performance pressure on employee resource depletion and work withdrawal and whether performance pressure stimulates employees to enhance performance, such as encouraging employees to engage in reflection on their performance or workplace learning. Second, future research can enrich the boundary conditions for the influences of performance pressure by exploring contextual influences that strengthen and weaken performance pressure’s positive and negative effects, respectively. For instance, servant leadership may ameliorate the negative influences of performance pressure. Supervisor bottom-line mentality may strengthen such negative influences. Of course, organizational climate factors also can be used as boundary conditions. For example, instrumental climate may aggravate the relationship between performance pressure and negative outcomes, while error tolerance culture mitigates such a relationship. Last, regarding empirical analyses, future research should consider controlling for a few influences, such as negative affect, personality traits, health, and well-being, in order to establish the uniqueness of the focal influence mechanisms of performance pressure. The above research paradigm not only facilitates the theoretical development of performance pressure but also provides management practice with theoretical guidance by helping organizations build on their strengths and avoid weaknesses when dealing with performance pressure.

Key words: performance pressure, double-edged-sword effect, boundary condition