Chen’s Current Research

In today’s workplaces, people are increasingly faced with heightened work demands and prolonged work hours. As a result, it has becoming more and more challenging for people to maintain and enhance their workday energy to sustain work performance and personal well-being.

In my dissertation, I explore ways in which meetings, as a prevalent activity in knowledge work, may create both constraints and opportunities for replenishing workday energy, and the related implications for downstream work outcomes. Given that opportunities for replenishment through breaks and non-work activities (e.g., relaxing, fun activities) are typically limited at work, this research highlights how some work activities themselves may become sources of workday replenishment, despite the demands they create.

Several of my other ongoing research projects also examine issues related to people’s energy and well-being at work, such as whether resource-building (e.g., learning) and demanding-shielding (e.g., relaxation) activities at work can act as buffering conditions for employees’ deviant behavior in stressful work environments, and how employees’ use of communication technology such as mobile instant messaging shapes their daily well-being at work.

In another stream of my research, I adopt an agentic lens and investigate individuals’ proactive and discretionary behaviors in work settings. For example, I have examined risks that individuals perceive for themselves when they attempt to step up and lead informally in teamwork, as well as factors that shape dynamic changes of such risk perceptions.

Overall, my research aims to shed light on how people can enhance both their well-being and performance in the work environment, with the hope to help people create more rewarding experiences at work and help organizations better realize their human capacity potential.