A penny for your thoughts: The psychological effects of payday

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Steed, Laurens Bujold
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Making an income is a primary reason why individuals seek paid employment. Further, money in itself has been shown across multiple literatures to be critically important to life and substantially influence a host of individual attitudes and behaviors. This research seeks to investigate the employee-employer exchange of money in the form of payday to uncover whether individuals experience meaningful variations in attitudes and behaviors that coincide with paydays. To explore and illuminate the potential effects of payday in the workplace, I integrate across the currently disparate literatures on compensation, temporality and temporal landmarks, and the psychology of money. In doing so, I position payday theoretically as a compensation event that recurs with regularity and yet meaningfully stands out (i.e., a temporal landmark) with significant psychologically-driven consequences. Specifically, integrating findings from these distinct literatures, I hypothesize that payday has meaningful effects on an individual’s sense of personal control, and that this sense of control mediates the relationship between payday and the outcomes of self-efficacy, stress, citizenship behaviors directed interpersonally and organizationally (i.e., OCB-Is and OCB-Os) and recovery experiences. A between-person archival study of Google search data in Sweden (Study 1) indicates that payday meaningfully stands out to individuals and thus may be considered as a temporal landmark. A within-person study of employees over three paydays and three non-paydays (Study 2) fails to find support for the meaningful effects of payday in organizational life. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
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