Research Summary

The Subjective Experience of Work

by Teresa M. Amabile


I study how individuals experience work day by day, what influences that subjective experience, and what the consequences are for performance. This is my major research program, building on the work-diary research that culminated in my book, The Progress Principle. My current projects in this stream include: (a) The effect of daily self-reflection about work on emotions and motivation. This multi-week online study, which builds on pilot studies conducted in 2012 and 2013, is currently in data collection. (b) The experience of downtime (idle time) at work. This series of experiments, with doctoral student Andrew Brodsky, is currently underway. (c) Attitudes toward and adjustment to retirement. This is my newest research project, currently in the planning stages. I expect to use a combination of in-depth interviews and surveys of individuals in the years before and after retirement from formal employment.