Thank your for the comment, Mr_Lizard. Your observation that discretionary effort isn’t free is exactly the point we started from in our research. I agree that this feels like common sense, though I would also note that I always find it comforting to see that my priors are backed up by data. If they aren’t, then I need to consider whether my common sense is actually leading me astray!
Your second observation, the idea that managers assign more work to high performers, isn’t actually one of the findings of our research. Our research shows that undertaking the same amount of these ‘extras’ has a larger impact on the levels of emotional exhaustion and work-family conflict reported by employees who are high performers in core tasks. That’s actually a very different point.
Managers, faced with the choice of where to go for that little bit ‘extra’, may well be tempted to give the task to those already performing at a high level in core tasks. We don’t dispute that. We just think it’s important for managers to recognize that the costs of doing so may be disproportionately high, and we have concerns about the long-term sustainability of this approach.
Sorry if that wasn’t clear from the above, and thanks for your comment.
Bruce (aka, “The Doctor”)