UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Professor Jessica Methot,Rutgers University,to host a research seminar discussing ‘Longing for the Past: The Dual Effects of Daily Nostalgia on Employee Performance’
Employees’ daily routines (e.g., commutes, lunch breaks, conversations with coworkers or family members) are vital rituals that create order and meaning. However, employees frequently experience changes to how their work and nonwork lives operate, which can generate discontinuity and spark nostalgia—a sentimental longing for the past. In this study, we draw from the emotion-centered model of work behavior and the dual nature of ambivalence to explore countervailing effects of daily nostalgia on employee performance. In a sample of employed adults recruited from a Northeast US University’s alumni database and LinkedIn (n = 109), we used an experience sampling method (ESM) to capture within-individual variation in nostalgia over three weeks. Results of multilevel path analysis showed, on one hand, nostalgia was positively associated with employees’ cognitive approach strategies (e.g., reappraising one’s situation), which translated into heightened organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB); on the other hand, nostalgia was also positively associated with employees’ cognitive avoidance strategies (e.g., procrastination), which reduced daily task performance and increased daily counterproductive work behaviors (CWB). Unexpectedly, results showed higher trait-level future temporal focus exacerbated the positive effect of nostalgia on avoidance. Our results suggest nostalgia embodies a complex mix of ambivalent emotions that impact individuals’ response strategies and, ultimately, performance.