First Advisor

Liu-Qin Yang

Date of Publication

Winter 3-30-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Temporary employees -- Attitudes, Seasonal labor, Underemployment -- Psychological aspects, Employee motivation



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 82 pages)


Overqualification is a concern for both individuals and organizations in today's workforce. It has been shown to relate to job attitudes, performance, well-being, and withdrawal. While plenty of research has been done on overqualification in the workplace, there is still a gap in the literature when it pertains to the contingent workforce, especially seasonal workers. These workers do not have secure employment and research has shown that they have distinct outcomes compared to full-time workers. Findings from past research about the relationship between overqualification and job withdrawal have been mixed, and this study aims to further the understanding of this relationship by taking a self-regulatory approach and examining disposition-related and context-related motivational processes that may drive overqualified employees to engage in withdrawal. Drawing on self-determination theory and regulatory focus theory I propose that employees' intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between perceived overqualification and withdrawal. Additionally, supervisor and coworker support are hypothesized to buffer the overqualification-intrinsic motivation relationship, whereas prevention focus is hypothesized to worsen it. Participants were 66 seasonal workers from an organization in the Western United States. Results did not support the hypothesized relationships, however prevention focus was a marginally-significant moderator of the overqualification-intrinsic motivation relationship in the unexpected direction. I also tested several nonhypothesized relationships and found that promotion focus significantly moderated the overqualification-intrinsic motivation relationship. Implications, limitations and future research directions are discussed.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Psychology Commons