Advancements in crossover theory

Arnold B. Bakker, Mina Westman, Emmerik Van Hetty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

196 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The central aim of this paper is to give an overview of theory and research on the crossover of (work/related) wellbeing from employees to their partners at home. In addition, it seeks to discuss studies on the crossover of wellbeing from employees to their colleagues in the workplace. It aims to discuss possible moderators of the crossover effect and delineate a research agenda. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a literature review. Findings – The review of the literature shows that strain may spillover from work to home, and consequently influence, the wellbeing of one's partner. Additionally, the paper discusses recent studies documenting that the enthusiasm for one's work may cross over to the partner as well. Furthermore, research has shown that employees influence one another in the workplace. Several conditions may facilitate such crossover, including the frequency of interactions, empathy, susceptibility to contagion, and similarity. The paper outlines a research agenda, and indicates what the gaps in the literature are. Originality/value – The literature review reveals which advancements can be made in crossover theory. One way would be to further validate the spillover/crossover model. This model postulates that job demands lead to work/family conflict, which, in turn, leads to conflict with the partner (social undermining). Thus, job strain (or work engagement) first spills over from work to home, and then crosses over to the partner. This interaction sequence consequently influences the partner's wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-219
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Family life
  • Job satisfaction
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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