Illegitimate tasks are a contemporary workplace stressor characterized by perceived violations of norms about what can reasonably be expected to do in the workplace. Based on the “Stress-as-Offense-to-Self” (SOS) theory, the assignment of illegitimate tasks lead to feelings of disrespect and threatening to one’s professional identity, which is inherently stressful. The stressor has been linked to numerous strain outcomes, but the underlying mechanisms explaining how or why these relationships occur has seldomly been addressed in the literature. The present study examined whether illegitimate tasks were positively related to intentions to quit via organizational identity, negatively related to work engagement via meaningfulness of work, and if gender impacted the strength of both main effects relationships. Self-report data was collected from a total of 250 employees of mixed occupations using a cross-sectional research design. Results indicated that organizational identity partially mediated the relationship between illegitimate tasks and intentions to quit. This finding further expands upon the conceptualization of illegitimate tasks as an “identity-relevant” stressor. However, results did not suggest that meaningfulness of work mediated the illegitimate tasks and work engagement relationship, nor did gender moderate either main effects relationship. Theoretical and practical implications discussed.


Lisa Perez

Committee Member

Kristie Campana

Committee Member

Marilyn Fox

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences


Rights Statement

In Copyright