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Dynamics patterns of flow in workplace

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  • 1. Lucía, C., & José, N. (2011). Dynamic patterns of flow in the workplace: Characterizing within- individual variability using a complexity science approach. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32(4), 627-651. doi:10.1002/job.747 Keywords:• flow;• well-being;• dynamic patterns;• within-individual variability;• chaos Abstract As a result of the growing interest in studying employee well-being as a complex process that portrays high levels of within-individual variability and evolves over time, this present study considers the experience of flow in the workplace from a nonlinear dynamical systems approach. Our goal is to offer new ways to move the study of employee well- being beyond linear approaches. With nonlinear dynamical systems theory as the backdrop, we conducted a longitudinal study using the experience sampling method and qualitative semi-structured interviews for data collection; 6981 registers of data were collected from a sample of 60 employees. The obtained time series were analyzed using various techniques derived from the nonlinear dynamical systems theory (i.e., recurrence analysis and surrogate data) and multiple correspondence analyses. The results revealed the following: 1) flow in the workplace presents a high degree of within-individual variability; this variability is characterized as chaotic for most of the cases (75%); 2) high levels of flow are associated with chaos; and 3) different dimensions of the flow experience (e.g., merging of action and awareness) as well as individual (e.g., age) and job characteristics (e.g., job tenure) are associated with the emergence of different dynamic patterns (chaotic, linear and random). Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.