Illegitimate tasks are tasks that are in violation of what is reasonably expected from a given person in an organization. In other words, illegitimate tasks are tasks that employees feel they should not have to do. These tasks are a role violation to the employee via the unreasonable or unnecessary nature of the task assignment. Because roles at work are integrated with one’s self-identify, illegitimate tasks are thought to fall under the category of identity-relevant stressors.

The conceptualization of illegitimate tasks is credited to Norbert Semmer, who developed the first literature on the construct itself and its relevant theoretical foundation, stress-as-offense-to-self (SOS) theory. It was from Semmer’s research group that the eight-item Bern Illegitimate Tasks Scale was developed, which remains the only established scale for measuring ...

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