Original Research

The psychometric properties of a workplace boredom scale (DUBS) within the South African context

Sumarie M. van Wyk, Leon T. de Beer, Jaco Pienaar, Wilmar B. Schaufeli
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1326 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1326 | © 2016 Sumarie M. van Wyk, Leon T. de Beer, Jaco Pienaar, Wilmar B. Schaufeli | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 November 2015 | Published: 13 May 2016

About the author(s)

Sumarie M. van Wyk, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Leon T. de Beer, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Jaco Pienaar, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Wilmar B. Schaufeli, Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Research Unit Occupational & Organizational Psychology and Professional Learning, KU Leuven, Belgium

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Orientation: Boredom at work has been shown to be a concern for individuals and organisations. At the time of this research, no validated scale was available to measure and investigate workplace boredom within the South African context.

Research purpose: To determine the psychometric properties of the Dutch Boredom Scale (DUBS) within the South African context. Motivation for the study: No reliable and valid scale for workplace boredom was available in South Africa at the time of the current research. Boredom at work has been found to affect organisations negatively in other countries. Insights are needed into workplace boredom and how it affects the outcomes of organisations in South Africa.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional research approach was utilised. A random convenience sample (N = 490) was obtained from organisations within the manufacturing and logistics sector. In order to validate the DUBS, the factor structure, construct validity (convergent and discriminant validity) and scale reliability were investigated. A mediation model was also tested with structural equation modelling to ascertain predictive validity.

Main findings: The results showed that the one-factor structure of the DUBS could be confirmed and that this factor had acceptable reliability. In terms of convergent validity, all of the item indicators loaded significantly on the workplace boredom construct, and the relationship between workplace boredom and work underload revealed that they were positively correlated with medium effect size. Furthermore, work engagement and organisational commitment were correlated negatively in terms of practical significance with workplace boredom. A structural mediation model showed that work underload was significantly and positively associated with boredom, which in turn had significant negative relations to both work engagement and organisational commitment. No significant direct relations were found from work underload to either work engagement or organisational commitment. Instead, bootstrapping showed that there was an indirect-only relationship from work underload to work engagement and organisational commitment through workplace boredom – indicating full mediation.

Practical/managerial implications: Management should not neglect workplace boredom, as results indicate that it may adversely impact work engagement and organisational commitment. Therefore, workplace boredom should be a concern not only for individuals, but also for the organisation at large.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the limited research available on workplace boredom in South Africa by providing evidence of acceptable psychometric properties for a workplace boredom scale.


Workplace boredom, boredom, psychometric properties, validation, reliability, work engagement, organisational commitment, South Africa


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