Perceiving and Responding to Challenges in Job Crafting at Different Ranks:
When Proactivity Requires Adaptivity

Justin M. Berg
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
Amy Wrzesniewski
Yale University
Jane E. Dutton
University of Michigan

Forthcoming in the Journal of Organizational Behavior
Please do not cite or circulate without the authors‟ permission

RUNNING HEAD: Adapting to Challenges in Job Crafting

Job crafting, Job design, Proactivity, Adaptation

For valuable feedback on previous drafts, we thank Adam Grant, three anonymous reviewers,
Kathryn Dekas, Felicitas Morhart, Charlotte Fritz, Katherine Lawrence, and Jeffrey Bednar. We
also appreciate financial support from the Ross School of Business at the University of
Michigan. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Amy Wrzesniewski at
Yale School of Management, 135 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511 or

Adapting to Challenges in Job Crafting 1
We utilize a qualitative study of 33 employees in for-profit and non-profit organizations to
elaborate theory on job crafting. We specifically focus on how employees at different ranks
describe perceiving and adapting to challenges in the execution of job crafting. Elaborating the
challenges employees perceive in job crafting and their responses to them details the adaptive
action that may be necessary for job crafting to occur. Specifically, our findings suggest that
higher-rank employees tend to see the challenges they face in job crafting as located in their own
expectations of how they and others should spend their time, while lower-rank employees tend to
see their challenges as located in their prescribed jobs and others‟ expectations of them. The
nature of each group‟s perceived challenges is related to the adaptive moves that they make to
overcome them, such that higher-rank employees adapt their own expectations and...