Background Occupational safety issues related to food delivery riders emerge with evidence of an increase in associated traffic accidents and injuries along with the rapid growth of the online food delivery business. This paper focuses on food delivery riders' job stress and investigates its relationships with both antecedents and risky riding outcomes.
Method Survey data were collected from 279 Taiwanese food delivery motorcycle riders and analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis.
Results The results show that job overload and time pressure positively impact riders' job stress, while self-efficacy slightly reduces job stress. Job stress positively leads to risky driving behavior and distraction. In addition, time pressure can strengthen the impact of job overload on job stress. Riders' risky riding attitude can also strengthen the impacts of job stress on risky riding behaviors and distraction.
Conclusion This paper advances the literature on online food delivery as well as the occupational safety improvement of food delivery riders. Specifically, this study provides insights into the job stress of food delivery motorcycle riders and the effects of job characteristics and risky behavioral consequences.
Due to disruptive innovation via information and communications technologies (ICT) and the prevalence of the sharing economy, online-order food delivery services have emerged as a novel business model worldwide. Food delivery riders act as frontline employees for the “last mile link” of the supply to deal with the offline process of delivering foods and others ordered online to customers by mopeds or scooters . The number of food delivery riders is significantly large in several Asian countries. For instance, there are almost 4 million delivery riders employed by Meituan Waimai, a major food delivery company in China . Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in 2020, reliance on food delivery services has rapidly increased, accordingly not only creating more job opportunities but also increasing workload for food delivery drivers as well as increasing infection risk . Along with the vast growth of the online food delivery business, occupational safety issues related to food delivery riders have attracted attention with an increasing trend associated with traffic accidents and injuries. For instance, the percentage of motorcycle riders at fault increased from 31.0% in 2017 to 61.1% in 2020 of all traffic accidents involving food delivery motorcycle riders in Taiwan . Additionally, running red lights and speeding accounted for 81% of all types of traffic violations for delivery motorcycle riders in 2010 in Taiwan . This study is hence motivated to investigate the job stress of food delivery motorcycle riders and its affecting factors of job characteristics and behavioral consequences. Specifically, job stress pertains to the long-term exhaustion from, and diminished interest in, the work undertaken, such as emotional exhaustion, burnout, or fatigue. Job stress has been found to be significantly related to the preference for risky driving among professional drivers [6,23]. To reflect the working condition of completing many delivery tasks in a limited time, we consider both job overload and time pressure as the dimensions of job demands. Self-efficacy is operationalized to represent riders’ personal resources with respect to positive self-evaluations to control the working conditions and to reduce job stress. Risky driving behavior and distraction are examined as the two behavioral consequences of job stress.
4.1. Research limitations and future research
This study has several limitations with exceptions and hence provides potential research directions for further investigations. First, the data collected and analyzed in the current study are limited to one country (i.e., Taiwan), and the results should not directly apply to other research contexts, particularly with different food delivery business topologies and traffic environments [6e11]. However, comparative studies from various research contexts are encouraged to provide a more comprehensive understanding of job characteristics, job stress, and risky driving behaviors for food delivery riders. Second, only personal resources, i.e., self-efficacy, but not job resources offered by companies, are considered. Future studies can consider the role of job resources such as organizational support or cowork support, if applicable, in alleviating job stress caused by delivery riders’ job overload and time pressure. Personality or personal traits are identified in the related literature as an important factor affecting job stress  and aberrant riding behaviors [13,36]. Future investigations can obtain deeper insights including the role of personality. Third, according to the JD-R model , burnout is a more comprehensive construct of job stress that includes three components : emotional exhaustion (i.e., the feeling of overwhelming emotions at work), depersonalization (i.e., detachment from others or indifference at work), and reduced professional accomplishment (i.e., detachment from others or indifference at work). We recommend that future studies consider all three dimensions of burnout to depict the whole picture of food delivery riders’ job stress. Finally, future research is also recommended to investigate coping strategies such as problem-focused coping to change person-environment transactions or emotionalbased coping to regulate emotions  adopted by delivery riders to respond to stressful situations.