The Conceptualisation and Measurement of Pacing Styles


  • The authors would like to thank Flora Beeftink for her contribution to the scale development and data collection, and Rebecca Cosco for her assistance with the qualitative portion of this research.


Pacing style reflects how individuals distribute their effort over time in working toward deadlines. As a new construct introduced in 2002, the notion of pacing style has intuitive appeal, but has been under-researched, in part, due to a measurement need. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to improve the conceptualisation of pacing style and to develop and validate a new scale-based measure. The result was the nine-item Pacing Action Categories of Effort Distribution (PACED), consisting of deadline (complete work in a short time period just before the due date), steady (spread task activities evenly over time), and U-shaped (invest most of the effort at the start and finish of a task, with a break in between) action styles. Across eight independent samples of students, faculty, and organisational employees, we examined the dimensionality, internal consistency, stability (temporal and situational), and validity (construct, convergent, discriminant, predictive) of PACED. Results support the use of PACED as a reliable and valid measure, and we discuss several research avenues that would benefit from incorporating the concept of pacing style.