An examination of psychological meaningfulness, safety, and availability as the underlying mechanisms linking job features and personal characteristics to work engagement

Holly Jacobs, Florida International University

Abstract

The present study tested a nomological net of work engagement that was derived from its extant research. Two of the main work engagement models that have been presented and empirically tested in the literature, the JD-R model and Kahn's model, were integrated to test the effects that job features and personal characteristics can have on work engagement through the psychological conditions of meaningfulness, safety, and availability. In this study, safety refers to psychological perceptions of safety and not workplace safety behaviors. The job features that were tested in this model included person-job fit, autonomy, co-worker relations, supervisor support, procedural justice, and interactional justice, while the personal characteristics consisted of self-consciousness, self-efficacy, extraversion, and neuroticism. Thirty-four hypotheses and a conceptual model were tested in order to establish the viability of this nomological net of work engagement in which it was expected that meaningfulness would mediate the relationships between job features and work engagement, safety would mediate the relationships that job features and personal characteristics have with work engagement, and availability (physical, emotional, and cognitive resources) would mediate the relationships that personal characteristics have with work engagement. Furthermore, analyses were run in order to determine the factor structure of work engagement, assess whether or not it exhibits differential validity from organizational commitment and job satisfaction, and confirm that it is positively related to the outcome variable of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The final sample consisted of 500 workers from an online labor market who responded to a questionnaire composed of measures of all constructs included in this study. Findings show that work engagement is best represented as a three-factor construct, composed of vigor, dedication and absorption. Furthermore, support was found for the distinction of work engagement from the related constructs of organizational commitment and job satisfaction. With regard to the proposed model, meaningfulness proved to be the strongest predictor of work engagement. Results show that it partially mediates the relationships that all job features have with work engagement. Safety proved to be a partial mediator of the relationships that autonomy, co-worker relations, supervisor support, procedural justice, interactional justice, and self-efficacy have with work engagement, and fully mediate the relationship between neuroticism and work engagement. Findings also show that availability partially mediates the positive relationships that extraversion and self-efficacy have with work engagement, and fully mediates the negative relationship that neuroticism has with work engagement. Finally, a positive relationship was found between work engagement and OCB. Research and organizational implications are discussed.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Industrial

Recommended Citation

Jacobs, Holly, "An examination of psychological meaningfulness, safety, and availability as the underlying mechanisms linking job features and personal characteristics to work engagement" (2013). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3598079.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3598079

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