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Role of Self Efficacy in Job Crafting and Employee Engagement Relationship.

Introduction

The modern organizations are in a robust need to have dedicated, energetic and well engaged workforce because in this competitive and uncertain business environment, only the quality of workforce can act as a competitive success factor. Organizations failing to engage and retain their workforce are facing the problems of under-qualified employees, understaffing and increased turnover which ultimately hinders their ability to remain competitive (Rappaport et. al, 2003). Recent trends in workforce also point out the drop in employee engagement. Gallup reports that the employee engagement level worldwide is 15percent only (Gallup, 2017).

Given the strategic importance of engaged employees and cost associated with disengaged employees and turnover, employee engagement has emerged as a priority area for academicians and practitioners and uncovering factors fostering employee engagement at workplace.

In the recent years Job crafting has emerged as a significant predictor of employee engagement in work places (Crawford et al., 2010). Several studies revealed that employees perform their best when provided with resourceful work environment (Tims et al., 201).

Although the promising results of increasing job resources and job characteristics are well understood, there is a paucity of literature examining the moderating effect of individual characteristics of personality like self-esteem, self-efficacy etc. on the Job Characteristic-outcome relationship (Behson, Eddy, and Lorenzet, 2000).

This study therefore focuses on examining the moderating role of perceived self-efficacy in a wellestablished positive relationship between employee engagement and job crafting.

The study makes contribution to employee engagement and job crafting literature by enriching our understanding of these concepts as well as empirically validating their positive relationship. It also contribute to personality literature by empirically testing the moderating role of self-efficacy for job crafting and employee engagement relationship.

Literature Review

The growth and financial outcomes of an organization is driven by its ratio of engaged to disengaged workers (Loehr, 2005). However researchers reported that there is a significant difference in the engagement level of workers working in similar set of conditions (Langelaan et al., 2006). After conducting an extensive research to answer the question the question why employees exposed to similar set of organizational conditions report different engagement level, Wellings, Bernthal and Phelps (2005), revealed that this difference is due to their personal characteristics namely: agreeableness, emotional stability, openness to experiences, attachment to their job, achievement orientation and self- efficacy. Although adequate studies have been conducted in western countries to examine the impact of individual differences on work engagement, there is dearth of such researches in developing countries like India (Xanthopoulou, Bakker, Demerouti, and Schaufeli, 2007). The trend in work engagement studies have been shifted towards exploration of its transient nature, emphasizing on an individual's within approach becaused exclusive emphasis on between--person approach failed to explain the dynamic component of this phenomenon (Sonnentag, Dormann, and Demerouti, 2010).

Job crafting is an employee's initiative to alter the job demand and job resources to make the job more aligned with their values and expectations. Job crafting has developed as a promising strategy to increase employee's well-being, although research on this topic is limited (Tims et al, 2012). High job demands and high level of perceived self-efficacy result in increased work engagement and prevent negative outcomes (Xanthopoulou et al, 2007). Job crafting is a strategy using which employees who are highly self-efficacious tries to build a favorable work environment which can positively contribute to their job performance (Tims et al, 2012).

According to the Job characteristic model (JCM) employees attitude, beliefs and feelings are substantially influenced by the way their job is designed (Lawler and Hall, 1969). The five job characteristics defining motivational potential of a job include: task identity, job autonomy, job feedback and task significance. When we study this with reference to JD-R(model it is found that presence of adequate job characteristics (Job resources in JD-R model) reduces job demand and increases employee work engagement and foster goal accomplishment (Agarwal et. el, 2015).

The social cognitive theory considers perceived self-efficacy as the supreme persistent mechanism of human agency. Self-efficacy shows the perceived control of an individual over himself and over his surroundings events. Depending on their self-efficacy people decide the activities to perform or avoid level of efforts to invest and perseverance in case of failures (Bandura, 2012.) As self-efficacy result in investing more efforts and perseverance in case of difficulty, it is associated to positive motivational state towards job and job engagement (Salanova et al., 2011). Work engagement is defined as the physical, emotional and psychological commitment of an individual towards his or her job.

Employee Engagement

The term was conceptualized by Kahn (1992) as 'the harnessing of organizational members selves in their job roles'. In engagement employees involve and present themselves at their job physically, emotionally and cognitively. In contrast to this, disengagement is decoupling of self from the work roles and involves people defending physically, emotionally or cognitively from their work roles. Such behavior of unemploying self from work roles is considered as apathetic or robotic.

According to Schaufeli et al. (2002) work engagement is the positive fulfilling work related state of mind characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. Vigor is high energy level at work, dedication is the strong involvement in work, feeling of pride, inspiration and enthusiasm and absorption is full concentration and engrossment in one's work.

Previous studies has shown that the concepts like perceived organizational support, job characteristics rewards and recognition (Saks, 2006), personal resources like self-efficacy and optimism and job resources (Xanthopoulou et al., 2007) are the antecedents of employee engagement.

Job Crafting

Job crafting is an employee's driven proactive behavior to take an active role in taking initiative to change the way they approach their job physically, socially or cognitively. They make these changes informally to make an adjustment in their job so that it could align with their values and interest and result in enhancing their satisfaction and meaningfulness of their job. The term is introduced by Wrzesniewski and Dutton (2001) as "the cognitive and physical changes an employee makes in the relational and task boundaries of their job". They identified three different ways in which employees can craft their job: task crafting, relational crafting and cognitive crafting. Task crafting is initiating changes to types and number of activities one perform at work to make it more suitable for their skills and interest. Relational crafting is making discretionary changes in the way one interacts with number and types of people at work. This can be done by being proactive in making friends with similar interest and skills and avoiding interaction with people with opposite interests. Cognitive crafting is changing the way in which employees perceive their job to make it more meaningful and interesting for them.

Research scholars have used the Job Demand--Resource model to incorporate job crafting within the theoretical framework. According to this model every job consists of two specific set of working conditions namely-Job Demand and Job Resources. Job demands like time pressure, work load etc. are those aspects of job which require consistent physical and psychological efforts (Bakker, Hakanen, Demerouti and Xanthopoulou, 2007). Job resources are like autonomy, feedback etc. are those aspects of job which helps in reducing job demands and achieving work goals. High job demand results in health impairment process as they require sustained efforts and cause depletion in energy (Bakker, Hakanen, Demerouti and Xanthopoulou, 2007). On the other hand high job resources make employees more motivated and committed towards their job.

By conceptualizing job crafting with the job-Demand Resource model, four types of job crafting behaviors are explained by Tims et al (2012).

1. Increasing structural job resources: it is concerned with gaining skills, knowledge, autonomy and responsibility at job.

2. Increasing social job resources: this demands for includes receiving social support and feedback at work.

3. Increasing challenging job demand: seeks ways to deal with challenging situations like work pressure, job complexity. These demands have a tendency to promote mastery and future gain.

4. Decreasing hindering job demand: these act as constraints that may block success and include role ambiguities, conflicts etc.

Challenging demands are found to positively related to work engagement whereas hindering job demands are negatively related to it (Crawford et al, 2010).

Most of the previous researches on job crafting are theoretical or qualitative in nature due to the unavailability of universal and generic questionnaire to measure its reliability and validity (Berg et al. 2010; Wrzesniewski and Dutton 2001). Recently a job crafting scale has been developed by Tims et al. (2012), but still there is a dearth of researches on relationship between job crafting and important employee outcomes like work engagement.

There are enough evidences in the literature establishing positive relationship between job crafting and work engagement (Tims et al., 2012). Changing job resources may lead to change in the employee wellbeing and addition of job resources like autonomy, social support and performance feedback result in increase in work engagement (Schaufeli, et al, 2002). Crafting challenging demand has a positive relationship with engagement level of employees at work.

Therefore the author hypothesized:

H1: job crafting in the--form of increasing structural job resources is positively related to and predicts employee engagement.

H2: job crafting in the form of increasing social job resources is positively related to and predicts employee engagement.

H3: job crafting in the form of increasing challenging job demand is positively related to and predicts employee engagement.

H4: job crafting in the form of decreasing hindering job demand is positively related to employee engagement.

The Role of Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is defined as an employee's confidence in his or her capabilities to organize and mobilize the cognitive resources, motivation and courses of action required to complete the tasks within the given context successfully. Employees with high self-efficacy level trust in their capabilities and have strong feeling of getting success in their deed. When employees are high on this dimension, they like choosing challenging tasks, are perseverant in difficulties and put extra efforts to finish the task (Larson and Luthans, 2006). In contrast to this, employees with low self-efficacy belief are prone to anxiety, selfdoubts and easily get stressed in difficult situations. Employees' belief regarding their self-efficacy are influenced and developed by four factors: mastery experience, vicarious experiences, social persuasion and physiological and emotional states.

If an individual master what requires taking success, he will develop a strong personal self-efficacy. Successes build strong beliefs in one's self-efficacy whereas failures undermine it especially if it occurs before a sense of self efficacy is resolutely formed. Developing self-efficacy through mastery experiences involve attaining cognitive, behavioral and self-regulatory tools for taking correct course of action to manage adversities. Self-efficacy developed through easily achieved success or success without perseverant effort does not sustain for longer.

Another source of developing self-efficacy is though vicarious experiences- the success of similar others. If people experience that their models whose competency they admire and want to get in themselves are getting repeated successes, their self-efficacy beliefs also enhanced whereas failures of the model lead to lower it.

Social persuasion also plays an important role in developing self-efficacy. People persuaded verbally that they own abilities to master particular task are more likely to put extra efforts and endure it than if they anchorage self-deficiencies and doubts in adversities (Schunk, 1989). In this way persuasion boost in perceived self-efficacy lead people to work hard to get success. Physiological and emotional states including moods partly shape the way people judge their capabilities.

Researchers found the influence of individual and contextual factors on job crafting of employees (Li et al., 2014). Individual factors like self-image, internal locus of control, cognitive ability and self-efficacy act as an antecedents of job crafting (Tims et al., 2013). It has been proved that self-efficacy is positively related to work engagement (Bandura, 2012). The study conducted by Van Yperen and Snijders (2000) examined self-efficacy as a moderator in the relationship between job demands and health implication. The study suggested that employees with high self-efficacy level deal more successfully with the demands resulting in the prevention of negative outcomes. Individual variables like self-efficacy act as moderating variables within the JD-R model of job crafting (Tims and Bakker, 2010).

Based on the reasoning provided, the study suggests the following hypothesis:

H5: the relationship between job crafting and employee engagement is moderated by self-efficacy in such a manner that the relationship is stronger if employees have higher level of self-efficacy.

Research Methodology

Participants

The study is undertaken for a sample of 120 executives from the select IT companies in NCR region in the months of April to august 2017. Online questionnaire is formed to collect responses and sent to respondents via email. Of these 102 (75 percent response rate) provided complete data for all the measures required in the study. Total of 69 males (68 percent) and 33 females (32 percent) with mean age 28.9 years and S.D= 5.97. Education level of the sample varied: Graduate 54 (53 percent) to Postgraduate 45 (44 percent). Tenure of the respondents reported to be: less than 1 year (16.7 percent), 1-5 years (51 percent), 5-10 years (27.5percent) and above 10 years (4.9percent). Work role of the respondents: Managerial 32 (31.4 percent), Technical 48(47.1percent) and Operational 22 (21.6 percent). The analysis of the data is done with spss version 19.

Survey Instrument

Work engagement: Employees' engagement at work is measured with a shortened version of Utretch work engagement scale developed by Schaufeli et al., (2002), consisting of nine items. A typical item includes 'I am enthusiastic at work'. Responses were recorded using five point likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The reliability of the scale for the study is found to be 0.86.

Job crafting: job crafting is measured with the job crafting scale developed by Tims et al.(2012). It consist of four subscales for measuring the four dimensions of job crafting- increasing structural job resources (5 items), increasing social job resources (five items), increasing challenging job demands (5 items ) and decreasing hindering job demands (six items). Typical items include. "I try to develop my capabilities"etc. response categories ranges from 1 (never) to 5 (very often). Cronbach's alpha=0.90.

Self-efficacy: self-efficacy is measured using a new general self-efficacy scale developed by Chen.et al (2009). The sub scale for self-efficacy consists of eight items like "I will be able to achieve most of the goals that I have set for myself". Responses were recorded using five point likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The reliability of the scale for the current study is found to be 0.81.

Results and Discussion

The employees in the selected organizations are fairly engaged with mean score 3.73. Employees also involved in job crafting behavior (mean=3.83). Table I presents the means and standard deviations of the variables as well as their inter-correlations.

The relationship between employee work engagement and job crafting is in expected directions. Specifically all four dimensions of job crafting are positively and significantly correlated with work engagement, correlation coefficient ranging from r=0.345 to r=0.598, p<0.01. The strongest correlation found between employee engagement and structural job resources dimension of job crafting (r=0.598, p<0.01).This indicates that increase in structural job resources will result in increase in employees work engagement. The results in table 1also provide a preliminary support to initial part of research hypothesis H1, H2, H3 and H4. The coefficient of correlation of job crafting was found to be highest with vigor dimension of employee engagement(r=0.58, p<0.01). This indicates that job crafting influence the vigor or energy level of employees more in comparison to dedication and absorption. Self-efficacy and work engagement are also positively correlated (r=.220, p<0.01).

Impact of Job Crafting on Employee Engagement

Together all the four dimensions of job crafting explained 43.4percent (r square value=0.411) of variance in employee engagement. The beta value was found to be 0.59 (p<0.01). Out of the four dimensions of job crafting, increasing structural job crafting explained 35.8percent (r square=0.358, f=55.68, p<0.01) of variation in the dependent variable followed by increasing the challenging job demand (r square=0.309, F=44.62, p<0.01), increasing social resources (r square=0.153, F=18.039, p<0.01) and decreasing hindering job demand (r square=0.119, F= 13.48, p<0.01).

Therefore it can be interpreted that increasing the structural job resources and challenging job demand will lead to maximum increase in employee engagement level.

Moderator Analysis

To test the hypothesis that whether self-efficacy belief moderates the relationship between job crafting and employee engagement, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted. At first two variables job crafting and self-efficacy were included. These variables accounted for a significant amount of variance in employee engagement level, r2 =0.362, F=28.04, p<0.001. Next the interaction term with job crafting and self- efficacy was created and variables were centered in the interaction term to avoid multi-collinearity. When this interaction term is added in the regression model, it result in significant variation in employee engagement level (r2change=0.055, F Change=9.255, p=0.003, b=-0.73, p<0.05). however when conditional effect of job crafting on employee engagement at the value of self-efficacy was measured, it was found that the moderator becomes insignificant at one standard deviation above means as zero lies in between the lower bound and upper bound confidence intervals (-0.1278, 0.6871). The overall model was significant and explained 41.67percent of variation in job engagement (F value=20.598, p<0.01). Therefore H5 is partially fulfilled for employees with low self-efficacy (negative interaction not positive) but for high self-efficacy the relationship was insignificant.

Discussion and Implications for Managers

The research design of the study was based on the assumptions of JD-R model, which explain that job resources and job demands, when optimized lead to increase in employee engagement. Results revealed that job crafting significantly predicts employee engagement. Increasing the structural job resources has the maximum potential to predict employee engagement (r square=0.358, f=55.68, p<0.01). Managers therefore need to consider the importance of job crafting in improving employee work engagement and foster a climate where employees can take initiatives to make favorable changes in their job. Crafting Structural job resources will help employees to better use their skills and abilities and make them more engaged at their work (Tims et al., 2013). Managers should also assist their employees to use job crafting in such a manner that an adequate alignment can be made between individual and organizational goals. Organizations are prime providers of job resources and job demands and when employees receive job resources in the form of well-designed job, they will reciprocate by experiencing a sense of meaningfulness and motivation at work resulting in increased engagement level.

When self-efficacy as a moderator in employee engagement and job crafting relationship was studied, the model came out to be significant for people with low self-efficacy, indicating that the relationship is stronger when people have low self-efficacy (negative interaction coefficient). This might be true as when employees have low self-efficacy they might involve in seeking more job resources and lessening their job demands to get more control on their work environment . This can be linked with behavioral plasticity theory (Brockner, 1988) under which it is suggested that individuals with low self-esteem and self-efficacy will be more reactive to external variables and will try to get a consistency in their attitude and behavior. They might get this consistency by taking more initiatives to increase their job resources and reducing their job demands (Job Crafting) which will in turn increase their engagement level at their job. Behavioral plasticity theory is unwavering with the belief that high self-esteem and self-efficacy can act as a resource, providing a defense against negative conditions and reducing their impact; employees with low self-esteem and self-efficacy may lack such a defense and hence are more adversely affected by negative circumstances (Brockner, 1988). To avoid these negative circumstances, they take more initiatives to alter their job demands and resources.

In general sense autonomy is considered as a positive feature but for those employees, who do not consider themselves good at doing work, it act as a job demand displaying greater emotional exhaustion. Workers with high self-efficacy work better in jobs which are more error prone and involve role ambiguity (Grau et al, 2001).

Due to the self-efficacy fosters employees to customize their jobs especially with low self- efficacy level; it becomes an important factor for managers to pay attention to this personality trait in the process of managing people. Therefore, it is possible to express that carrying out job crafting effectively depends on individual traits and behaviors of employees.

Limitations

The following limitations of the study provide direction for future researches. First of all the measures in the research were based on self-report leading concern for common method bias. Although care has been taken to reduce the bias by ensuring anonymity in survey administration and improving items of the scales. Second, the study is based on cross sectional information on various variables used, inferences of causality cannot be drawn and hence future research should include the longitudinal surveys. Third the moderator used is the general self-efficacy and future researches can be done by including occupational self-efficacy as researches indicate that although the two levels of self-efficacy are related strongly, they do have differentiated effects depending on stressors and types of its consequences (Grau et al, 2001).

Conclusion

The study found a positive relationship between employee engagement and job crafting behavior of employees. Structural job resources and challenging job demands have maximum potential to predict employee's engagement in the organization. Therefore job crafting can be considered as an inexpensive and informal on- the job training and organizations seeking self-regulated personnel development may be benefitted by providing a favorable condition for job crafting. Our results also suggest that personal characteristics like self-efficacy of employees moderate this positive relationship. People with low selfefficacy are more prone to seek job resources to get more control on their job and when they do not get opportunity to craft their job demand and job resources their engagement level at work decreases. The results were not significant for people with high self-efficacy.

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Sunita

Research Scholar, M.J.P Rohilkhand University, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.

Rajkamal

Professor, M.J.P Rohilkhand University, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.
Table--I
Means, Standard Deviations and Inter-correlations of the
Study Variables

                 Mean     SD       1        2

Job crafting     3.83     0.55     1
EE               3.73     0.62     .598 **  1
Self-efficacy    3.46     0.41     .259 **  .220 **
Structural JR    4.2      0.71     .776 **  .598 **
Social JR        3.75     0.73     .723 **  .391 **
Challenging JD   3.83     0.64     .783 **  .555 **
Hindering JD     3.5      0.75     .802 **  .345 **
Vigor            3.51     0.68     .586 **  .865 **
Dedication       3.91     0.78     .499 **  .909 **
Absorption       3.75     0.68     .496 **  .820 **

                 3        4        5        6

Job crafting
EE
Self-efficacy    1
Structural JR    .276 **  1
Social JR        0.06     .360 **  1
Challenging JD   .283 **  .588 **  .460 **  1
Hindering JD     .196 **  .486 **  .425 **  .457 **
Vigor            .216 **  .607 **  .328 **  .545 **
Dedication       .216 **  .537 **  .317 **  .468 **
Absorption       0.134    .382 **  .427 **  .429 **

                 7        8        9        10

Job crafting
EE
Self-efficacy
Structural JR
Social JR
Challenging JD
Hindering JD     1
Vigor            .365 **  1
Dedication       .262 **  .666 **  1
Absorption       .317 **  .597 **  .663 **  1

Note: EE = Employee engagement, JD Job demand, JR: Job Resources;
** Correlations are significant at 0.01 levels
Source: Author's Calculation using SPSS 21
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Date:Apr 1, 2019
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