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The Mediating Effect of Work Engagement on The Relationship Between Islamic Religiosity and Job Performance.

INTRODUCTION

Outstanding job performance becomes crucial element for an organization [1] to sustain its success and prosperity [2]. Therefore, there are various antecedents of job performance have been studied by numerous researchers. For instance, work ethics [3], personality [4], work engagement [5], job satisfaction [6] and so forth. However, existing concepts as aforementioned are less suitable to be used in examining the quality of Muslim's job performance. In examining the performance of Muslim employees, the evaluation should be conducted in a different way, namely by Islamic approach (Islamic religiosity). Fostering employees with Islamic approach and Islamic mindset will encourage the employees to be aware that their main intention to work is to worship Allah and to obtain His blessing [7]. Simultaneously, this awareness will encourage the individual to perform any tasks assigned as well as possible, even they confronted with difficulties. This due to the belief that Allah will help and give blessings to his servants who are patient.

Furthermore, [8-9] stated that Muslims are obligated to work hard to provide a benefit to others and not being lazy as well as aware that Allah always sees His servants. Thus, through this belief, each of the individual will be tempted to keep amanah (trust) given and engaged well in their work. Meanwhile, highly engaged employees is important in order to sustain good performance of each employees and the organization itself. Similar case with job performance, the existing theories and various studies that have been conducted on work engagement [1011] are less suitable to measure the engagement level of Muslim employees. In measuring engagement level of Muslim employees, an Islamic approach (Islamic religiosity) must be applied. On the grounds that an individual who works for the sake of worship will put extra strength to engage well and buckle down in fulfilling the tasks assigned. For that reason, this paper highlights the importance of Islamic religiosity in enhancing job performance and work engagement. At the same time, work engagement act as mediating role on the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. Nonetheless, this new approach needs strong perception and a deep Islamic religiosity awareness

Briefly, this paper aims to examine the improvement of job performance through the awareness of Islamic religiosity. While as the mediating role, work engagement strengthens the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. The findings of this study might contribute valuable information for future researchers on how to examine and enhance work engagement as well as job performance in an Islamic way. In fulfilling the objectives of this study, four hypotheses were proposed that will be discussed in next sub-section.

I. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VARIABLES

The Relationship between Islamic Religiosity and Job Performance

Employment has become one of the primary needs for an individual to survive. While, in Islamic point of view employment is one of obligation that must be accomplished in order to seek sustenance and provide a benefit to others. Nevertheless, a productive life cannot be accomplished exclusively by working. Productivity in life can be gained through the contribution of an incredible performance [12]. Therefore, in order to achieve and sustain great quality of job performance of Muslim employees, a different approach is required, namely the awareness of Islamic religiosity. In working life, the awareness of Islamic religiosity means that a Muslim should work as an act of worship to God [13]. As stated in the Qur'an: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me" (Qur'an 51:56). Thus, a Muslim should bear in mind the main intention before begin and end any sorts of activities (to worship Allah and obtain His blessing) [14]. This awareness will encourage every Muslim to effectively perform the tasks assigned. As stated by Stephen Covey (1989) in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People": "Highly effective people are people who always "begin with the end in mind" [15].

Additionally, through this awareness, each Muslims will be encouraged to behave well in their daily life. They are fear toward Allah as well as their belief that Allah always sees and records their activities. Briefly, religiosity awareness gives huge advantages either in personal or professional life of an individual, which also led to organizational success. As a consequence of the aforementioned concepts, this study hypothesized that there is a positive relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance.

The Relationship between Work Engagement and Job Performance

Job performance is defined as any kinds of employees' behaviors (aggressive, committed, lazy, dissatisfied, etc.) during work time [3]. Numerous studies also defined performance as the outcome of the combined effort, commitments, engagement, and involvement of each employees [16-18]. Whereas, engaged employees are committed to the organization at all levels, whether cognitive, emotional, and behavioral. Such total engagement, whether emotionally, intellectually and morally, will encourage employees to develop and perform beyond expectations.

Engaged employees always enthusiastic about their work, energetic, dedicated, create changes and take any initiatives in how their work is conducted. They tend to be proactive job crafters who organize their own job resources and job challenges [19]. Therefore, engaged employees have an important key role in contributing toward excellent job performance, which will give positive effect on the overall organizational performance. Additionally, [20] stated that in any economic climate, even during difficult economic times, employees engagement strongly influence organizational success in pursuing outstanding job performance. This statement describes the significance of the relationship between employee engagement and job performance. Furthermore, engagement leads toward positive performance outcomes. For instance, lower absenteeism, fewer quality incidents (defects), lower turnover, less shrinkage, fewer safety incidents, higher productivity, fewer consumer safety incidents, higher customer metrics, and higher profitability.

[21] believes that engaged employees always put an effort to contribute something towards their work. This means that employees would continuously plan how much effort they would give in the role of their jobs. In a nutshell, engaged employees tend to have good job performance [22]. Thus, based on these concepts, this study hypothesized that there is a positive relationship between work engagement and job performance.

The Relationship between Islamic Religiosity and Work Engagement

Islamic religiosity is about the awareness on practicing the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah in daily life, either personal or professional life. Furthermore, the awareness of Islamic religiosity in the workplace simply describes as to work as a form of worship and to gain God's blessing. The teachings of the Holy Quran and Hadith encompass all aspects of human life. Through these two main sources, it guides all human being about the behaviors on how to conduct business appropriately [23-25]. Additionally, through the awareness of Islamic religiosity, all Muslims are able to manage their job stress and engage well positively due to their belief that there is wisdom behind the will of God as well as the belief that all disasters that befall Muslims will absolve their sins [24]. Based on the study conducted in the United States, [26] found that 88.1% of highly religious Muslim youths have a positive behavior in their daily life. However, the religiosity level of Muslim countries is higher compare than other countries [27]. Based on the research that conducted in Malaysia, [28] found that the religiosity level of Muslims is higher compare to other religions.

Islam forbids Muslims to become lazy, wasting time, and engage in unproductive activities [9]. As cited in the Holy Quran: "By time; Indeed, mankind is in loss; except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to the truth and advised each other to patience" (Quran 103:1-3). This implies that, all human being, especially Muslims are obligated to work hard, keep the trust given, and be patient on any difficulties [2]. Moreover, all Muslim, either employers or employees are obligated to meet their obligations to God as the Supreme Power [29]. As a result of the awareness of these obligations, the excellent employees' engagement can be achieved.

Concisely, the quality of work engagement not solely relies on general concepts that already exist (satisfaction, commitment, involvement, etc.). But also depend on the belief, as well as the awareness that Allah always sees and records any activities of His servants. Through this mindset, all Muslims will be encouraged to keep the 'amanah' or the trust given, engage well, as well as avoiding any laziness and unethical deeds. Overall, based on the aforementioned studies that conducted by previous researchers, this study hypothesized that there is significant relationship between Islamic religiosity and work engagement.

The Mediating Effect of Work Engagement on The Relationship between Islamic Religiosity and Job Performance

Enhancing job performance is one of vital issues that still difficult to be solved by management [30]. This is because each individual has different behavioral change in dealing with their daily tasks, especially when the individual is working under pressure. Indeed, this modern era is "the age of anxiety and stress" [31]. Job stress can give negative effects for both the individual and the organization itself [32], which easily can lead toward disengagement of employees. While engaged employees have a crucial role in sustaining individual and organizational performance. Engaged employees are more likely to care about their organization and love to contribute something for organizational success. However, engaged employees can be disengaged easily when influenced by personal or management issues. Therefore, an organization should ensure the quality of individual engagement and performance in additional way. Since the existing antecedents of examining work engagement and job performance is still lacking and less suitable to be used in the Islamic community, thus studying Islamic factor could be useful towards organization, especially concentrating on Islamic religiosity.

Reference [33] found that there is a positive relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. However, limited study has been conducted in examining the implication of Islamic religiosity toward job performance. Meanwhile, [34] found that there is a positive relationship between employees' religiosity and job involvement. Indeed, job involvement and work engagement are empirically distinct constructs [35]. However, inspired by the aforementioned findings, this study would like to make Islamic religiosity as a new approach in examining work engagement and job performance.

Islamic teachings give complete guidance in all aspects of human life that they must fulfill. Whereas all Muslims are obligated to worship Allah and whatever they do must be intended to Allah. Thus, all Muslim employees are obligated to work as a form of worship and to obtain His blessings. As stated by HR Baihaqi in a hadith: "Work for the world as if you were going to live forever, and work for the hereafter as if you are going to die tomorrow". This Hadith guides all Muslims on how to gain success in the world and in the hereafter. This belief will encourage all Muslim to engage and perform the tasks assigned as well as possible. In accordance with several studies, they found that strong belief in Islam or Islamic religiosity [2] positively influence on great work engagement [36] and outstanding job performance [33]. Overall, it can be concluded that a strong awareness on religiosity is very important to inject a moral values into every human being. Even it can positively influence the behavior in daily activities. Hence, this study hypothesized that work engagement positively mediates the relationship between religiosity and job performance.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

The proposed framework that presented in the Fig. 1 below emphasizes on four paths of hypotheses. First path is the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. The second path is the relationship between work engagement and job performance. The third path is the relationship between work engagement and job performance. Whereas the overall paths indicate that work engagement mediates the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance.

METHODOLOGY

Sampling Design and Research Procedure

The data collection for this study is conducted through survey questionnaires which administered randomly to 150 administrative staffs in Islamic Higher Education Institution (HEI), Kedah, Malaysia. The questionnaires have been modified into English and Malay language. This questionnaires is aims to measure the level of Islamic religiosity, job performance, and work engagement. The survey results were analyzed through Smart-PLS and bootstrapping was conducted in order to test the significance level of the t-statistic as well as the relevance of path analysis of the proposed structural model. Generally, this study utilize simple random sampling, descriptive analysis, and quantitative correlational method.

Measurement

The instruments that used in this study are adopted from existing research models. In measuring Islamic religiosity, this study adopted the Dimensions of Religiosity that developed by [37]. However, out of 7 dimensions, this study only focuses on 10 items of general religiosity dimension, which consists of 5 items from daily spiritual experiences measurement, and the remaining 5 items are from religious coping measurement. While job performance is measured by adopting 9 items scale of task performance that developed by [38]. Although there are three dimensions in the job performance scale that developed by [38], this study only focuses on one dimension, namely task performance. Whereas, work engagement was measured through Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) that developed by [39]. There are 17 items in work engagement scale, which comprises three dimensions of engagement (vigor, dedication, and absorption).

DATA ANALAYSIS

In analyzing the data, a statistical tool that known as Smart-PLS software is utilized. The results of analysis are presented in the following table.

Briefly, the results presented in the previous table revealed that each variable in this study has a great reliability (Cronbachs Alpha and composite reliability more that 0.80). Moreover, the value of Average variance extracted (AVE) also shows a higher value than 0.50.

HYPOTHESIS TESTING

Hypothesis testing is conducted through bootstrapping of 499 bootstrap samples in Smart-PLS. Through the bootstrap analysis, the t-statistics (t-value) is computed. The results of t-value reveal the relevance of the path loadings between constructs in the Structural Model. Additionally, through the bootstrap analysis, it also tests the mediating effect of work engagement on the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. Thus, the following table briefly presents the results of T-statistics, path coefficient (beta), and the hypothesis.

The absolute and significant value of t-value for two-tailed test must be 1.96 or higher. Thus, based on bootstrapping, the table below concluded that there is significant relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance (t-value= 2.650), between work engagement and job performance (t-value= 4.378), as well as between Islamic religiosity and work engagement (t-value= 4.109). Based on the analysis, this study also found that all variables are moderately correlated and there are no collinearity issues in this study. Briefly, it can be concluded that four hypotheses that developed in this study are accepted.

II. TEST OF MEDIATION

The mediating effect of work engagement on the relationship between islamic religiosity and job performance is analyzed by: (a) assessing the level of predictive power ([R.sup.2]), (b) assessing the effect of [f.sup.2] size, (c) as well as assessing the predictive relevance [Q.sup.2] and the [q.sup.2] effect size. R-squared simply defined as the "percent of variance explained" by the model. In this study the [R.sup.2] value is 0.240, which suggesting that 24% of the variance of work engagement can be explained by Islamic religiosity. While the [R.sup.2] value of 0.455 suggests that 45.5% of the variance in job performance can be explained by work engagement.

The effect of [f.sup.2] size is obtained directly after assessing the structural model through smart-PLs. This study found that islamic religiosity towards work engagement (endogenous) has 0.156 [f.sup.2] effect size. This indicates that Islamic religiosity represents medium effects of exogenous (islamic religiosity) latent variable. While the other endogenous construct is job performance. This study found that the exogenous constructs (Islamic religiosity and work engagement) in explaining the endogenous latent variable (job performance) has [f.sup.2] effect size of 0.149 and 0.315, respectively. This indicates that Islamic religiosity represents medium effects of exogenous latent variable. Whereas work engagement represents large effects of exogenous latent variable.

In assessing the predictive relevance [Q.sup.2], values of 0.02, 0.15, and 0.35 indicate that an exogenous construct has a small, medium, or large predictive relevance sequentially. The first endogenous construct is work engagement. To calculate [q.sup.2] effect size for work engagement, Y1 represents Islamic religiosity. In this study, the [Q.sup.2] included value is 0.056. In contrast, the [Q.sup.2] excluded Y1 value is 0.040. This indicates that exogenous constructs (Islamic religiosity) explaining the endogenous latent variable (work engagement) with [q.sup.2] effect size of 0.025. Another endogenous construct is job performance. To calculate [q.sup.2] effect size for job performance, Y1 represents Islamic religiosity and Y2 represents work engagement. In this study, the [Q.sup.2] included value is 0.246. In contrast, the [Q.sup.2] excluded Y1 value is 0.215 and the [Q.sup.2] excluded Y2 is 0.239. Briefly, exogenous constructs (Islamic religiosity and work engagement) in this study explaining the endogenous latent variable (job performance) with [q.sup.2] effect size of 0.030 and 0.025 respectively.

Overall, based on the aforementioned results, it can be concluded that Islamic religiosity is directly and indirectly have a positive relationship towards job performance. While work engagement positively mediates the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance (Hypothesis 4).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

Recently, most of the organization focuses on sustaining excellent work engagement and numerous study on work engagement have been conducted. One of the reasons is the significant role of work engagement in contributing toward great job performance. However, the existing studies and theories of work engagement are less appropriate to be used in the Islamic community. This due to the lack of Islamic values and spirituality. Therefore, this study made a new approach in sustaining great work engagement and job performance, specifically through Islamic religiosity.

Islam is a comprehensive religion that regulates all aspects of human life that give a major influence on individual behavior, personality and daily activities. Additionally, according to [40], Islam is about 'aqidah' and 'ibadah'. This implies that every activity conducted is out of sincerity for the sake of worship as well as to gain the blessing of Allah in this world and in the Hereafter, not only for monetary reward. Thus, a real Muslim should be patient, 'tawakal', and not grumble while dealing with difficulties in any tasks assigned. This due to the belief that there is wisdom behind the difficulties. Moreover, a real Muslim should restrain themselves. Since Allah is always with those who are patient. In a nutshell, each Muslim is obligated to remain committed in performing the 'amanah' or the trust given. For these reasons, this paper emphasized on the awareness and implementation of Islamic religiosity in working life in order to sustain employee engagement and simultaneously results in excellent job performance.

The findings of this study showed significant relationships between each variables. First, a significant relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. Second, a significant relationship between work engagement and job performance. Third, a significant relationship between Islamic religiosity and work engagement. Last but not least, a positive mediating effect of work engagement on the relationship between Islamic religiosity and job performance. In line with the previous findings which stated that people who have higher religiosity [2] are more inclined to engaged [24, 35] and subsequently would perform well in their job role[33]. The findings of this study also lead to numerous implications, either in managerial or individual aspect. By implementing Islamic religiosity awareness as the base of daily activities, any individual or organization will achieve great success and long lasting prosperity. Considering that this awareness will encourage employees to engage and perform the tasks assigned as well as possible, for the sake of His blessing. Thus, management should determine the way on how to touch the employees' heart accurately and give depth awareness on Islamic religiosity. Furthermore, it is utmost importance for management to constantly evaluate the Islamic religiosity awareness of their employees. Overall, fostering Islamic religiosity awareness will lead the workplace atmosphere becomes more engaging and simultaneously sustains great job performance. Thus, future researchers are recommended to explore in depth about Islamic approach in the workplace, such as Islamic job performance and Islamic work engagement.

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(1) Novia Zahrah, (2a)Siti Norasyikin Binti Abdul Hamid, (2b)Shamsul Huda Binti Abdul Rani, and (2c)Bidayatul Akmal Binti Mustafa Kamil

(1) Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business

(2a,b,c) School of Business Management Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Kedah, Malaysia

Email: (1) oviasah@ymail.com (2a,b,c) {norasyikin, shuda, bidayatul}@uum.edu.my
TABLE 1. RELIABILITY ANALYSIS, COMPOSITE RELIABILITY, AND AVERAGE
VARIANCE EXTRACTED

V    N   Mean     SD    AVE    CA     CR

JP    9  4.064  0.747  0.630  0.926  0.938
Rel  10  4.361  0.743  0.568  0.902  0.923
WE   17  4.001  0.77   0.542  0.932  0.939

Note:
V: Variable
JP: Job Performance
Rel: Islamic Religiosity
WE: Work Engagement
N: Total Items
SD: Standard Deviation
CA: Cronbach Alpha
CR: Composite Reliability

TABLE 2. HYPOTHESIS TESTING

H   Path                  Beta (P)  Std. Error   t-value    P-Value

H1  Rel [right arrow] JP  0.201     0.078       2.650 (**)  0.011
H2  WE [right arrow] JP   0.475     0.109       4.378 (**)  0.000
H3  Rel [right arrow] WE  0.312     0.080       4.109 (**)  0.000

H   Decision

H1  Accepted
H2  Accepted
H3  Accepted

Note:
(**) p<0.05 (two-tailed test)
H: Hypothesis
JP: Job Performance
Rel: islamic Religiosity
WE: Work Engagement
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Author:Zahrah, Novia; Hamid, Siti Norasyikin Binti Abdul; Rani, Shamsul Huda Binti Abdul; Kamil, Bidayatul
Publication:Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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