An elaboration and modification of the May, Gilson, and Harter (2004) employee engagement structural model

Joubert, Kendra Leigh (2020-03)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Job performance is perhaps the most central and important dependent variable in Industrial/Organisational psychology. A recent plea being directed at researchers is the need for positive organisational behaviour (POB) research, which is interested in not only improving the work performance of employees, but also in the promotion of employee wellbeing/psychological health. Work takes up a significant proportion of people’s lives and need not be a disagreeable, painful means of earning the income needed to live after hours and over weekends. Work can and should offer individuals the opportunity to also find meaning in work. Fortunately, the morally justifiable way of utilising employees does also seem to hold advantages in terms of enhanced employee performance, as research has demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between employee wellbeing and performance (Bakker, Schaufeli, Leiter, & Taris, 2008). In response to these pleas for a shift in and/or more positive research, the POB-construct employee engagement has become one of the most important topics in the sphere of Human Resource Management (HRM). It is clearly evident that employee engagement is both an important and relevant construct in South Africa’s current work environment that HR needs to take it into consideration when developing interventions aimed at improving employee performance and employee wellbeing. In order for HRM to successfully cultivate an engaged workforce, it needs to understand why differences in employee engagement exist – that is, why some employees engage their selves in their work, while others disengage from their work. The level of engagement of employees is not a random event. Rather, is it an expression of the systematic working of a complex nomological network of malleable and/or non-malleable person-centred and situational latent variables. To purposefully increase the levels of engagement that employees experience those malleable and/or non-malleable person-centred and situational latent variables have to be manipulated to levels conducive to high employee engagement, and ultimately high performance and wellbeing, through appropriate flow and stock interventions (Milkovich & Boudreau, 1988). Therefore, HR will only be able to successfully and purposefully promote the development of high engagement in employees to the extent that the employee engagement construct is validly understood, the (malleable and non-malleable) person-centred and situational determinants of engagement are known, as well as how these latent variables amalgamate to affect performance on the various dimensions of engagement are validly understood. To this end, based on the extensive theorising by Kahn (1990) on the psychological conditions that serve as prerequisites for engagement, May, Gilson and Harter (2004) developed a basic employee engagement structural model. However, due to the fact that employee engagement is complexly determined by a nomological network of latent variables characterising the employee and their (perception of their) environment, and that any attempt to influence the level of an individual’s work engagement will only succeed so far as this complexity is truly understood, it is really doubtful that only one explanatory study will surmount to a complete understanding of the comprehensive nomological network of latent variables that underly employee engagement. Rather, the likelihood of making meaningful progress toward a deeper understanding of the psychological dynamics underlying employee engagement becomes more apparent if consecutive research studies will endeavour to elaborate and expand on already existing employee engagement structural models. As such, this study focuses on the modification and elaboration of the May et al. (2004) employee engagement structural model by expanding the model through adding additional latent variables. The objective of this study was to test the proposed expanded employee engagement structural model.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Werksprestasie is waarskynlik die belangrikste afhanklike veranderlike in Bedryfs-/Organisasiesielkunde. 'n Onlangse pleidooi wat aan navorsers gerig is, is die behoefte aan positiewe organisasiegedragnavorsing (POB) wat nie net belangstel in die verbetering van die werksprestasie van werknemers nie, maar ook in die bevordering van werknemers se welstand/sielkundige gesondheid. Werk maak 'n aansienlike deel van mense se lewens uit en hoef nie 'n onaangename, pynlike manier te wees om die inkomste te verdien wat nodig is om na-ure en naweke te leef nie. Werk kan en behoort individue die geleentheid te bied om ook betekenis in hul werk te vind. Gelukkig blyk dit dat die morele regverdigbare manier om werknemers te benut, ook voordele bied ten opsigte van verbeterde werknemerprestasie, aangesien navorsing bewys het dat daar 'n positiewe verwantskap bestaan tussen welstand en prestasie van werknemers (Bakker, Schaufeli, Leiter, & Taris, 2008). In reaksie op hierdie pleidooie vir 'n verskuiwing in en/of meer positiewe navorsing, het die POB-konstruk werknemersbetrokkenheid een van die belangrikste onderwerpe in die gebied van Menslikehulpbronbestuur (MHB) geword. Dit is duidelik dat werknemersbetrokkenheid 'n belangrike en relevante konstruk is in Suid-Afrika se huidige werksomgewing wat menslike hulpbronne in ag moet neem met die ontwikkeling van intervensies wat gemik is op die verbetering van werknemersprestasie en welstand van werknemers. Om te verseker dat MHB suksesvol 'n betrokke werkmag kan kweek, moet hulle verstaan waarom daar verskille in werknemersbetrokkenheid bestaan - dit wil sê, waarom sommige werknemers hulself inleef in hul werk, terwyl ander hulself aan hul werk onttek. Die vlak van betrokkenheid van werknemers is nie 'n ewekansige gebeurtenis nie. Dit is eerder 'n uitdrukking van die sistematiese werking van 'n komplekse nomologiese netwerk van smeebare en/of nie-smeebare persoon-gesentreerde en situasionele latente veranderlikes. Om doelgerig die betrokkenheidsvlakke te verhoog, moet die smeebare en/of nie-smeebare persoon-gesentreerde en situasionele latente veranderlikes gemanipuleer word tot vlakke wat bevorderlik is vir 'n hoë werknemersbetrokkenheid, en uiteindelik hoë prestasie en welstand, deur gepaste vloei- en voorraad-intervensies (Milkovich & Boudreau, 1988). Daarom kan menslike hulpbronne slegs suksesvol en doelgerig die ontwikkeling van hoë betrokkenheid by werknemers bevorder tot die mate waarin die konstruk van werknemersbetrokkenheid korrek verstaan word, die (smeebare en nie-smeebare) persoon-gesentreerde en situasionele bepalers van betrokkenheid bekend is, en die wyse waarop die persoon en situasionele latente veranderlikes kombineer om prestasie op die verskillende dimensies van betrokkenheid te beïnvloed geldig verstaan word. Met die oog hierop het May, Gilson en Harter (2004) 'n basiese strukturele model vir werknemersbetrokkenheid ontwikkel, gebaseer op die uitgebreide teoretisering deur Kahn (1990) oor die sielkundige toestande wat dien as voorvereistes vir betrokkenheid. Weens die feit dat werknemersbetrokkenheid kompleks bepaal word deur 'n nomologiese netwerk van latente veranderlikes wat die werknemer en hul (persepsie van hul) omgewing kenmerk, en dat enige poging om die vlak van 'n individu se werksbetrokkenheid te beïnvloed slegs tot die mate sal slaag dat hierdie kompleksiteit akkuraat verstaan word, is dit hoogs onwaarskynlik dat 'n enkele verklarende navorsingstudie sal lei tot 'n akkurate begrip van die uitgebreide nomologiese netwerk van latente veranderlikes wat werknemersbetrokkenheid bepaal. Dit is waarskynliker dat betekenisvolle vordering gemaak word met die oog op 'n meer deurdringende begrip van die sielkundige dinamika onderliggend aan werknemersbetrokkenheid, indien opeenvolgende navorsingstudies sal poog om reeds bestaande strukturele modelle vir werknemersbetrokkenheid uit te brei. Dus fokus hierdie studie op die verandering en uitbreiding van die May et al. (2004) strukturele model vir werknemersbetrokkenheid, deur die model uit te brei met die insluiting van addisionele latente veranderlikes. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die voorgestelde uitgebreide strukturele model vir werknemersbetrokkenheid te toets.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107985
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