Work engagement in eight European countries: The role of job demands, autonomy, and social support

Sakari Taipale (Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Kirsikka Selander (Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Timo Anttila (Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Jouko Nätti (Department of Social Research, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 26 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the level and predictors of work engagement among service sector employees in eight European countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The work seeks to discover if job demands and resources, i.e. job autonomy and social support, affect work engagement in differing ways in different countries when socio‐demographical variables and work‐related factors are controlled. The study is based on a statistical analysis of survey data from Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK in 2007 (n=7,867). The data represent four economic sectors: retail trade, finance and banking, telecoms and public hospitals.

Findings

The results show that the level of work engagement varies not only between countries but also between those four economic sectors within each country. Additionally, the findings indicate that demands decrease work engagement, while autonomy and support increase it. Although the effects are mainly the same across the countries, the article also points out some exceptions in this regard.

Originality/value

Although the paper is built upon established theories about job demands and autonomy, it uses a newer work engagement approach, produces cross‐national knowledge about work engagement and its predictors. Cross‐national approaches to work engagement are still rare.

Keywords

Citation

Taipale, S., Selander, K., Anttila, T. and Nätti, J. (2011), "Work engagement in eight European countries: The role of job demands, autonomy, and social support", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 31 No. 7/8, pp. 486-504. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443331111149905

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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