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What makes employees engaged with their work? The role of self-efficacy and employee’s perceptions of social context over time

Chiara Consiglio (Department of Psychology, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy.)
Laura Borgogni (Department of Psychology, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy.)
Cristina Di Tecco (Department of Psychology, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy.)
Wilmar B. Schaufeli (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands AND Research Unit Occupational & Organizational Psychology and Professional Learning, KU Leuven, Belgium)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 9 May 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

Work engagement represents an important aspect of employee well-being and performance and has been related to both job and personal resources. The purpose of this paper, based on Social Cognitive Theory, is to emphasize the proactive role of self-efficacy which is hypothesized to predict work engagement, not only directly, but also indirectly through positive changes in employee’s perceptions of social context (PoSC); namely, perceptions of one’s immediate supervisor, colleagues and top management.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 741 employees of a communication service company completed two questionnaires, with a time interval of three years. Structural equation modeling was performed in order to test the hypothesized model.

Findings

Results revealed that, as expected: first, initial self-efficacy predicts work engagement three years later; and second, positive changes in employee’s perceptions of the social work context across the three year period, mediates the relationship between self-efficacy and work engagement.

Research limitations/implications

Results relied only upon self-report data. Moreover, each variable was only measured at the time in which it was hypothesized by the conceptual model.

Practical implications

The significant role of self-efficacy as a direct and indirect predictor of work engagement suggests the development of training programs centered on the main sources of self-efficacy, specifically focussed on the social work domain.

Originality/value

This research provides evidence of the substantial contribution of self-efficacy to work engagement over time. Moreover, the results also support the beneficial effects of self-efficacy through its influence on the improvements in the individuals’ perceptions of their social context.

Keywords

Citation

Consiglio, C., Borgogni, L., Di Tecco, C. and Schaufeli, W.B. (2016), "What makes employees engaged with their work? The role of self-efficacy and employee’s perceptions of social context over time", Career Development International, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 125-143. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-03-2015-0045

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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