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The influence of age on the job resources-engagement relationship

Wei Ning (Division of International Business and Technology Studies, A. R. Sanchez Jr School of Business, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas, USA)
Albi Alikaj (Division of International Business and Technology Studies, A. R. Sanchez Jr School of Business, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 9 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the moderating role of employee age in the relationship between work engagement and several job resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used questionnaire-based surveys completed by 804 employees from firms located in West China. The data were then analyzed by conducting latent moderated structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results of the study show that certain job resources (autonomy, recognition, colleague support, participation, job security and flexible work arrangements) are more effective for older employees in promoting work engagement, while other resources (job feedback, opportunities for development, skill variety and internal promotion) are more tailored toward younger employees.

Research limitations/implications

The results suggest that job resources are not equally effective in affecting employee work engagement. Therefore, future studies should adopt a dynamic lifespan perspective when studying the relationship between job resources and work engagement.

Practical implications

The current study indicates that to increase younger employees’ work engagement, organizations need to rely more on development-oriented job resources, and to increase older employees’ work engagement, they need to focus more on maintenance-oriented resources.

Originality/value

The literature on work engagement has assumed that the strength of the relationship between job resources and work engagement is uniform among employees at all ages. This study refers to two life-span theories from the development psychology literature to explain that there are age-related differences in the effect of job resources on employee work engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Ning, W. and Alikaj, A. (2019), "The influence of age on the job resources-engagement relationship", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 1218-1238. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOA-09-2018-1528

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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