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Do new ways of working increase work engagement?

Ruud Gerards (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, Maastricht University , Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Andries de Grip (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, Maastricht University , Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Claudia Baudewijns (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, Maastricht University , Maastricht, The Netherlands)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 5 March 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to shed more light on the impact of the various facets of new ways of working (NWW) on employee work engagement, taking into account multiple sectors and occupational fields.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights from the literature and the job demands-resources model underpin the hypotheses on how NWW would affect work engagement. The hypotheses were tested using the Preacher and Hayes’ (2008) bootstrap method for multiple mediation and controls, taking into account two potential mediators between (facets of) NWW and work engagement: social interaction in the workplace and transformational leadership.

Findings

The analyses show that three facets of NWW – management of output, access to organizational knowledge, and a freely accessible open workplace – positively affect employees’ work engagement. The latter two facets appear to be fully mediated by social interaction and transformational leadership.

Practical implications

The results imply that firms should foster transformational leadership styles among their line managers, and social interaction in the workplaces, to maximize the positive impact of NWW on work engagement.

Originality/value

This empirical paper draws on a unique data set on the Dutch working population to provide novel insights with a substantial degree of generalizability into the relation between NWW and work engagement, whilst applying a more comprehensive definition of NWW than previously applied, while incorporating two potential mediators.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Evert Webers, Roger Schils and Eric Schlösser of RMI/IBC for their assistance in the survey design, and Marion Collewet and Jol Stoffers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. The authors also thank participants of the 2015 International Conference of the Dutch HRM Network and the 2013 INSCOPE Annual Conference for their comments.

Citation

Gerards, R., de Grip, A. and Baudewijns, C. (2018), "Do new ways of working increase work engagement?", Personnel Review, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 517-534. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-02-2017-0050

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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