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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2011

Thomas Clausen and Vilhelm Borg

This paper aims to identify longitudinal associations between job demands, job resources and experience of meaning at work.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify longitudinal associations between job demands, job resources and experience of meaning at work.

Design/methodolgy/approach

Using data from a longitudinal survey study among 6,299 employees in Danish eldercare who were divided into 301 work‐groups, experience of meaning at work was predicted from a series of job demands and job resources measured at individual level and group level.

Findings

A combination of individual‐level and group‐level measures of job demands and job resources contributed to predicting meaning at work. Meaning at work at follow‐up was predicted by meaning at work at baseline, role ambiguity, quality of leadership, and influence at work at individual level and emotional demands at group level. Individual‐level measures of job demands and job resources proved stronger predictors of meaning at work than group‐level measures.

Research limitations/implications

Psychosocial job demands and job resources predict experience of meaning at work.

Practical implications

Experience of meaning at work constitutes an important organizational resource by contributing to the capacities of employees to deal with work‐related stresses and strains, while maintaining their health and well‐being.

Social implications

Experience of meaning at work is positively associated with well‐being and reduces risk for long‐term sickness absence and turnover. Attention towards enhancing employee experiences of meaning at work may contribute towards the ability of western societies to recruit the necessary supply of labour over the coming decades.

Originality/value

This is the first study to provide longitudinal, multi‐level evidence on the association between job demands, job resources and experience of meaning at work.

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