Psychological conditions that mediate between job demands and resources, and work engagement
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The face of the workplace has changed dramatically over the past decade and most organisations have to survive in a fiercely competitive global economy. The impact of the changing world of work is most evident in changes in the psychological contract (agreement) between employees and organisations. Employees are expected to give more in terms of time, effort, skills and flexibility, whereas they receive less in terms of career opportunities, lifetime employment and job security. It is in view of the above work complexities that employee engagement has become a focus area. in particular, to understand the mediating effects of certain psychological conditions in relation to work engagement. "Why do some employees stay engaged at work, even whilst being challenged with consistent change and greater job insecurity and why do others' disengage at work?" The objective of this study was to investigate the mediating effects of three psychological conditions, namely psychological meaningfulness, psychological safety, and psychological availability on employees' work engagement. A survey research design was used with a questionnaire as data-gathering instrument. Stratified random samples (N=171) were taken from employees of a multinational oil company. The Work Engagement Scale and the Work Experiences Scale were administered. Descriptive statistics (e.g. means and standard deviations) were used to analyse the data. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were used to assess the relationships between the variables. Multiple regression analyses were used to investigate the effects of the variables in this study. The results confirmed that psychological meaningfulness and psychological availability were significant predictors of work engagement. Meaningfulness displayed the strongest positive relation with engagement. The relation of work role fit with engagement was fully mediated by the psychological condition of meaningfulness. Cognitive, emotional and physical resources had the strongest effect on psychological availability. Feelings of self- consciousness impacted on psychological availability, implying that someone who is less self-conscious is psychologically more available to engage at work. It was therefore confirmed that psychological meaningfulness fully mediated the effects of work role fit on engagement and psychological availability fully mediated the effects of resources and self-consciousness on engagement. Limitations in the research are identified and recommendations for future research are made.