Antecedents of work engagement in a chemical industry
Organisations across the world are faced with the same challenges of how to get employees to be totally immersed in their role at work. People occupy roles at work. There is no sense in engaging employees if management is not going to invest in the effort of placing these employees in appropriate roles and supporting them to be engaged in their work. There are generalised states that employees occupy: people are to some degree job involved, committed to organisations, or alienated at work in the form of self-estrangement. These concepts suggest that employees can use varying degrees of themselves, physically, cognitively and emotionally, in the roles they perform. The primary objective of this research was to explore the three psychological processes, meaningfulness, safety and availability to be determinants of work engagement. Another objective was also to explore the influence of the antecedent conditions, namely work role fit, co-worker relations, supervisor relations, co-worker norms, self-consciousness and resources on work engagement. The study also investigated whether the psychological processes mediate the relationships between antecedent conditions and work engagement. A survey design was used to reach the research objectives. The specific design used was the cross-sectional design. Employees across all levels (N=165)i n a chemical industry in the Vaal Triangle were targeted for this research. Four standardised questionnaires were used in the empirical study, namely the Psychological Processes Questionnaire, Antecedent Conditions Questionnaire, Work Engagement Questionnaire as well as a Biographical Questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses showed that psychological meaningfulness mediated the relationship between work role fit and work engagement. A total of 32% of the variance in psychological meaningfulness was predicted by work role fit. Psychological meaningfulness predicted 29% of the variance in work engagement. Psychological availability mediated the relationship between available resources and work engagement. The analysis indicated that 11% of the variance in engagement was predicted by resources. Psychological availability predicted 3 1 % of the variance in engagement. Recommendations for future research were made.