What matters for work engagement? A diary study on resources and the benefits of selective optimization with compensation for state work engagement

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This diary study addresses the benefits of employees' daily use of selective optimization with compensation (SOC) for state work engagement. We hypothesized that day-level SOC not only directly fosters work engagement but that SOC also reveals its beneficial effects for work engagement in interaction with both external and internal resources. Specifically, we proposed SOC substitutes for job control, role clarity, and state of being recovered, thus helping employees manage low daily levels of these resources. We tested our hypotheses with a sample of 138 employees who completed two daily surveys over a total of 545 workdays. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that SOC benefits work engagement in both proposed ways. First, day-level SOC was positively related to state work engagement. Additionally, day-level role clarity and state of being recovered predicted state work engagement, but day-level job control did not. Second, SOC benefitted state work engagement by offsetting low levels of role clarity and being recovered, and by boosting job control in their respective relationships with work engagement. The results suggest that by using SOC at work, employees can actively enhance their own work engagement on a given workday. This knowledge provides promising starting points for the development of interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2018
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • diary study, resources, selective optimization with compensation, work engagement
  • Business psychology