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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|21686||2013||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 83, Issue 3, December 2013, Pages 466–475
The present longitudinal study examined the role of career values for work engagement across the transition from university education to working life. Finnish young adults reported on their career values (intrinsic, rewards, and security values) at the age of 23; and the degree of person–organization fit (value congruence, and congruence between one's education and the job), subjective income and economic stress two years later at the age of 25. Work engagement was assessed at both measurement points. Structural equation modeling results showed, first, that intrinsic but not rewards or security career values were related to work engagement. Second, value congruence and having a job which was related to young adults' educational field were positively associated with work engagement. Our findings suggest that along with person–organization fit, intrinsic career values are a significant factor in shaping and facilitating successful transitions from education to work.
Psychological research on work engagement has flourished in the last decade in the context of an increased attention placed on the positive aspects of human functioning (Bakker et al., 2008 and Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Recent research has identified work engagement as a key research topic for career development, performance and well-being (Bakker et al., 2008, Salmela-Aro et al., 2009, Salmela-Aro et al., 2011 and Schaufeli et al., 2002). Work engagement is defined as a positive and psychologically fulfilling state of mind characterized by high levels of energy, involvement, and concentration in work and study situations (Bakker et al., 2008 and Schaufeli et al., 2002). Prior studies have found that higher levels of engagement predict academic (Salanova, Schaufeli, Martinez, & Bresó, 2010) and work performance (Bakker et al., 2012, Demerouti and Bakker, 2006 and Salanova et al., 2005), organizational commitment (Hakanen, Bakker, & Schaufeli, 2006) and personal initiative at work (Hakanen, Perhoniemi, & Toppinen-Tanner, 2008). Given that work engagement is a critical factor to subsequent performance, it is important to investigate the extent to which personal motivation, such as career values, contributes to engagement. Substantial longitudinal research on young adults has indicated that career values play a vital role in career outcomes, for example, working hours and job features (Johnson and Monserud, 2010 and Johnson and Mortimer, 2011). Although career values are important for individuals' vocational development (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984), decision making behavior (Schwartz, 1992) and career choice (Judge & Bretz, 1992), it is surprising that their potential relation with work engagement has not yet been studied. To fill this gap, this study aims to examine career values as an important personal resource for prospective engagement in the transition from education to employment. 1.1. Personal resources for work engagement Work engagement is conceptualized by three key characteristics: feelings of vigor, strong dedication, and high levels of absorption (Schaufeli et al., 2002). Feelings of vigor involve high levels of energy, mental resilience to overcome setbacks, and persistence. Dedication conveys a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride and challenge that arise from being involved in an activity. Absorption is characterized by fully concentrating and being happily engrossed in one's work. From a developmental perspective, the presence of high levels of work engagement is an important indicator of a successful transition from education to employment (see Dietrich, Parker, & Salmela-Aro, 2012). The experience of engagement indicates the adaptation to the new life situation and reflects the interplay between personal characteristics and the available resources in the environment (Bakker et al., 2003 and Hakanen et al., 2006). The job demands–resources model (Bakker and Demerouti, 2007, Bakker et al., 2003 and Hakanen et al., 2006) is a major framework for studying engagement. Within this model, job resources refer to the sources of support, such as job control, supervision, information and feed-back, and social climate that facilitate the experience of work engagement. Personal resources refer to characteristics and traits that allow individuals to maintain a sense of mastery in their lives, feel in control and able to impact upon their environment successfully (Hobfoll, Johnson, Ennis, & Jackson, 2003). Personal resources include positive characteristics such as optimism, self-efficacy and self-esteem which have been shown to predict work engagement (Mäkikangas et al., 2004 and Xanthopoulou et al., 2007). For example, across the transition from university to work, Salmela-Aro et al., 2009 and Salmela-Aro et al., 2011 found that the ways in which university students approached and responded to academic and social situations predicted levels of work engagement even seventeen years later. In the present study, we propose that career values are important personal resources that may help young adults to cope with the challenges in the transition from education to work. Based on self-determination theory (SDT, Deci and Ryan, 1985 and Ryan and Deci, 2000), we examine the extent to which career values (i.e., intrinsic vs. extrinsic) serve a positive function maintaining motivation in terms of engagement. 1.2. Self-determination theory perspective on career values Career values are defined as evaluations of the desirability of different kinds of job attributes (Johnson & Monserud, 2010) and play an important role in young adults' exploration of their role as a worker (Super, 1980). The most widely used classification for career values has been the classic distinction into intrinsic career values, which are defined as the rewards derived from participating in the work tasks themselves, such as interest and autonomy; and extrinsic career values, defined as the rewards that are external to the work experience, such as income and prestige (Dawis and Lofquist, 1984, Johnson, 2001b and Mortimer and Lorence, 1979; Ros, Schwartz, & Surkiss, 1999). In line with most previous research on work values, we focus on extrinsic and intrinsic career values. Self-determination theory (SDT, Deci & Ryan, 1985) provides a comprehensive theoretical framework for distinguishing motivations underlying career values, describing the consequences associated with different types of motivation, and outlining the conditions which may foster motivation. According to SDT, three basic human needs are crucial for sustaining and fostering motivation: the needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. Autonomy represents the need to be the perceived origin or source of one's own behavior. Competence refers to feelings of effectiveness in one's ongoing interactions with the social context. Lastly, relatedness refers to the need to belong (Baumeister & Leary, 1995) and be connected with other human beings. In fact, based on SDT perspective, the job demands–resources model has suggested that job resources fulfilling these basic human needs can foster work engagement (Deci et al., 2001 and Van Den Broeck et al., 2008). Specifically, recent study showed that job resources, such as task autonomy, skill utilization and feedback were related to higher need satisfaction which in turn predicted higher vigor and lower exhaustion (Van Den Broeck et al., 2008). Similarly, support for autonomy from supervisors predicted greater satisfaction of employees' needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness, which led to increased positive psychological adjustment and higher level of work performance (Baard, Deci, & Ryan, 2004). In accordance with other motivational research, SDT highlights that autonomy—the behavior is volitional and self-endorsed—is central to feelings of well-being. Central to SDT is the distinction between autonomous and controlled regulations. Autonomous regulation emerges when the behavior is identified as personally important, performed out of own choice and internalized, felt in accordance with the person's own characteristics and values (see, Deci and Ryan, 2000 and Ryan and Deci, 2000). On the contrary, controlled regulation is evident in behaviors that are instrumental or done for consequences separable from the activities per se and when people act out of a sense of pressure or obligation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Autonomous regulation is closer to intrinsic motivation of which behavior is pursued by the inherent satisfactions. As a long-term drive, it has been found that intrinsic motivation and autonomous regulation move individuals towards their goals based on interest and enjoyment (Deci and Ryan, 1985 and Sheldon and Elliot, 1999). Intrinsic motivation directs and amplifies attention towards the tasks involved in a goal and predicts the levels of investment and progress towards goals (Dietrich et al., 2013 and Sheldon and Elliot, 1999). On the other hand, controlled forms of motivation have been shown to result in higher anxiety and lower well-being (Deci and Ryan, 1985 and Sheldon and Elliot, 1999). Recently, Van Beek, Taris, and Schaufeli (2011) showed that engaged employees were driven by autonomous forms of motivation, while employees experiencing burnout had higher controlled forms of motivation. The distinction between autonomous and controlled sources of motivations provides a basis for our conceptualization of intrinsic and extrinsic career values as we will outline below. In the present study, intrinsic career values refer to the interest, the learning possibilities, and the feeling that the career is in accordance to the self. Young people with intrinsic career values may feel a sense of ownership of their behavior and may also be more likely to experience increasing amounts of fulfillment from the activities they undertake, in our case their first work experiences. Accordingly, we propose that intrinsic career values are positive antecedents of work engagement as these values are based on autonomous forms of motivations and foster the satisfaction of autonomy and competence needs (Gagné & Deci, 2005). On the contrary, we conceptualize as extrinsic career values those with a focus on having a good salary and promotion (rewards career values), and on secure working conditions and possibilities of employment (security career values). Extrinsic career values are based on external sources of motivation which undermine feelings of autonomy. When expressed in early, career values may predict lower levels of work engagement by focusing on extrinsic rewards and undermining the internalization of behaviors. 1.3. The role of person–organization fit for work engagement When studying the role of career values for engagement across the transition to working life, a number of other relevant factors need to be considered. First, prior research on work motivation (Maslach & Leiter, 1997) has shown that the degree of person–organization fit influences individuals' levels of stress and increases the likelihood of burnout, considered the opposite motivational state of engagement. Person–organization fit refers to the congruity between the person and the work place in key aspects, such as workload, control, rewards, community feelings, fairness, and values. This last area of person–organization fit was conceptualized as value congruence and was identified as a key dynamic mechanism for sustaining motivation at work (Leiter, 2008 and Maslach and Leiter, 2008). Value congruence is relevant for our study as it involves the subjective perception of the compatibility between personal and organizational values and goals. We expect that the greater the perceived congruity between personal and organizational values and goals, the greater the likelihood of work engagement (Leiter, 2008 and Leiter et al., 2009). Second, the extent of person–organization fit is also influenced by the match between the individuals' educational background and the job tasks (Robst, 2007). The possibilities of having a job that matches young adults' education and training played an important role for work motivation, especially at early stages of the career (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984). Individuals that work in their study field will experience greater feelings of competence by being able to put what they have learnt at the university into practice. Moreover, having the necessary financial resources for independent living fulfills needs for autonomy and independence during young adulthood. Vocational development and economic independence emerge as the major developmental tasks during young adulthood and positive outcomes in terms of engagement are expected when individuals are able to fulfill these demands (Dietrich et al., 2012, Dietrich et al., 2012 and Ranta et al., 2012). Thus, we included these two relevant variables when analyzing young adults' work engagement. 1.4. Gender differences in career values Gender has been identified as an important antecedent of value orientations (Marini et al., 1996 and Schwartz, 1992). Previous studies have found that young men had higher extrinsic work values while young women had higher intrinsic work values (Johnson, 2001a and Johnson, 2002). These gender differences are consistent with Schwartz and Rubel's (2005) findings on personal value priorities: across cultures men attribute more importance to values related to power (status, dominance) and achievement (demonstrate own competence) than women do. Accordingly, we took into account the effect of gender on career values in our study. In line with prior work, we expect to find higher intrinsic career values among women and higher reward and job security work values (i.e. extrinsic career values) among men (Bridges, 1989 and Marini et al., 1996). 1.5. The present research Despite the extensive research on work engagement, longitudinal studies addressing the role of career values for work engagement are missing. This study aims to fill this gap with a focus on young adults at the transition from education to working life. Based on SDT (Deci & Ryan, 2000) we propose that intrinsic career values prospectively predict high levels of work engagement (Hypothesis 1a) and extrinsic career values (i.e., rewards and security values) predict low levels of work engagement (Hypothesis 1b). We further propose that person–organization value congruence will be positively associated with work engagement (Hypothesis 2). Moreover, we hypothesize that work engagement is higher where individuals have made a transition to employment that is in line with their qualifications (Hypothesis 3), and where they are in a financial situation characterized by financial satisfaction and low economic stress (Hypothesis 4). Finally, we examine whether female gender predicts higher intrinsic and lower extrinsic career values (Hypothesis 5).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The primary aim of this study was to examine the role of young adults' career values for their work engagement during the transition from education to working life. Research on work engagement has shown that personal resources help workers to cope with job demands more efficiently and keep work engagement (Baard et al., 2004, Bakker and Demerouti, 2007, Van Den Broeck et al., 2008 and Xanthopoulou et al., 2007). Our study further advances the knowledge on motivation at work. First, in line with hypothesis 1a, our results showed that individuals with higher intrinsic career value motivation during university years were more engaged with work subsequently. Thus, intrinsic career values are an important personal resource when young people enter the work force. Second, our results showed that intrinsic career values contributed to young people's work engagement above the effect of other variables, such as person–organization fit, life situation and financial situation. Moreover, based on SDT we predicted that extrinsic career values—contingent upon external rewards and secure working conditions—would be negatively related to engagement (hypothesis 1b). Our results, however, did not support this hypothesis. One explanation could be that personal motivations are influenced by the contingencies found in the socio-economic context (Schwartz & Bardi, 1997). The recent economic crisis impacted Finland, where the present study was carried out, and youth unemployment rates reached around 20% in early 2010 (Official Statistics of Finland, 2010). It is possible that under such insecure situations a focus on career advancement and security emerges as a strategy to deal with it in the short term. Another possibility is that extrinsic career values also brought some desired outcomes in the work context. Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) have proposed that job resources may play a two-sided motivational role: an intrinsic one, fostering employees' growth and learning, or extrinsic, being instrumental in achieving work goals. Thus, whether our study participants had achieved work goals related to their extrinsic career values or not might moderate the non-significant relation reported here. A second aim of this study was to examine the role of person–organization fit in terms of value congruence on work engagement. Our findings supported hypothesis 2 and were in line with prior research indicating that a match between the individuals' values and goals and those of the organization is also strongly associated with work engagement (Leiter, 2008 and Leiter et al., 2009). Our results showed that value congruence was significantly associated with work engagement during the first working years of working experience, controlling for the career values as such. While previous research which had not yet covered career values and value congruence simultaneously, and had not much focused on young adults, this finding provides a valuable addition to the existing literature. The degree of person–organization fit was further examined in relation to two other variables: the possibilities to develop a career in the field of specialization (hypothesis 3) and a good economic situation (hypothesis 4). We found that having moved from university to a job which was in accord with one's education was related to higher engagement. In contrast, other types of work status, such as working in a field not related to one's education, were not related to work engagement. Individuals who have successfully mastered the education-to-work transition can put into practice what they had learnt during university years. In this sense, one explanation for this finding is that well-matched employees enjoyed greater feelings of competence and autonomy in comparison to those in moratorium activities or still studying (Deci and Ryan, 1985 and Deci and Ryan, 2000). Another explanation is that attaining one's career goals, such as getting a job in one's field, contributes to individuals' well-being (see, e.g., Dietrich, Jokisaari, et al., 2012) which, in turn, potentially increases work engagement. In contrast to what we expected (Hypothesis 4), neither subjective income satisfaction nor economic stress (loans, financial aids from state) had a significant association with engagement. This finding suggests that for young people engagement as a work related psychological state is not so much dependent on economic factors, perhaps because they were in an development stage to explore different career opportunities before settling down for a long-term employment (Arnett, 2004), of which financial concern would not be their priority. Instead, intrinsic career values and the match between individuals' values and those emphasized in their organizations played a more significant role to their work engagement. In accordance with previous research and our hypothesis 5, we found that female participants endorsed intrinsic career values more than men did; and that men endorsed rewards career values more than women did (Bridges, 1989 and Marini et al., 1996). Our results, however, did not fully support our assumptions. We expected that security career values (extrinsic) would be higher for men but our results showed that security career values were higher for women. A possible explanation is that advancing in a career and having a good salary in contemporary society imply adopting new changes and sometimes taking risks which may feel incompatible with having a stable and secure job. In this sense, men who attributed high importance to rewards career values did not endorsed security career values. 4.1. Theoretical implications and further studies Our results agree with recent research on how positive personal and environmental factors increase work engagement, which in turn predicts work performance (Bakker et al., 2012, Demerouti and Bakker, 2006 and Salanova et al., 2005) and personal initiative at work (Hakanen et al., 2008). A contribution of this study is that we identified intrinsic career values as a personal resource that contributed to a higher engagement in the transition to work. As such, it would be important to examine the role of intrinsic career values for coping with job demands at the work place as previous research has suggested that job resources have a particular impact when demands are high ( Bakker, Hakanen, Demerouti, & Xanthopoulou, 2007). Moreover, future research could examine whether it is through the attainment of work goals (including measures of goal progress) or satisfaction of basic needs, that intrinsic career values promote engagement. Career values as well as occupational aspirations develop and change to adjust to the opportunities present in the environment. Future studies could analyze how the adjustments in aspirations, including career values, relate to work engagement. In this study we used a subjective measure of person–organization value congruence (“to what extent do organization values and goals match your own?”). Thus, we do not know which specific values are prevalent in the worker's organization. Further organizational studies could examine how personal and specific organizational values interact to predict work engagement. Furthermore, Johnson (2001b) suggested that career values change in response to attainment or frustration of valued rewards during the first working experiences. For example, young workers who obtained more intrinsic work rewards (their jobs allow them to put their skills into practice, learn new things, etc.) placed greater importance on the intrinsic characteristics of their jobs later on (Johnson, 2001b). In this sense, it would be particularly interesting to test the influence of different job characteristics and the rewards reinforced in the work place on career value change. Finally, future studies could examine whether extrinsic career values, if sustained for a longer period of time, would lead to work burnout, as previous research suggests (Van Beek et al., 2011). Moreover, the relationship between other work values than those studied here and engagement warrants attention in future studies. For example, values related to self-direction, freedom and creativity seem to be increasingly relevant to motivate the new millennial generation (Leiter et al., 2009). 4.2. Limitations A number of limitations need to be considered when interpreting the results of the present study. First, our sample consisted of Finnish young adults, thus characteristics of the educational system may have influenced our results. Features of Finnish universities, such as a higher age at entry to university, tuition-free studies, and the difficulty in gaining admission to university, may mean that some of the results would have been different in countries with a different education system. Second, our study relied on self-report measures, which raises the question of common method bias. Given that we are studying psychological motivational processes, however, it would have been difficult to obtain this information with another method. Finally, the design of our longitudinal study is correlational, therefore caution with respect to causal interpretations is needed. 4.3. Practical implications and conclusions The results from this study have practical implications for career development during educational years. First, we found that the participants who got a job which was in line with their qualifications reported higher engagement at work. During university years, a career development program to help graduate students identify the importance and possibilities of finding the type of jobs that they are being trained for seems crucial. Educational institutions need to offer resources, networking activities and guidance in the search for a well fit job. Furthermore, fostering intrinsic motivation during college years seems a helpful strategy to increase work engagement later on (Salmela-Aro, Mutanen, & Vuori, 2012). In addition, our study revealed a positive association between value congruence and work engagement during early stages of the career. Undergraduate education offering help to young people to seek for jobs in organizations holding compatible values seems helpful in promoting higher levels of work engagement.