Are intensified job demands positive challenges for employees? Associations with work engagement in different occupational samples

Saija Mauno, Taru Feldt, Mari Herttalampi, Jaana Minkkinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: Intensified job demands (IJDs; work intensification, intensified job- and career-related planning and decision-making demands, and intensified learning demands) illustrate the intensification of working life. This study examined relationships between IJDs and work engagement. Design/methodology/approach: Nine diverse samples (n = 7,786) were analyzed separately via regression analysis by estimating linear and curvilinear relationships between IJDs and engagement. Findings: The results showed that certain subdimensions of IJDs, i.e. intensified learning demands, related positively to engagement across several subsamples. Moreover, learning demands showed a curvilinear relationship with engagement in several subsamples; engagement was highest in a moderate level of learning demands whereas low and high levels of learning demands were associated with lower engagement. We also found that other subdimensions of IJDs did not show consistent positive relationships with engagement, and some of them were negatively associated with engagement. Research limitations/implications: Cross-sectional design. Practical implications: Organizations should consider what would be the optimal level of learning demands as excessive learning demands can be detrimental to employees’ engagement. Originality/value: This is a first study focusing on different manifestations of the intensification of working life, operationalized via IJDs, and their curvilinear relationships with engagement by applying a multi-sample design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-58
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MANPOWER
Volume45
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Curvilinear relationships
  • Job demands
  • Multi-sample study
  • Work engagement

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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