Team–Member Exchange and Work Engagement: Does Personality Make a Difference?
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Adopting a person–situation interactionist framework, this study examined the joint effects of employee personality (i.e., extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness) and social exchange relationships with peers (i.e., team–member exchange; TMX) in predicting work engagement.
This study is based on survey responses from 235 Chinese employees collected at two time points with 3 months in between. We conducted moderated regression analyses to test the hypotheses that employees higher in extraversion or conscientiousness or lower in neuroticism would demonstrate a stronger TMX–work engagement relation.
Results from this study showed that the three focal personality traits moderated the TMX–engagement relation simultaneously. Specifically, the positive TMX–engagement relation was stronger for employees with higher extraversion or lower neuroticism than that for their counterparts. Interestingly, the TMX–engagement relation was positive for employees lower in conscientiousness but negative for those higher in conscientiousness.
These findings support the notion that lateral social exchange relationships in the workplace (i.e., TMX) are an important antecedent of work engagement and, more importantly, their beneficial effects on work engagement are contingent on certain types and/or levels of personality traits.
This study not only advances our understanding of presumed antecedents of work engagement but also opens a new door for future research on work engagement by highlighting the importance of a person–situation interactionist framework.
KeywordsTeam–member exchange Work engagement Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness
The authors thank Ms. Jessica M. Santoro for proofreading our manuscript.
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