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From Motivation to Activation: Why Engaged Workers are Better Performers

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between work engagement and multiple dimensions of employee performance, as mediated by open-mindedness.

Design/Methodology/Approach

Survey data were obtained from 186 employees of a food processing plant and the findings were cross-validated in an independent convenience sample (N = 308).

Findings

SEM analyses revealed that the more engaged the employees were, the more they displayed extra-role and in-role performance. As expected, these associations were partially mediated by open-mindedness. Results were ambiguous for counterproductive performance showing a direct negative relation between engagement and counter productivity, and an indirect, positive relation through open-mindedness.

Implications

With its systematic look at the relation between engagement and multiple indicators of performance, the current study shows why it is important for both employers and employees to invest in engaged employees: there is a relationship with better performance which can partly be explained by the fact that engagement is associated with open-mindedness. This may help to inform organizations under what circumstances engagement leads to positive or negative forms of performance. Vice versa, a decrease in the multiple indicators of performance may signal organizations to look after their employees' mental health, i.e., engagement.

Originality/Value

This is one of the first studies to include multiple dimensions of employee performance in relation to work engagement. Moreover, it is one of the first studies that focus on the underlying psychological process that might explain for this relationship.

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Correspondence to Gaby Reijseger.

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Reijseger, G., Peeters, M.C.W., Taris, T.W. et al. From Motivation to Activation: Why Engaged Workers are Better Performers. J Bus Psychol 32, 117–130 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-016-9435-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-016-9435-z

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