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86 просмотров263 страницыEmployee motivation is related to organizational improvements and employee well-being; therefore, understanding motivation levels within the workforce is important to achievement of organizational goals. Employee well-being metrics with sensitivity beyond job satisfaction may provide managers with better feedback on employee work motivation. Direct measurement of work motivation is difficult because it is a higher order latent variable that must be inferred from measurements of other employee work-related attitudes and behaviors. A relatively new construct called work engagement has been developed to measure employee well-being at work. Work engagement is defined by three highly correlated factors: vigor, dedication and absorption. This dissertation evaluated using work engagement as a measure of work motivation. Goal theory and job characteristics theory provided the framework for two research models. Antecedent variables from the two motivation theories were treated as predictors of an employee’s level of work engagement, including goal orientations, job goal attributes, occupational self-efficacy, and job characteristics. The three factors of work engagement were treated as dependent variables.
The models were tested using a cross-sectional field study approach. Research model variables were operationalized in a web survey by combining measurement scales of previously validated survey instruments from the literature. The web survey was distributed to graduate engineering students with jobs and to all employees of an engineering technical services company.
Results were analyzed to evaluate the strength and significance of correlations and regression paths between variables. Structural equation modeling was employed to evaluate goodness-of-fit between the theoretical research models and the sample data set. The goal theory research model produced favorable results. The implication for management is that work engagement can be used to measure work motivation in an engineering technical services organization. The results show that goal theory, when deployed in an organization that promotes healthy workplace practices, will have a positive effect on employee psychological well-being from increased work motivation. This effect can be reliably and validly measured by managers using the 9-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument.

EVALUATION OF WORK ENGAGEMENT AS A MEASURE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING FROM WORK MOTIVATION

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Employee motivation is related to organizational improvements and employee well-being; therefore, understanding motivation levels within the workforce is important to achievement of organizational goals. Employee well-being metrics with sensitivity beyond job satisfaction may provide managers with better feedback on employee work motivation. Direct measurement of work motivation is difficult because it is a higher order latent variable that must be inferred from measurements of other employee work-related attitudes and behaviors. A relatively new construct called work engagement has been developed to measure employee well-being at work. Work engagement is defined by three highly correlated factors: vigor, dedication and absorption. This dissertation evaluated using work engagement as a measure of work motivation. Goal theory and job characteristics theory provided the framework for two research models. Antecedent variables from the two motivation theories were treated as predictors of an employee’s level of work engagement, including goal orientations, job goal attributes, occupational self-efficacy, and job characteristics. The three factors of work engagement were treated as dependent variables.
The models were tested using a cross-sectional field study approach. Research model variables were operationalized in a web survey by combining measurement scales of previously validated survey instruments from the literature. The web survey was distributed to graduate engineering students with jobs and to all employees of an engineering technical services company.
Results were analyzed to evaluate the strength and significance of correlations and regression paths between variables. Structural equation modeling was employed to evaluate goodness-of-fit between the theoretical research models and the sample data set. The goal theory research model produced favorable results. The implication for management is that work engagement can be used to measure work motivation in an engineering technical services organization. The results show that goal theory, when deployed in an organization that promotes healthy workplace practices, will have a positive effect on employee psychological well-being from increased work motivation. This effect can be reliably and validly measured by managers using the 9-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument.

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86 просмотров263 страницыEVALUATION OF WORK ENGAGEMENT AS A MEASURE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING FROM WORK MOTIVATION

Employee motivation is related to organizational improvements and employee well-being; therefore, understanding motivation levels within the workforce is important to achievement of organizational goals. Employee well-being metrics with sensitivity beyond job satisfaction may provide managers with better feedback on employee work motivation. Direct measurement of work motivation is difficult because it is a higher order latent variable that must be inferred from measurements of other employee work-related attitudes and behaviors. A relatively new construct called work engagement has been developed to measure employee well-being at work. Work engagement is defined by three highly correlated factors: vigor, dedication and absorption. This dissertation evaluated using work engagement as a measure of work motivation. Goal theory and job characteristics theory provided the framework for two research models. Antecedent variables from the two motivation theories were treated as predictors of an employee’s level of work engagement, including goal orientations, job goal attributes, occupational self-efficacy, and job characteristics. The three factors of work engagement were treated as dependent variables.
The models were tested using a cross-sectional field study approach. Research model variables were operationalized in a web survey by combining measurement scales of previously validated survey instruments from the literature. The web survey was distributed to graduate engineering students with jobs and to all employees of an engineering technical services company.
Results were analyzed to evaluate the strength and significance of correlations and regression paths between variables. Structural equation modeling was employed to evaluate goodness-of-fit between the theoretical research models and the sample data set. The goal theory research model produced favorable results. The implication for management is that work engagement can be used to measure work motivation in an engineering technical services organization. The results show that goal theory, when deployed in an organization that promotes healthy workplace practices, will have a positive effect on employee psychological well-being from increased work motivation. This effect can be reliably and validly measured by managers using the 9-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument.

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by

MARK ANTONISON

A DISSERTATION

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

in

The Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering

and Engineering Management

to

The School of Graduate Studies

of

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA

2010

degree from The University of Alabama in Huntsville, I agree that the Library of this

University shall make it freely available for inspection. I further agree that permission

for extensive copying for scholarly purposes may be granted by my advisor or, in his/her

absence, by the Chair of the Department or the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to me and to The University of

Alabama in Huntsville in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in this

dissertation.

_________________________

(student signature)

___________

(date)

Submitted by Mark Antonison in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial & Systems Engineering and accepted on behalf of the

Faculty of the School of Graduate Studies by the dissertation committee.

We, the undersigned members of the Graduate Faculty of The University of Alabama in

Huntsville, certify that we have advised and/or supervised the candidate on the work

described in this dissertation. We further certify that we have reviewed the dissertation

manuscript and approve it in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial & Systems Engineering.

_____________________________________Committee Chair

(Date)

_____________________________________

_____________________________________

_____________________________________

_____________________________________

ABSTRACT

The School of Graduate Studies

The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Engineering and Engineering Management

Name of Candidate Mark Antonison

Title Evaluation of Work Engagement as a Measure of Psychological Well-Being

from Work Motivation

Employee motivation is related to organizational improvements and employee

well-being; therefore, understanding motivation levels within the workforce is important

to achievement of organizational goals. Employee well-being metrics with sensitivity

beyond job satisfaction may provide managers with better feedback on employee work

motivation. Direct measurement of work motivation is difficult because it is a higher

order latent variable that must be inferred from measurements of other employee workrelated attitudes and behaviors. A relatively new construct called work engagement has

been developed to measure employee well-being at work. Work engagement is defined

by three highly correlated factors: vigor, dedication and absorption. This dissertation

evaluated using work engagement as a measure of work motivation. Goal theory and job

characteristics theory provided the framework for two research models. Antecedent

variables from the two motivation theories were treated as predictors of an employees

level of work engagement, including goal orientations, job goal attributes, occupational

self-efficacy, and job characteristics. The three factors of work engagement were treated

as dependent variables.

The models were tested using a cross-sectional field study approach. Research

model variables were operationalized in a web survey by combining measurement scales

of previously validated survey instruments from the literature. The web survey was

distributed to graduate engineering students with jobs and to all employees of an

engineering technical services company.

Results were analyzed to evaluate the strength and significance of correlations

and regression paths between variables. Structural equation modeling was employed to

evaluate goodness-of-fit between the theoretical research models and the sample data set.

The goal theory research model produced favorable results. The implication for

management is that work engagement can be used to measure work motivation in an

engineering technical services organization. The results show that goal theory, when

deployed in an organization that promotes healthy workplace practices, will have a

positive effect on employee psychological well-being from increased work motivation.

This effect can be reliably and validly measured by managers using the 9-item version of

the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument.

Abstract Approval:

Department Chair ____________________________________

Graduate Dean

____________________________________

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The work described in this dissertation would not have been possible without the

assistance of a number of people who deserve special mention. First, I would like to

thank Dr. Sampson Gholston and Dr. Anthony Morris for their guidance and support

throughout all stages of the work. Dr. Phillip Farrington provided me with technical

insights that challenged me in a positive manner to reach for my personal goals in this

academic program. Dr. Dawn Utley provided the original encouragement for me to start

my graduate program of study here at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Dr. Michael P.J. Benfield provided invaluable course instruction about the research

methods employed in this research study. Other faculty members of my department have

always been very helpful with comments and suggestions.

I would like to thank my wife, Anastasia, and my children, Alexander, Angelina

and Shinichi, who encouraged me to begin work on this degree and supported me

throughout my graduate program of study. This dissertation was truly a family affair.

Anastasia and Alexander, being fellow students enrolled with me in the same Industrial &

Systems Engineering Department here at UAH, were a constant source of inspiration.

Angelina and Shinichi, also fellow students enrolled in the UAH School of Liberal Arts

and School of Science, provided support and inspiration by their strong work ethic and

unwavering commitment to UAH.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

List of Figures..............................................................................................................xii

List of Tables................................................................................................................xvii

Chapter

I. INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES.................................................................1

......................................................................................................................................A.

Background..................................................................................................................1

......................................................................................................................................B.

Employee Well-being...................................................................................................3

......................................................................................................................................C.

Description of the Problem..........................................................................................4

......................................................................................................................................D.

Work Motivation..........................................................................................................4

......................................................................................................................................E.

Research Objective.......................................................................................................6

II. LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................9

......................................................................................................................................A.

Introduction..................................................................................................................9

......................................................................................................................................B.

Psychological Well-being.............................................................................................10

......................................................................................................................................C.

Work Motivation..........................................................................................................11

...................................................................................................................1.

Goal Attributes..............................................................................................................17

...................................................................................................................2.

Self-Efficacy.................................................................................................................20

...................................................................................................................3.

Feedback and other Goal Moderators..........................................................................22

...................................................................................................................4.

Goal Orientation as a Measure of Values and Personality...........................................23

...................................................................................................................5.

Relevance of Goal Theory............................................................................................25

...................................................................................................................1.

Core Job Characteristics...............................................................................................27

...................................................................................................................2.

Internal Work Motivation.............................................................................................29

...................................................................................................................3.

The Job Diagnostic Survey..........................................................................................30

F. Comparison of the Two Motivation Theories............................................32

G. Theory of Engagement...............................................................................33

H. Other Explanations of Engagement............................................................36

...................................................................................................................1.

First Empirical Study of Burnout and Work Engagement............................................38

2. An Empirical Study of Daily Fluctuation of Work Engagement..........39

3. Work Engagement Study with Respect to Service Climate..................40

4.

5.

6.

7.

Work Engagement and the Job Demands-Resources Model................42

Work Engagement Discriminant Analysis Study.................................44

Work Engagement in Japan..................................................................44

...................................................................................................................8.

Work Engagement Studies in the United States...........................................................45

...................................................................................................................9.

Assessment of Construct Validity from Published UWES Studies..............................46

J. Need for Further Research.........................................................................47

III. RESEARCH STATEMENT..................................................................................49

A. Introduction................................................................................................49

B. Research Issues..........................................................................................51

C. Description of Research Study...................................................................54

D. Research Hypotheses..................................................................................55

E. Significance of Research............................................................................55

IV. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY..........................................................................57

A. Research Approach.....................................................................................57

B. Two Work Motivation Research Models....................................................59

C. Description of Test Instruments.................................................................62

1. Utrecht Work Engagement Survey Instrument.....................................63

9

3. Achievement Goal Orientation Survey Instrument..............................66

4. Job Goal Specificity and Job Goal Difficulty Measurement Scales...........68

5. Occupational Self-Efficacy Measurement Scale..................................69

D. Demographics Measurements....................................................................70

E. The Pilot Study...........................................................................................71

F. The Full Study............................................................................................73

G. Full Study Approach to Data Collection....................................................73

H. Assessment of Factor Purity through Validity Studies...........................................74

V. RESEARCH RESULTS..........................................................................................77

A. Data Collection Results..............................................................................77

B. Demographics Analysis..............................................................................78

C. Analysis of Survey Results Utilizing Descriptive Statistics......................83

D. Measurement Scale Reliability Analysis....................................................86

E. Correlation Coefficient Analysis of Latent Variables.................................88

......................................................................................................................................F.

Confirmatory Factor Analysis......................................................................................93

1. Factor Analysis Results for the Pilot Study..........................................95

2. Factor analysis Results for the Full Study............................................100

......................................................................................................................................G.

Sample Size Analysis...................................................................................................110

......................................................................................................................................H.

Regression Analysis MPS versus Work Engagement..................................................112

10

......................................................................................................................................I.

Structural Equation Modeling......................................................................................114

1. Structural Equation Modeling Methodology.........................................114

2. Goodness-of-Fit Measures for Model Evaluation.................................116

3. SEM Analysis of Work Engagement.....................................................119

4. SEM Analysis of Goal Theory Research Model...................................126

5. SEM Analysis of Job Characteristics Research Model.........................129

VI. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................................134

......................................................................................................................................A.

Principal Conclusion....................................................................................................134

1. Work Engagement Factor Structure......................................................135

2. Evaluation of Goal Theory Structural Equation Model Results............136

3. Evaluation of Job Characteristics Structural Model Results.................138

4. Correlation versus Causation................................................................139

B. Recommendations......................................................................................140

1. Goal Setting Practices...........................................................................141

2. Areas for Further Study.........................................................................142

APPENDIX A: INSTITUITIONAL REVIEW BOARD FORMS...............................143

APPENDIX B: INDIVIDUAL SURVEY INSTRUMENTS.........................................146

APPENDIX C: COMBINED WEB SURVEY INSTRUMENT...................................153

APPENDIX D: DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS MEASUREMENT VARIABLES......171

APPENDIX E: SAMPLE SIZE ANALYSIS...............................................................178

APPENDIX F: REGRESSION ANALYSIS MPS vs. WORK ENGAGEMENT.......183

11

REFERENCES.............................................................................................................249

12

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure

Page

2.1 Flow of Topics Covered in Literature Review.....................................................9

2.2 Graphical Depiction of Work Motivation (Latham and Pinder 2005).................12

2.3 Goal Theory Model of Work Motivation (Locke and Latham 2002)..................14

2.4 Four Dimensions of Achievement Goal Orientation (Baranik et al. 2007)..............24

2.5 Job Characteristics Theory (Hackman and Oldham 1975)..................................27

2.6 First Published Theory of Engagement (Kahn 1990)..........................................33

2.7 Engagement is a Continuum Variable (Kahn 1990, 1992)..................................34

2.8 Theory of Work Engagement (Schaufeli et al. 2002)..........................................37

2.9 Theoretical Dimensions of Work Engagement (Schaufeli et al. 2002)................37

2.10 Model of Daily Fluctuation of Work Engagement (Sonnentag 2002)...............40

2.11 Work Engagement as an Independent Variable (Salanova et al. 2005)..............41

2.12 Antecedents and Consequences of Work Engagement......................................42

(Koyuncu et al. 2006)

2.13 Job Demands-Resources Model of Work Engagement......................................43

(Schaufeli and Bakker 2004)

2.14 Second Job Demands-Resources Model of Work Engagement.........................43

(Bakker et al. 2006)

3.1 Attributes of Work Motivation versus Dimensions of Work Engagement...........51

3.2 Attributes of Job Characteristics Theory versus Work Engagement Theory............52

4.1 Proposed Goal Theory Research Model of Work Engagement...........................60

4.2 Proposed Job Characteristics Research Model of Work Engagement.................61

5.1 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Web Survey Instrument Pilot Study....................96

5.2 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Work Engagement Survey Instruments Pilot Study.........97

5.3 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Job Diagnostic Survey Instrument Pilot Study................98

13

5.4 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Orientation Survey Instrument Pilot Study.............99

5.5 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Occupational Self-efficacy Scale Pilot Study..................100

5.6 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Web Survey Instrument Full Study.....................101

5.7 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Work Engagement Survey Instrument Full Study...........103

5.8 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Job Diagnostic Survey Instrument Full Study.................104

5.9 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Orientation Survey Instrument Full Study..............105

5.10 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Theory Antecedent Variables Full Study...............106

5.11 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Theory Research Model Full Study.....................107

5.12 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Job Characteristics Research Model.................108

Full Study

5.13 Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating Potential Score Full Study................113

5.14 Structural Equation Modeling Process...............................................................115

5.15 Second Order Three-Factor 17-item UWES Model of Work Engagement............119

5.16 Second Order Three-Factor 9-item UWES Model of Work Engagement...............121

5.17 Final Structural Equation Goal Theory Research Model...................................127

5.18 First Six Factor Job Characteristics Structural Equation Model........................129

5.19 Final Five Factor Second Order Job Characteristics Three Factor..........................132

Second Order Work Engagement Model

B.1 UWES Work Engagement Survey Instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006)................146

B.2 Job Goal Attributes Measurement Scales (Wright, Bradley E. 2004).................147

B.3 Occupational Self-efficacy Measurement Scale..................................................148

B.4 Achievement Goal Orientation Measurement Scale...........................................149

B.5 The Revised Job Diagnostic Survey....................................................................151

B.6 Two Related JDS Job Characteristics Measurement Scales................................152

14

D.1 Box Plot Work Engagement Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results..........171

D.2 Box Plot Work Engagement Measurement Variables Full Study Results...........171

D.3 Box Plot Job Characteristics Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results.........172

D.4 Box Plot Job Characteristics Measurement Variables Full Study Results..........172

D.5 Box Plot Self-efficacy Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results.....................173

D.6 Box Plot Self-efficacy Measurement Variables Full Study Results.......................173

D.7 Box Plot goal orientation Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results..............174

D.8 Box Plot Goal Orientation Measurement Variables Full Study Results.............174

D.9 Box Plot Goal Attributes Measurement Variables Full Study Results................175

E.1 Communalities for Combined Web Survey Instrument......................................180

E.2 Communalities for Goal Theory Research Model Variables...............................180

F.1 Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating Potential Score Pilot Study.................183

F.2 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score...................................184

vs. Motivating Potential Score Pilot Study

F.3 Work Engagement Score vs. Sum Job Characteristics Score..............................184

Pilot Study

F.4 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score vs. Sum.....................185

Job Characteristics Score Pilot Study

F.5 Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating Potential Score....................................186

Full Study

F.6 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score...................................187

vs. Motivating Potential Score Full Study

F.7 Work Engagement Score vs. Sum Job Characteristics Score....................................187

Full Study

F.8 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score vs. Sum.....................188

Job Characteristics Score Full Study

F.9 Four-in-one Residuals Plot for MPS Regression Analysis..................................189

15

Full Study

F.10 Four-in-one Residuals Plot for Sum Job Characteristics Score.........................189

Regression Analysis Full Study

F.11 Probability Plot for Regression Analysis Variables Full Study..........................190

G.1 Typical Structural Equation Measurement Models for Latent Variables............195

G.2 Single-Factor UWES 17-item Model of Work Engagement...............................201

G.3 First Order Three-Factor UWES 17-item Model of Work Engagement.................202

G.4 Second Order Three-Factor UWES 17-item Model of Work Engagement.............203

G.5 One-Factor UWES 9-item Model of Work Engagement....................................206

G.6 First Order Three-Factor UWES 9-item Model of Work Engagement...............207

G.7 Second Order Three-Factor 9-item UWES Model of Work Engagement..........208

G.8 One Factor Revised Job Diagnostic Survey Job Characteristics Model.............211

G.9 First Order Five-Factor Revised JDS Job Characteristics Model.......................212

G.10 Second Order Five Factor Revised JDS Job Characteristics Model.................213

G.11 First Order Seven Factor Job Characteristics Model........................................214

G.12 First Order Four-Factor Goal Orientation Model.............................................217

G.13 Second Order Four Factor Goal Orientation Model (invalid solution).............218

G.14 Three Factor First Order Model of Goal Theory Antecedents to Work............223

Motivation

G.15 Goal Theory First Order Three Factor Work Engagement Model....................227

G.16 Goal Theory Second Order Three Factor Work Engagement Model................228

G.17 Goal Theory One Factor Work Engagement Model.........................................229

G.18 First Six Factor Job Characteristics Structural Equation Model.......................234

G.19 Five Factor First Order Job Characteristics One Factor 9-item Work..............237

Engagement Model

16

G.20 Five Factor First Order Job Characteristics Three Factor First Order..............238

9-item Work Engagement Model

G.21 Five Factor First Order Job Characteristics Three Factor Second Order..........239

9-item Work Engagement Model

G.22 Five Factor Second Order Job Characteristics One Factor 9-item Work..........240

Engagement Model

G.23 Five Factor Second Order Job Characteristics Three Factor First Order..............241

9-item Work Engagement Model

G.24 Five Factor Second Order Job Characteristics Three Factor Second Order............242

9-item Work Engagement Model

G.25 Work Engagement Multi-Group Analysis Settings...........................................244

G.26 Short Version Three Factor Second Order Work Engagement..........................245

Structural Equation Model Multi-Group Analysis

17

LIST OF TABLES

Table

Page

4.1 Summary of Individual Test Instruments Selected from the Literature.................62

5.1 Combined Web Survey Instrument Data Collection Results.................................77

5.2 Gender, Full Study and Pilot Study........................................................................79

5.3 Ethnicity, Full Study and Pilot Study.....................................................................79

5.4 Level of Supervisory Duties, Full Study and Pilot Study......................................79

5.5 Level of Education, Full Study and Pilot Study.....................................................80

5.6 Current Job by Category, Full Study and Pilot Study............................................80

5.7 Number of Years Employed, Full Study and Pilot Study.......................................81

5.8 Years Employed at Current Job, Full Study and Pilot Study.....................................81

5.9 Statistics of Engineering Services Company Full Study Population.....................82

Compared to Full Study Sample Results

5.10 Comparison of Aggregate Latent Variable Measurement Results Pilot and Full Study.......85

5.11 Measurement Scale Reliability Estimates............................................................87

5.12 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Goal Theory Pilot Study...................89

5.13 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Job Characteristics Pilot Study............89

5.14 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Goal Theory Full Study.....................90

5.15 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Job Characteristics Full Study.............91

5.16 Correlations Between Goal Theory and Job Characteristics Full Study......................91

5.17 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement vs. Job Characteristics.............113

5.18 SEM Analysis Results for Full Version 17-item UWES Work Engagement............120

Survey Instrument Compared to Published SEM Results

18

5.19 SEM Analysis Results for Short Version 9-item UWES Work Engagement............122

Survey Instrument Compared to Published SEM Results

5.20 Tests for Invariance Work Engagement Multi-Group Analysis...........................123

5.21 Scale Items Used in the Two Structural Equation Research Models...................125

5.22 SEM Analysis Results for Final Goal Theory Research Model...........................126

5.23 Standardized Regression Path Coefficients for Goal Theory Research Model................128

5.24 SEM Analysis Results for Six Job Characteristics Research Models...........................133

C.1 Test Instrument Scale Items vs. Position in Web Survey Instrument.........................154

D.1 Descriptive Statistics 71 Scale Items Measured in Web Survey Instrument..............176

E.1 Summary of Minimum Sample Size Recommendations from Literature.............181

E.2 Summary of Statistics for Minimum Sample Size for Research Study.................182

G.1 Structural Equation Modeling Process Steps........................................................191

G.2 Goodness-of-Fit Results for Structural Equation Measurement Models..............196

G.3 Test for Equal Variances Between Work Engagement Factors..............................199

G.4 SEM Analysis Comparative Results for the Full 17-item UWES Work...............204

Engagement Survey Instrument

G.5 SEM Analysis Results for the Short Version 9-item UWES Work.......................209

Engagement Survey Instrument

G.6 SEM Analysis Comparative Results for the Revised Job Diagnostic Survey..............215

G.7 SEM Analysis Results for the Achievement Goal Orientation Survey.................219

G.8 SEM Analysis Results for the Goal Theory Antecedent Variables Model.................224

G.9 SEM Analysis Results for Goal Theory Models of Work Engagement................231

G.10 Regression Path Coefficients for Goal Theory Second Order.............................232

Three Factor Work Engagement Model

G.11 SEM Analysis Results for Job Characteristics Research Models........................243

G.12 Results Work Engagement Multi-Group Nested Models Analysis.....................246

19

20

CHAPTER I

A.

Background

In today's competitive business environment, a technical organization depends

more than ever on the efficient functioning of its most valuable resource, its employees.

Engineering management professionals can benefit from an increased understanding of

the underlying psychological factors that influence the attitudes and behavior of their

technical work force. In recognition of this fact, a holistic approach to the understanding

of employee attitudes is emerging in occupational health psychology (OHP). This

holistic approach extends beyond simple measurement of job satisfaction and job

performance, moving toward an integrated strategy of organizational behavior known as

healthy workplace practices. The concept of healthy workplace practices has evolved

initially from a narrow focus on the financial bottom-line to more recently include health

and fitness programs for employees. Corporate sponsored health initiatives were

previously concerned with avoidance of unhealthy practices. Current best practices are

now focused on the optimization of employee psychological health (American

Psychological Association 2008).

The healthy workplace can be defined as any organization that maximizes the

integration of employee goals for his or her well-being along with company objectives

for profitability and productivity (Grawitch et al. 2006). Empirical links have been

demonstrated between healthy workplace practices, employee well-being, and positive

organizational outcomes. A framework for relating these three concepts and several key

attributes is depicted in Figure 1.1 (Grawitch et al. 2006). This model includes a

representative summary of the components of the overall framework of a healthy

workplace.

Employee Well-being

Physical/Mental Health

Stress (reduction)

Motivation

Commitment

Healthy Workplace

Practices

Job Satisfaction

Work-Life Balance

Morale / Climate

Recognition

Organizational Improvements

Employee Involvement

Competitive Advantage

Performance/ Productivity

Development

Absenteeism / Turnover

Accident / Injury Rates

Product / Service Quality

Customer Service / Satisfaction

Figure 1.1 The Framework for a Healthy Workplace (Grawitch et al. 2006)

broaden the range of desired business outcomes to include multiple measures of

employee well-being considered important to performance measurement. The measures

listed in the model can provide management guidance for development of a more

comprehensive set of indicators for employee and organizational health.

It should be noted that motivation and job satisfaction are treated as separate and

distinct measures of employee well-being in the model. While many companies regularly

survey their employees to determine employee job satisfaction levels, there is much less

evidence of agreement in both business and academic literature how to measure

employee motivation levels. Identification of a reliable performance metric for a

workers motivation level that is separate from job satisfaction would provide managers

with two complementary options for employee well-being indicators.

B.

Employee Well-being

Measures of employee well-being can be considered indicators of future

employee performance. Grant et al. (2007) defines employee well-being in terms of the

overall quality of an employees experience and functioning at work. They state that wellbeing is defined by its three core dimensions: psychological, physical, and social. The

psychological dimension is concerned with an individuals subjective experience and

functioning. The physical dimension consists of bodily health and functioning. The

social dimension of well-being includes the relational experiences between individuals

(Grant et al. 2007).

C.

With respect to measures of employee well-being, there is a need to broaden the

working to their full potential is the ultimate goal of management efforts to maintain and

increase employee motivation in their work. Employee motivation factors are related to

other factors that contribute to the accomplishment of organizational improvement goals.

A simple metric with sensitivities beyond that of job satisfaction that provides managers

with more direct feedback on employee motivation is needed. A psychological test that

can reliably measure the strength of the relationship between workplace practices and

employee work motivation would be very useful to managers concerned with the

occupational health of their workforce.

D.

Work Motivation

Work motivation is an essential aspect of organizational behavior. It is the driving

force within employees which impels them to action, putting forth effort on behalf of

their organization. The resulting level of effort is measured in terms of job performance.

Managers need to know what motivates their employees as they try to maximize the job

performance of their workforce to achieve the aims of the organization. Work motivation

is considered a latent psychological variable. This means it cannot be measured directly

but must be inferred from the measurement of other more directly observable attitudinal

or behavioral variables.

In order to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of employees,

organizations use surveys to obtain feedback from the workforce. These surveys are

typically self-report measures of the worker's own perceptions and attitudes about their

work environment. Historically, asking employees to complete a job satisfaction survey

is a standard approach used by management to collect data. Through evaluation of job

satisfaction survey results, managers try to make inferences about employee motivation.

When organizations follow this approach to measure employee behavior, its management

assumes that they can expect higher performance from a workforce that has a higher level

of job satisfaction. Restated, the expectation of these managers is that increased job

satisfaction results in improved job performance.

Unfortunately, many managers today still do not know that empirical studies

conducted as far back as the 1960's and 1970's refuted that traditional viewpoint with

convincing evidence that the reverse causal path was actually more likely, that increasing

job performance influences increased job satisfaction (Lawler and Porter 1967). In the

decades that followed, additional studies were subsequently published with conflicting

results concerning the size of any actual effect of this theorized causal path on both

performance and satisfaction. In an effort to put the academic debate and its various

conflicting research claims into proper perspective, an authoritative meta-analysis was

finally conducted by Iffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) which had a damping effect on

further research of the subject. Their conclusions pointed to a very weak correlation of

0.17 between job satisfaction and job performance. Since that study was published, no

better psychological construct has been promoted in the academic literature, and today

the measurement of work motivation using a job satisfaction survey continues to be

accepted practice for both industry and academia (Mayer et al. 2007).

A more recent analysis of the job satisfaction and job performance relationship

incorporated improved meta-analysis techniques (Judge et al. 2001). The authors

concluded that the expected correlation between the two measures may be closer to 0.30,

a value which organizational behavior researchers usually consider the lower limit for

noteworthy correlation between two behavioral variables (Muchinsky 2006). This study

also presented a qualitative analysis including a discussion of seven possible causal path

models relating job satisfaction and job performance. Their conclusion was that an

integrated model which included both path directions and up to seventeen other mediator

and moderator variables provided the best explanation of the relationship between these

two psychological constructs. While this integrated job satisfaction model is interesting

from an academic perspective, managers of organizations would benefit from the

development of a simpler and more practical explanation of how measurement of

employee job satisfaction relates to performance. There are still more fundamental issues

concerning the lack of utility of job satisfaction as an attitudinal measure of motivation.

Porter and Lawler (2000) state that job satisfaction levels do not tell management how

well employees are performing as much as they are an indicator of how well the company

is rewarding employees. Other psychological constructs with greater precision and

validity are needed to explain the level of an individual employees work motivation.

E.

Research Objective

The objective of this research is to determine if work motivation can be

that has recently emerged in occupational health psychology called work engagement.

Work engagement theory stresses the assumption of optimal functioning at work in terms

of personal well-being, which is a distinguishing characteristic of the eudaimonic

viewpoint of psychological well-being. Three highly correlated dimensions are used to

define the attributes of work engagement: absorption, dedication, and vigor. These

three dimensions are defined with terminology similar to descriptions of employee

behaviors displayed by a highly motivated workforce. The objective of this research is to

determine if there is a sufficiently strong correlation between work engagement and work

motivation to warrant the use of work engagement by managers as a criterion variable for

the measurement of work motivation within their organization.

In order to evaluate the utility of work engagement as a criterion measure of work

motivation, its relationship to factors defined in one or more relevant work motivation

theories should be examined. Two theories of work motivation, both supported by an

extensive body of empirical data presented in the academic literature, have been

identified as suitable candidates for this task: the goal theory of work motivation (Locke

and Latham 2002), and the job characteristics theory of motivation (Hackman and

Oldham 1975). The first work related motivation theory, goal theory, is considered

relevant to this study because it defines the mediating variables of goal setting to be the

three components of action: direction, effort, and persistence. Mediating variables are

psychological factors defined and used to explain the linkage mechanism theorized to

exist between a cause variable and its related effect variable. Similarities in the definition

of these components of action to the dimensions of work engagement will be evaluated in

this study.

To strengthen any case that may be made either for or against the proposed use of

work engagement as a measure of work motivation, a second work related motivation

theory, the job characteristics theory of motivation (Hackman and Oldham 1975). Job

characteristics theory has its own substantial body of supporting knowledge, and it is

cited as one of the theoretical foundations of the earliest empirical study of engagement

presented in the literature (Kahn 1990). Job characteristics theory is considered relevant

because it provides an alternate perspective which may generate additional information as

a second independent examination of relationships between work engagement and work

motivation. These two work related motivation theories each incorporate several

different and distinct independent variables that can be readily influenced through

managements application of healthy workplace practices. It is an objective of this

research study to evaluate the premise that managers can tailor their organizational

improvement plans to leverage organizational factors measured by goal setting and job

characteristics variables in a manner intended to increase their employees work

motivation level, and thus have a positive effect on employee well-being as measured by

their level of work engagement.

CHAPTER II

LITERATURE REVIEW

A. Introduction

A thorough review of engagement, goal theory, and job characteristics theory was

conducted of the literature of both occupational health psychology and business

management. The results of the review provided a theoretical and empirical roadmap for

this research study. The salient features of two management theories of motivation and

their relationship to the theory of engagement was examined. The flow diagram shown in

Figure 2.1 provides an overview of the sequence of topics presented in the literature

review.

The connections that were found between the various psychological constructs

presented here inspired the objectives of this research study. These psychological

constructs are abstract theoretical variables developed to explain the phenomena of

interest. The constructs are used to explain higher level concepts such as work

motivation, and lower level psychological factors used to describe specific attitudes or

behaviors of individuals. Employee well-being is defined, followed by the concept of

work motivation. Two separate work motivation theories are reviewed to identify their

theoretical relationships to well-being. The various constructs that comprise these

two motivation theories are examined in detail because they have several similarities and

theoretical connections to the theory of engagement and are therefore sources of

potentially useful predictor variables for measurement of work engagement within a

technical workforce. The literature on work engagement is reviewed to better understand

the lessons learned from earlier work engagement research studies. The current status of

research on work engagement as a measure of well-being is also discussed.

B. Psychological Well-being

A benefit of healthy workplace practices is the recognition of the human element

of the organization. The untapped potential of the workforce is related to the overall level

of employee well-being. Management practices designed to produce positive

organizational outcomes are interconnected to employee well-being. Management tactics

and strategies exist that can elicit increased levels of organizational performance and

competitiveness by drawing from the increased potential of human resources and energy

made available through higher levels of employee well-being within the organization.

10

well-being. The Hedonic approach is based on an individuals achievement of happiness

through the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Job satisfaction can be considered

a measure of hedonic well-being (Waterman 1993). A second theoretical approach to

well-being is based on the Aristotelian viewpoint of Eudaimonia that focuses on meaning,

the potentialities of an individual and their self-realization, defining well-being as the

degree to which a person is fully functioning (Ryan and Deci 2001). Ryan and Deci

(2001) conclude that motivation can be considered a measure related to eudaimonic wellbeing. The eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being provides the philosophical

underpinning for the theoretical framework of this research study.

C. Work Motivation

The term motivation is derived from the Latin word for movement movere.

Atkinson (1964, page 11) defined motivation as the contemporary influence on

direction, vigor, and persistence of action. Motivation affects three aspects of an

employees actions at work including: direction, or what a person does (behavioral

choice); intensity, or how hard a person works (amount of effort); and duration, whether a

person changes or maintains the initially chosen behavior (persistence of action) (Latham

and Pinder 2005). The concept of work motivation is concerned with a set of energetic

forces that impel action, originating both within as well as beyond an individual to

initiate and determine work-related behavior (Latham and Pinder 2005). This definition

of work motivation provides a suitable framework for motivation in this research study.

Figure 2.2 provides a graphical depiction of this definition of work motivation.

11

Figure 2.2 Graphical Depiction of Work Motivation (Latham and Pinder 2005)

Work motivation has also been described as a psychological process that is the

result of an individuals interaction with their organizational environment (Latham and

Pinder 2005). Organizational context is important in any holistic understanding of work

motivation. The employee work environment fit has been evaluated from multiple

perspectives in the literature. While providing useful insight into factors that influence an

employees motivation level, a limiting factor to evaluations of employee-environment fit

is that the variables of interest are usually treated as stable rather than dynamic states.

Since employees also affect and help create their work environment, treating specific

aspects of environment as independent variables may oversimplify the dynamic nature of

work motivation (Latham and Pinder 2005). An employees daily state of well-being will

influence the daily direction, level and duration of their work behaviors. Understanding

an employees well-being is therefore useful because it helps managers to better

understand the dynamic nature of an employees level of work motivation.

12

one or more specific theories that appeared to have the closest fit with the objective of

this research which was to evaluate the concept of work engagement as a measure of

work motivation. A recent review of research on motivation by Eccles and Wigfield

(2002) helped to clarify which theories of motivation might be best suited for this

research study. The review categorized four types of motivation theories: theories

focused on expectancy, theories focused on the reasons for engagement, theories

integrating expectancy and value constructs, and theories integrating motivation and

cognition (Eccles and Wigfield 2002). Their review highlighted goal theory as the most

suitable candidate for an explanation of work motivation focused on the reasons for

engagement of employees in a work context. Goal theory was therefore selected as a first

theory of motivation for this research study.

Goal theory is based on the premise that conscious goals affect an individuals

actions. A goal is defined as the object or aim of action, and there is usually a specified

or perceived time limit associated with accomplishment of the goal. Research studies on

work motivation have consistently shown that high performance is not always the result

of sheer effort or persistence. It is also the result of cognitive understanding of the task,

as well as the strategy or plan necessary for completing the task (Latham 2007).

According to Latham (2007), goals provide a simple and reasonable motivational

explanation for observed variation in employee productivity and performance that is not

attributable to differences in either an individuals ability or in the work situation itself.

13

Some employees perform better than others simply because they have different

performance goals (Locke and Latham 1990). Locke and Lathams goal theory model of

work motivation is depicted in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.3 Goal Theory Model of Work Motivation (Locke and Latham 2002)

The causal assumptions of this theoretical model are supported by over

five hundred research studies spanning 35 years (Locke and Latham 2002). The model is

comprised of several antecedent variables which are believed to precede and influence

the level of motivation indicators as measured by the goal and efficacy mechanisms in the

model (work related behaviors), which determine work performance and outcomes that in

turn influence job satisfaction. The effect which goal and efficacy mechanisms have on

performance and outcomes is moderated by other goal moderator factors both within and

14

beyond an individual. It should be noted that there is no single explicit variable specified

in the model that is labeled work motivation. The goal theory of work motivation is

treated as a higher order concept that is described by specification of antecedent

(predecessor), mediating (explanatory), and consequent (outcome) latent variables in a

nomological network. It is the goal and efficacy mechanisms (mediators) in Figure 2.3

that appear to represent the core characteristics of work motivation in goal theory. In

their theoretical model, Locke and Latham (2002) attempt to explain the effect goals have

on employee actions in four ways. First, goals provide direction to an employees

attention. Second, goals energize effort. Third, goals influence persistence in a positive

way. Fourth, goals influence cognitive effort to obtain knowledge and strategies that will

assist them in the accomplishment of a goal.

The goal theory model of work motivation depicts three categories of

psychological constructs as antecedents of goal and efficacy mechanisms: values, goal

attributes, and self-efficacy. These constructs are believed to precede and influence the

goal and efficacy mediator mechanisms in the model, which include the

three components of action that describe the motivational aspect of employee work

related behavior. As shown in the model in Figure 2.3, values and personality have the

most distal influence on goal choices, goal and efficacy mechanisms, and therefore on

performance and outcomes. The effect that values and personality traits have on goal

setting choices, which influence work related behavior, is less direct and therefore weaker

compared to the more direct influence that goal difficulty, goal specificity and selfefficacy will have on the goal and efficacy mechanisms that represent work related

behavior in the model. In actual work settings, it has been found that assigned work

15

goals will exert an overriding proximal influence on employee behavior through the

attributes of goal specificity, goal difficulty and the employees level of self-efficacy

toward the work goal (Latham 2007). In this model the goal and efficacy mechanisms

(mediator variables) are direction, effort, persistence and task strategies. They are used to

describe the salient aspects of motivated employee behavior. It should be noted that these

mediator variables are the three components of action in the definition of work

motivation presented earlier in the literature review. Mediator variables are included in

theoretical models that contain explicit cause and effect paths to explain the causal

relationship between either predictor and criterion or independent and dependent

variables (Barron and Kenny 1986). The goal and efficacy mechanisms variables are

labeled as mediators by Locke and Latham (2002) to explain the causal linkage between

the goal theory antecedents of values, personality, goal attributes, and self-efficacy to the

goal theory consequents of performance and outcomes, including task success and

rewards, and job satisfaction.

Additional goal moderating factors are included in the model that influence the

goal theory consequents of performance and outcomes, even though moderator variables

are not theorized to explain the models primary cause and effect path relationships. The

level of effect produced by an employees motivated behavior on performance and

outcomes is moderated either positively or negatively by other factors categorized as goal

moderators. The moderator variables include the amount of organizational feedback

received by the employee, employee commitment to the goal, an employees abilities

available to accomplish task strategies for goal attainment, and the complexity of the task

itself.

16

The goal theory model further shows the goal theory consequents, performance

and outcomes, as the causal variables influencing job satisfaction. Other organizational

factors however, act as moderator or mediator variables that can either positively or

negatively affect the level of employee job satisfaction. As this model illustrates, high

levels of job satisfaction do not necessarily indicate the presence of high levels of work

motivation (Porter and Lawler 2000).

1. Goal Attributes

Goal attributes are considered the most influential factors on goal setting behavior

that results in positive performance and outcomes because of their proximal relationship

to the goal and efficacy mediating mechanisms that describe work motivation. To

summarize a key finding of Locke and Lathams (2002) goal setting research, they state

that specific, difficult goals consistently lead to better performance than specific easy

goals or general goals such as do your best, or no goals (Locke and Latham 2002).

Several meta-analyses have estimated the effect sizes (Pearson r correlations) of the

variables goal specificity and goal difficulty, reporting values ranging from 0.42 to 0.80

(Locke and Latham 2002). The size of the effect that difficulty and specificity can have

on goal performance is relatively large. Why then do employees not always meet their

assigned work performance goals? It appears that the manner in which these

two attributes of goal difficulty and goal specificity are treated by management is critical

to the successful definition of a clear and unambiguous goal in a work assignment

context. Stated another way, when employees are simply tasked by their manager to do

their best, they often dont. The primary reason appears to be that since do your best

17

goals have no clearly defined external reference, employees end up defining them in a

unique manner peculiar to their individual circumstances and temperament. This

tendency allows a wide range of performance levels in an organization, which research

indicates is not the case when work goals are more clearly specified.

Specific work goals help focus the attention of employees, letting them know

precisely what they are required to do in their assigned tasks. Setting clear goals tends to

help employees direct their efforts more effectively by clarifying for them the

relationships between effort, performance and rewards within their organization (Steers

and Porter 1974). Goal specificity also reduces employee variation in performance, by

reducing the ambiguity about what level of performance the employee is expected to

attain (Locke and Latham 2002). The specificity of an employees assigned job goals is

best defined in terms that are consistent with explicit organizational goals. Selfreferenced goals are not as effective as externally-referenced goals with respect to

attainment of high levels of employee performance (Locke and Latham 2002).

Locke and Latham (2002) also found that there is a positive linear relationship

between goal difficulty and performance. A problem with the empirical research about

goal difficulty is that the construct has not been consistently defined in the literature (Lee

and Bobko 1992). Locke defined this construct as the probability that a goal can be

reached (Lee, Locke and Latham 1989). Empirical studies by Locke and Latham (2002)

focused on objective goal difficulty, an approach usually taken in a controlled laboratory

setting where goal difficulty is measured in quantitative terms usually defined by

objective performance norms. In uncontrolled field studies, the goal difficulty construct

that is actually measured is the test subjects subjective or perceptual definition of

18

difficulty. The underlying philosophy is that perception of goal difficulty plays a role in

an individuals cognitive decision to expend effort toward a particular goal (Lee and

Bobko 1992). Subjective goal difficulty is defined by Lee and Bobko (1992) as a

measure of the challenge of a goal to that individual. This conceptualization of goal

difficulty will yield lower effect sizes because it is a messy operationalization of the

construct that will likely be confounded with other unknown variables (Lee and Bobko

1992). How difficult the goal is perceived by an individual may be confounded with an

individuals self-efficacy and their perceived individual abilities (Lee and Bobko 1992).

Goal difficulty has two potentially competing effects on motivation. Job goal

difficulty can enhance the employees motivational force to act because larger, more

difficult goals increase the gap between current performance and desired performance,

requiring greater effort to attain the positive self-evaluation which occurs when the more

difficult goal is attained (Bandura 1986). Alternatively, when an individual makes a

subjective assessment of goal difficulty from an expectancy sense, hard goals produce

low expectancy while easy goals produce high expectancy. Low expectancies produced

by employee perceptions of very difficult goals can offset the motivational aspect of the

discrepancy-creation and discrepancy-reduction process postulated by social cognitive

theory (Lee and Bobko 1992). Goals should be difficult yet allow the expectancy of their

attainment to be high enough to generate employee acceptance and buy-in toward the

goal. This aspect of goal difficulty highlights the significance of self-efficacy as an

antecedent variable affecting motivation and goal attainment behavior.

19

2. Self-Efficacy

The objective of a usable theory of work motivation is to identify and explain the

relationships between conscious work performance goals and the level of ensuing task

performance, rather than just discuss vague intentions or desires. Social cognitive theory

(SCT) was first developed by Albert Bandura (1986) to provide a better understanding of

the complexity of human behavior in the workplace, and offer ideas for more effective

behavioral management of the human resources within a modern organization. The

principles of SCT are essentially the same as goal theory, with the primary focus being

the cognitive constructs of self-regulation mechanisms and human agency embodied in

the concept of self-efficacy. A primary tenet of social cognitive theory (Bandura 1986) is

used to explain the underlying self-regulation behavioral mechanism at work when an

individual sets a goal. Goals by themselves do not motivate a person. It is the cognitive

discrepancy created within individuals when they compare current performance to

desired performance that motivates their subsequent behavior to reduce or eliminate the

discrepancy. Self-dissatisfaction with the current state causes individuals to self-regulate

their actions in ways that lead to a more positive self-evaluation of their performance

(Bandura 1986).

The second concept embodied in self-efficacy is that of human agency, which

refers to a persons capacity (or freedom) to act in the world by engaging in social

structures (Bandura 1986). The task-specific concept of self-efficacy as first presented in

the psychology literature by Bandura (1977) defines self-efficacy as the conviction that

one can successfully execute a given behavior required to produce certain outcomes.

Self-efficacy influences the degree of effort put forth by an individual, and their

20

level of self-efficacy in a person promotes greater effort by that individual and more

persistence. Conversely, a person with low self-efficacy is more likely to withdraw effort

prematurely and fail at their assigned work tasks. Bandura (1977) explains that selfefficacy refers to expectancies in an individuals self-perceived ability to put into action a

strategy that meets situational demands. Self-efficacy can influence both goal attributes

and goal mediator mechanisms, especially the task strategies developed by employees in

order to achieve a work goal (Latham 2007). The perceived gap between the current state

and the desired outcome will only drive performance if an individual sees the

performance goal as achievable and therefore worthy of effort.

Occupational self-efficacy is a more generalized abstraction of the concept of selfefficacy than the task-specific assessment of self-efficacy developed by Bandura (1977).

Occupational self-efficacy is considered to be a stable long-term measure of an

individuals level of work-related self-efficacy (Schyns and Collani 2002). This is a

newly developed work domain-specific conceptualization of the generalized self-efficacy

psychological construct. The construct allows comparison of employees in different

organizational contexts with respect to their level of self-efficacy. The original nine item

scale showed reasonable correlations with related personality constructs of generalized

self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control, and with organizational factors including

task demands, job satisfaction, and commitment. A shortened six scale item version of

the occupational self-efficacy construct has been validated in five countries (Rigotti et al.

2008). The level of abstraction of the occupational self-efficacy construct matches the

level of abstraction of engagement as specified by work engagement.

21

Several goal moderator variables included in the goal theory model of work

motivation shown in Figure 2.3 are theorized to be able to affect the direction and

strength of the path relationship between goal and efficacy mechanisms and performance

and outcomes. One of the most important moderator variables listed in the model is

feedback. Goal setting is a discrepancy creating process. Motivation requires a feedforward control loop that produces a discrepancy or gap between the present state and the

desired future state. Action is then taken to reduce this discrepancy, or as Bandura (1986)

explains, an equilibrating reduction in the discrepancy occurs through an individuals

chosen behavioral strategy that is then adjusted by a feedback loop. Feedback moderates

goal setting behavior. It helps enhance the goal attainment strategy. Without feedback an

individual will have no idea if progress has been made toward attaining the desired goal.

Goal setting needs feedback to help an individual achieve higher performance levels

(Latham 2007).

The three other goal moderator variables listed in the goal theory model of work

motivation include goal commitment, ability and task complexity. These three variables

are more difficult to measure correctly as generalized state-like variables and did not

appear in the literature with validated measurement scales that reflected long term

attitudinal or behavioral properties of employee motivation. These three variables are not

included in this research study because their task specific nature does not match the level

of abstraction of the operationalized versions of the other latent variables in this study or

of engagement as operationalized by work engagement.

22

The discussion on goal setting has so far focused primarily on the attributes of

goal difficulty, goal specificity and self-efficacy which are task-specific and proximal

state-like psychological constructs. Goal setting behavior also has personality-specific

aspects. Values and personality are included in the theoretical model of work motivation

because they influence goal choices, goal-setting behavior, and therefore work

motivation. An individuals goal orientation provides insight about the influence of their

values and personality on their goal choice. Achievement goal orientation was identified

in the literature as a conceptualization of the effects that an individuals values and

personality have on goal choices, and it was determined to be a suitable measurement

variable in this research study for values and personality (VandeWalle 1997).

Goal orientation research attempts to predict and explain not only the tasks people

choose, but how they will behave when choosing their task strategy for executing the

chosen task. Goal orientation is therefore a dispositional determinant of behavior, while

goal attributes are situational determinants of behavior (Seijts et al. 2004). The research

on achievement goal orientation started in the educational domain, and current research

has extended the theory to a work domain (Baranik et al. 2007). Individuals have

different purposes or goals for engaging in achievement behavior, and these different

orientations toward goals can be structured in a theoretical framework that explains how

individuals approach and react in an achievement goal setting. People who are concerned

with developing their competence or mastering a task set mastery goals. Performance

goals are set by people who are concerned with demonstrating their competence relative

23

to others. Each category of goals can also be defined in terms of an individual either

trying to approach favorable judgments and demonstration of competence, while others

try to avoid unfavorable judgments and demonstrating incompetence compared to

others. These two orientations of approach and avoidance can be exhibited with respect

to either mastery or performance goals, hence the 2 x 2 dimensional framework of the

achievement goal orientation construct depicted in Figure 2.4 (Baranik et al. 2007).

Figure 2.4 Four Dimensions of Achievement Goal Orientation (Baranik et al. 2007)

Research on goal orientation suggests that approach-oriented goals may foster

more adaptive behaviors and are indicative of positive thinking, while avoidance-oriented

goals may foster maladaptive behaviors, which can lead to negative thinking. It should

be noted that most goals can typically be framed in either an approach or avoidance

viewpoint. Empirical evidence suggests there are psychological well-being benefits to

approach goals versus avoidance goals (Coats and Alpert 1996).

Management support for incorporation of business strategy within an organization

that focuses on increased employee mastery through learning goals can enhance the

positive goal orientation behavior of their workers (Locke and Latham 2002). Learning

goals focus the employee on developing mastery and increased understanding of their

work assignments. Learning goals are associated with higher levels of performance in

24

complex tasks. Learning goals can promote adaptive behavioral strategies, while

performance goals may sometimes actually promote maladaptive behavioral task

strategies. A specific high learning goal is best in jobs that involve complex task

strategies, because the learning goal increases the probability that an effective goal

attainment process will be identified, mastered and implemented (Latham 2007).

The goal theory of work motivation has been examined and two connections

between work motivation, well-being and goal theory are considered relevant to the

research objective of evaluating the correlations between work motivation and work

engagement. First, goal theory explains work motivation using the three components of

action, direction, intensity and duration, to describe the cause and effect relationship

between goal antecedents and performance consequents. These three components of

action appear similar in definition to the dimensions of work engagement. Second, goal

theory is concerned with attainment of goals through task strategies that maximize

employee performance, increasing the level of employee functionality toward goal

attainment. This aspect of goal theory appears to be aligned with the eudaimonic

viewpoint of psychological well-being which equates development of an individuals full

potential to higher levels of psychological well-being. The following components of the

goal theory model of work motivation were included in this research study: the two goal

attributes represented by the measures of job goal difficulty and job goal specificity,

occupational self-efficacy and achievement goal orientation. The goal moderator variable

feedback was also included because it was repeatedly referenced in the literature.

25

Goal theory is however only one of several theories of motivation which attempt

to incorporate employee well-being into their theoretical framework. The incorporation

of a second theory of motivation into this research study will provide an alternate

approach to achieve the research objective of evaluating the correlations between work

motivation and work engagement.

Job characteristics theory emerged in the 1970s as managers looked for new

ways to boost employee productivity. Work redesign through job enrichment provided

the impetus for research into job characteristics because there was insufficient data at the

time about the relative effectiveness of the new management initiatives (Hackman

1980). There was insufficient knowledge of how jobs affect people and how to measure

and thereby understand what happens when jobs are changed. The purpose of work

redesign is to increase organizational productivity by improving the quality of work

experiences within an organization, thereby increasing internal motivation of employees

to improve their job performance (Oldham 1976). This was to be accomplished by

alteration of specific characteristics of jobs, incorporating greater responsibility and

autonomy into a set of more meaningful tasks that a worker could identify as a whole

work package. The goal was to promote development of self-managing workgroups

(Hackman 1980). At the time work redesign, which was using a behavioral approach,

was viewed as a departure from the classic scientific management approach of

simplification, standardization and specialization of jobs. It was apparent to many

managers that their traditional management methods often had unintended dysfunctional

26

consequences. It should be noted that job characteristics theory was just one of several

approaches to work redesign. Another competing approach at the time was Herzbergs

two-factor theory of hygiene and motivators in the workplace. The common theme to

these theories of work redesign was that motivation is improved if the worker is

appropriately matched to his job.

The theory of job characteristics is one aspect of work design theory developed in

the 1970s that is still considered relevant for use in organizational research today. Its

primary premise is that internal motivation of employees can be influenced by core job

characteristics. The model depicted in Figure 2.5 includes the five core characteristics of

jobs which Hackman and Oldham (1975) empirically determined can be designed in a

manner that enhances internal work motivation.

27

positive internal feelings when performing effectively on the job. The content of an

individuals job is one of the critical determinants of their internal motivation level. By

improving or enriching the characteristics of a job, the level of internal work motivation

should be increased in many situations (Oldham 1976). The validity of job

characteristics theory was tested through a series of research studies using a survey

instrument called the Job Diagnostic Survey or JDS (Hackman and Oldham 1975). The

five core job characteristics of the Job Diagnostic Survey are described below:

1) Task significance: the extent to which the job has a substantial and perceivable

impact upon others in the immediate organization or external environment

(Hackman and Oldham 1975, pg. 161).

2) Task identity: the extent to which the job requires completion of a whole and

identifiable piece of work; doing a job from start to end with a visible outcome

(Hackman and Oldham 1975, pg. 161).

3) Skill variety: the extent to which the job requires the worker to perform different

activities calling for different skills and abilities (Hackman and Oldham 1975,

pg. 161).

4) Autonomy: the extent to which the job gives the worker freedom, independence,

and discretion in scheduling work and determining procedures (Hackman and

Oldham 1975, pg. 162).

5) Feedback from the job itself: the extent to which the worker, in carrying out the

activities required by the job, receives information about the effectiveness of his

efforts (Hackman and Oldham 1975, pg. 162).

These five core job characteristics are treated as independent variables in the job

characteristics model. The effect of these five independent variables on the dependent

variables of personal and work outcomes is mediated by three psychological states which

are described below:

28

employee experiences the job as generally meaningful, valuable and worthwhile.

Skill variety, task significance and task identity are the antecedents of

experienced meaningfulness (Hackman and Oldham 1975).

2) Experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work is defined as the degree to

which the employee feels personally accountable and responsible for the results

of the work that the employee does. Autonomy is the antecedent of experienced

meaningfulness (Hackman and Oldham 1975).

3) Knowledge of the actual results of the work activities is the degree to which the

employee knows and understands, on a continuous basis, how effectively they are

performing their job. Feedback is the antecedent of knowledge of results

(Hackman and Oldham 1975)

2. Internal Work Motivation

The conceptual definition of internal work motivation incorporated into the job

characteristics theory is not exactly the same concept of motivation that is the basis of

goal theory. Job characteristics theory describes internal motivation as an internal

psychological process that is most closely related to the concept of intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation refers to the degree to which an employee experiences positive

internal feelings when they are working effectively on the job. Intrinsic motivation

results from the perceived personal rewards inherent in a task or activity itself; in the case

of work, the enjoyment that comes from performance of job duties and assignments

(Ryan and Deci 2000). Intrinsic motivation is related to a sense of competence and selfdetermination, having a keen interest in and obtaining high levels of personal satisfaction

from work related tasks and work performance (Ryan and Deci 2000). It is usually

evaluated within the context of its dichotomous relationship with extrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivators will come from influences and factors outside of a persons

psychological processes. Money or other rewards are a typical source of extrinsic

motivation. Coercion or the threats of punishment are other extrinsic motivators. It has

29

been observed that extrinsic motivators over time will tend to diminish levels of intrinsic

motivation (Ryan and Deci 2000).

The perceived erosion of American industrial competiveness in the 1970s relative

to the emerging competitive threats of Japanese and German industry provided the

rationale for work redesign programs and development of the Job Diagnostic Survey.

The survey instrument was designed for use both in diagnosis of jobs prior to their

redesign and to assess effects of redesigned jobs on the people who did them. It is meant

to assess jobs as perceived by the individual employee level of analysis. Individual

responses would be aggregated to attain a picture of a particular job or work group within

the organization being surveyed. The instrument is made up of two sections. The first

section asks respondents to assess how much of each job characteristic they perceive their

job to have, and the second section then asks the employee to indicate how accurate a

number of statements are relative to the characteristics of their job. The complete job

diagnostic survey had separate sections for job dimensions, psychological states, affective

responses to ones job, and measures to ascertain the employees growth need strength,

considered by Hackman and Oldham (1975) to be a moderator variable which could

either increase or decrease the effect of the core job characteristics on internal motivation.

The developers of the job diagnostic survey (Hackman and Oldham 1975)

believed it is possible to generate a summary score that reflects the overall motivating

potential of a job in terms of certain core job dimensions or characteristics. The

Motivating Potential Score (MPS) is to be calculated using equation (2.1):

30

low, then the resulting MPS for a given job will be low. A job that is high in MPS does

not affect all individuals in the same way. People who value feelings of accomplishment

and personal growth should respond more positively to a job with high MPS. People who

do not value personal growth and accomplishment may find such a job causes them

anxiety and can be uncomfortable. Therefore individual growth need strength is included

in the job characteristics theory as a moderator variable of work performance outcomes.

Research studies today continue to examine the relevance of the JDS as a

diagnostic tool for work design (Buys et al. 2007). Managers can use the JDS to evaluate

core job characteristics for work redesign and job enrichment strategies by measuring the

content of jobs with the JDS. Core job characteristics can be positively influenced by

application of management best practices, and the content of individual and group work

roles optimized for employee well-being. One must be aware of the impact of

managerial decisions and seek to optimize well-being by carefully balancing

organizational situation-specific trade-offs. Empirical evidence suggests a high degree of

congruence between the work environment and employees generally results in higher

performance and employee well-being (Grant et al. 2007).

31

There appears to be some structural similarities between the goal theory model and

the job characteristics model. Goal attributes and self-efficacy are treated as goal theory

antecedents, and are analogous to the five core job characteristics which are antecedents in

the job characteristics model. The consequents of job characteristics theory, personal and

work outcomes, appear analogous to the goal theory consequents, performance and

outcomes. The three psychological states in job characteristics theory are considered

mediator variables, explaining the cause and effect relationship between antecedent and

consequents in job characteristics theory, which is analogous to the use of the goal and

efficacy mechanisms as mediator variables in goal theory. The construct of employee

growth needs strength is treated as a moderator variable in job characteristics theory, and

may be considered analogous to goal commitment and abilities moderator variables in goal

theory. One important difference is that while feedback is a moderator variable in goal

theory, in job characteristics theory feedback is treated as an antecedent variable. Another

difference is that the job characteristics theory of motivation can be effectively represented

with the use of a single validated survey instrument, the Job Diagnostic Survey, while no

single validated survey instrument was found in the literature that represented the goal

theory of work motivation as depicted in Figure 2.3. Several separate validated survey

instruments were identified that measure the goal theory constructs chosen for inclusion

into this research study. The specific constructs from the two motivation theories

incorporated into this research study have relevance to one or more aspects of the theory of

engagement which is presented next in this literature review.

G. Theory of Engagement

32

The word engagement can have different meanings depending on the context of its

use. The Websters online dictionary (YourDictonary.com 2009) defines the state of being

engaged as the act of sharing in the activities of a group. It further explains that to be

engaged is to be involved in activity, or to be occupied, busy, greatly interested, or

committed. The main similarities between definitions of engagement and motivation appear

to be the concepts of action and involvement. Motivation may be viewed as the behavioral

factor that impels a person to act, while engagement may be a measure of the level of

intensity of action produced by motivation. If true, then the level of engagement displayed

by an individual may be a useful indicator of that individuals motivational state.

William Kahn published the first conceptual model of personal engagement in the

academic literature in 1990. According to his theory, momentary psychological conditions

affect the level of personal presence, or expression of a persons preferred self in task

behaviors. A person either presents (engages) or withdraws (disengages) their self in a

given role (Kahn 1990). The construct is summarized in Figure 2.6.

Psychological Conditions

Needed for Engagement:

Meaningfulness

Safety

Availability

Individual

Interpersonal

Group

Inter-group

Organizational

Three Dimensions

of Engagement:

Cognitive

Emotional

Physical

physical. Kahn (1990) also defines the antecedents of personal engagement. Certain

33

psychological conditions are needed for engagement: meaningfulness, safety, and availability.

There also exist multiple levels of influences affecting personal engagement: individual,

interpersonal, group, inter-group, and organizational. A fundamental component of the

theory is that the level of personal engagement in different work roles will vary on a

continuum and engagement can be measured with a psychometric scale as shown in

Figure 2.7 (Kahn 1990, 1992).

(Kahn, William.A., 1990, 1992)

Role B

Role A

Disengagement

(withdrawal of self)

Engage ment

(presentation of self)

Kahns (1990, 1992) research was an exploratory effort, and he chose a qualitative

approach to data collection using the personal interview method. He conducted a series

of interviews while immersed inside several different organizational settings. This

approach enabled the collection of a rich set of behavioral observation data that was

subsequently analyzed and used to lay the theoretical groundwork for the definition of the

construct of personal engagement. A review of the engagement literature found that

Kahns model of personal engagement has been empirically tested in one published study

(May et al. 2004) which produced tentative support for the theory, with the caveat that

34

inconclusive (May et al. 2004).

Additional organizational behavior studies published after Kahns (1990, 1992)

seminal work on the subject have considered engagement as an independent variable

(Salanova et al. 2005), a dependent variable (Schaufeli and Bakker 2004), and even a

moderator variable (Sonnentag 2003). Engagement is important to study because it is

linked to positive individual work related outcomes. Engagement is related to good

health and positive work affect. Researchers have explored the dynamics of engagement

from different viewpoints, including multiple levels of engagement (Salanova et al.

2005), the relationship of engagement in work and family roles (Rothbard 2001),

engagement in individual roles verses team roles (Bakker et al. 2006), and the variation in

engagement levels over day intervals (Sonnentag 2003). Theoretical models for different

versions of engagement have been proposed in the academic literature, including personal

engagement (Kahn 1990), work engagement (Schaufeli et al. 2002), employee

engagement (Harter et al. 2002), (Saks 2006), and self-engagement (Britt et al. 2005).

Engagement is typically conceptualized as a distinct construct that has been empirically

shown to be separate but related to other constructs including flow, job involvement, and

organizational commitment. Engagement also has an opposite construct first identified as

disengagement by Kahn (1990) and later on in the literature as burnout (Maslach et al.

2001). Burnout is a condition related to a reduced level of effectiveness and chronic

health problems in employees. Burnout can be induced by stress within the workplace, or

by a lack of job resources (Schaufeli et al. 2002).

H. Other Explanations of Engagement

35

The term engagement has been used more loosely by a variety of management

consultants that have published articles in either non-academic or for-profit management

consultant newsletter forums (Marcum 1999) (Haudan 2002). These articles typically

describe a variety of sometimes conflicting approaches to promote their unique blend

of business management and organizational transformation best practices, productivity

enhancement and employee well-being programs. What is missing from these articles on

engagement is a clear grounding in established management theory. No explicitly

defined methodology following established scientific experimental design practices and

no psychometric properties of their purported survey instruments are usually published.

For engagement to be viewed as a distinct and clearly defined psychological construct

additional research with theoretical rigor and empirical support is needed to clarify a

more precise meaning of engagement as a measure of organizational behavior that is

useful to engineering management.

One particular research path has emerged in the occupational health psychology

literature as the result of a group of research psychologists extending their empirical

studies about job burnout into a new research path focused on work engagement. Their

theory of work engagement defines the construct as a positive, fulfilling work-related

state of mind; a long-term persistent affective-cognitive state (Schaufeli et al. 2002). The

salient features of work engagement theory are summarized in Figure 2.8.

36

Work engagement theory stresses the assumption of optimal functioning at work

in terms of personal well-being, which is a distinguishing characteristic of the

eudaimonic viewpoint of psychological well-being. The primary characteristics of

engagement are the presence of energy and attachment to work. Schaufeli et al. (2002),

the researchers who developed the construct state that work engagement is a function of

the job resources that fuel work motivation. Work engagement mediates the link between

work-life factors and work outcomes. Three highly correlated yet distinct dimensions

are used to define work engagement: absorption, dedication, and vigor. Their

characteristics are summarized in Figure 2.9.

37

Engagement Survey instrument (UWES), an individual self-report questionnaire with the

title: Work and Well-being Survey. The UWES is now used in dozens of countries

around the world. Thirteen language versions are available and an international data-base

exists that currently includes engagement records of over 20,000 employees (Shimazu

et al. 2008). The sections that follow present summaries of several relevant

organizational behavior studies which have considered work engagement in a variety of

research contexts. The final section on previously published work engagement research

summarizes the only two U.S. based research studies found in the literature review search

on work engagement.

1.

This first published study on psychometric properties of the Utrecht Work

Engagement Survey instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2002) described the validation and

refinement process of the instrument from its initial 24-item survey format which

contained nine items measuring vigor, eight items measuring dedication, and seven items

measuring absorption. Reliability analysis was used to reduce the original version of the

survey to its present 17-item version, and also maximize internal consistency.

Two separate samples were taken: 314 undergraduate students from a Spanish university,

and 619 employees from twelve public and private Spanish organizations. The authors

studied the relationship between burnout and work engagement. These two latent

variable constructs were defined by two different sets of three reflective factors. The

hypothesized latent variable structures were confirmed simultaneously in two successive

38

confirmatory factor analyses. The study results found that the two constructs of work

engagement and burnout are negatively correlated to each other, and the inter-relations

for the three scales were all positive within each construct, demonstrating consistency as

measures that accurately reflect the theoretical variables as defined in their research

study. They concluded that alleviation of workplace stressors is a priority to reduce

employee burnout. Providing adequate resources can mitigate the effect of workplace

stressors and increase the level of work engagement (Schaufeli et al. 2002). Structural

equation analysis from the first study indicated the 3-factor model of engagement with

vigor, dedication and absorption modeled as separate but highly correlated factors fit well

to the data of both samples.

2.

Sonnentag (2003) was concerned with measuring day-to-day levels of work

engagement. The UWES scale of work engagement was incorporated into the study as

shown in Figure 2.10. The premise is that engagement at work expends energy and

resources, requiring a period of recovery-leisure time in non-work activities. A sample

size of n = 147 subjects in one organization was tested daily for five days. Daily fluctuations

in engagement level were observed. Day-level Work Engagement was found to be positively

correlated (Pearson r correlation = 0.31) to Day-Level of Recovery and also positively

correlated (Pearson r correlation = 0.48) to Day-Level Personal Initiative. This study used a

16-item version of the UWES survey instrument and changed the 7-point response scale

numbering scheme from 0 (never) to 6 (always), used in the original instrument, to a 1(never)

to 7 (every day) response scale. A principal component analysis conducted with the data did

39

not result in a clear factor solution. The researchers used an overall one factor scale for

engagement that produced a high reliability Cronbachs alpha of 0.91. This study measured

daily fluctuations in level of work engagement, a significantly shorter time frame than stated

in the theory for work engagement where it is defined as a measure of a long-term persistent

affective-cognitive state (Schaufeli et al. 2002).

Control Variables

De mogr aphic Variables

Gender

Dotted lines denote effects of control variables.

Day-Le vel

Recovery

Age

Tenure

Work place Characteristics

Method control

Day-Le vel

Work Engage ment

Time control

Situational constraints

Time pressure

Trait Work Engagement

Day-Level Pursuit of Learning

Trait Personal Learning

of day- level variation in Work Engagement (Sonnentag, 2003).

Another study using the UWES looked at service climate and its mediating effect

on employee performance and customer loyalty (Salanova et al. 2005). Work

engagement was treated as an independent variable in this study. As shown in

Figure 2.11, this theory has the two variables, level of resources and work engagement,

predicting service climate. Service climate then predicts employee performance which

predicts customer loyalty. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze results of

40

the empirical study. A sample size of 342 front line service unit employees in 85 work

units was tested with the UWES engagement scale and other scales to measure service

climate and resource levels. A separate customer survey was used to measure customer

loyalty and customer perception of employee performance. The three factor structure of

work engagement did not fit the data well at first, and the researchers modified the

absorption scale and then also dropped items 1 and 3 from the vigor scale. This revised

model met analysis criteria for 3 factors.

Training

Autonomy

Technology

Service

Climate

Service

Climate

Organizational

Resources

H2

Dedication

Employee

Performance

H3

H1

H4

Work

Engage ment

Vigor

Employ ee

Performance

Absorp tion

Customer

Loyalty

Customer

Loyalty

and Customer Loyalty: the mediation of Service Climate (Salanova et. al., 2005).

4. Antecedents and Consequents of Work Engagement

A further independent study by Koyuncu et al. (2006) continued to build upon the

UWES model of work engagement, studying possible antecedents and consequences of

work engagement. A sample population of 286 women professionals in a Turkish bank

was surveyed. The measures of the study included personal demographics and work

situation, organizational life experiences, work outcomes including career satisfaction

41

and intent to quit, the three factor UWES work engagement scale, psychological wellbeing, and emotional exhaustion, as shown in Figure 2.12. While this study used the

17-item UWES instrument, the researchers changed the 7-point response scale numbering

scheme of the original instrument from 0 (never) to 6 (always) to a 5-point response scale

numbering scheme from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree).

Antecedents

Consequences

Organizational

Life Experiences:

Workload

Control

Rewa rd and Recognition

Co mmunity

Fairness

Person-to-Organization

Value-fit

Work Outcomes:

Work Engage ment:

Vigor

Dedicat ion

Absorption

Intent to quit

Psychological

Well-being

Emotional

Exhaustion

Work

Engagement

Research

Model

(Koyuncu

al. 2006)

Engage

ment Research

Model

(Koyuncu

et. al. et

, 2006).

Figure 2.12 Antecedents and Consequences of Work Engagement (Koyuncu et al. 2006)

positive correlation was found between engagement and work outcomes. They reported

Cronbachs alpha reliability measures of 0.92 to 0.90 for the three factors of the work

engagement instrument. No validity analysis results were reported for this study.

A study conducted by Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) focused on how the work

engagement construct fit into the context of the job-demands job resources model. The

study examined if this particular model helped to better explain the two constructs of

burnout and engagement. Two theoretical models from this study are shown in

42

Figures 2.13 and 2.14. Additional studies conducted by the researchers replicated this

effort, varying areas of research focus and studying different sample populations (Bakker

et al. 2006) (Hakanen et al. 2008). The researchers used structural equation modeling

methods in their analyses and concluded in all studies that their models exhibited a good

fit to the experimental data.

Job Demands

Job Resources

Burnout

Health

Proble ms

Engage ment

Turnove r

Intention

(Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004)

Figure 2.13 Job Demands-Resources Model of Work Engagement (Schaufeli and Bakker 2004)

Mental

Emotional

+

Job Demands

Strain

Physical

Etc .

Organizational

Outcomes

Support

Autonomy

Job Resources

Motivation

Fee dback

Etc .

Figure 2.14 Second Job Demands-Resources Model of Work Engagement (Bakker et al. 2006)

6. Work Engagement Discriminant Analysis Study

43

This study by Hallberg and Schaufeli (2006) investigated whether work engagement

as measured by the UWES could be empirically separated from the similar constructs of job

involvement and organizational commitment. Discriminant validity was tested through

inspection of latent inter-correlations between the constructs, confirmatory factor analysis,

and patterns of correlations with other constructs. They concluded that the constructs of

engagement, job involvement and organizational commitment can be clearly identified and

measured. All three constructs refer to positive attachment to work so some variance will be

shared, but without too much overlap to result in redundancy. The constructs displayed

different associations with health issues, job characteristics and turnover intentions. The

latent inter-correlations between the constructs ranged from between 0.35 and 0.46,

indicating between 12 percent and 21percent of shared variance. The authors state that this

supports the assumption that the constructs are related but do not overlap to the extent where

they become redundant psychological constructs.

In order to study and apply the concept of work engagement in Japan, the translation

of the UWES into kanji and a research study applying the resulting UWES-J has been

reported in the literature (Shimazu et al. 2008). The purpose of this study was to validate the

Japanese version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-J). Employees from

three independent samples completed the questionnaire (n = 2,334). Their analysis of the

17-item survey instrument was unable to reproduce the theoretical three factor structure of

work engagement. Further confirmatory factor analyses of the 9-item shortened version of

the survey instrument did recover a three factor structure, using the multiple-group method,

44

three factor model with a one factor model concluded that a one-factor model which assumes

that all nine engagement items load on one single factor fitted the data better than the original

three factor model. The one-factor structure was found to be invariant across all

three samples. Scale internal consistency was sufficiently high (Cronbachs alpha = 0.92).

At the time of this research study an extensive search in the literature found only

two other research studies on work engagement in the United States. Both studies are

dissertations which document their primary aim to confirm factor validity of the UWES

instrument in the United States while comparing it to other psychological constructs of

interest. The first reported U.S. study is a dissertation published by J. R. Halbesleben

(2003) at the University of Oklahoma. His research focused on further investigation of

the relationships between burnout and engagement and their correlates through analysis

of several studies using the UWES and other survey instruments. The work engagement

study was focused on confirmatory factor analysis of the UWES-17 survey instrument.

Three samples were collected, including 405 introductory psychology students with jobs

along with two other small samples. The results of the structural equation models

indicate that the 17-item three factor solution generated the best goodness-of-fit results

relative to alternative structural equation models. It is noteworthy that the correlations

reported between the three factors were significantly lower than other published results in

the literature (Halbesleben 2003).

45

The second research study in the United States to use the UWES instrument was

the dissertation published by Claura P. Louison (2007). The UWES survey instrument

was labeled employee engagement. This study compared work engagement and job

involvement as predictor variables to three criterion variables: job satisfaction,

organizational commitment and turnover intentions. A non-random snowball sampling

procedure was used and the size of the final sample analyzed was 232 full-time

employees located throughout the United States. Confirmatory factor analysis using

structural equation modeling methods yielded poor goodness-of-fit values for both the

three factor and one factor 17-item version of the UWES. Hierarchical linear regression

analysis was employed to evaluate the relationships between predictor and criterion

variables and inconclusive results were reported.

A reasonable body of published statistical information related to the validity and

reliability of the UWES instrument was found in the literature. The instrument appears to

have demonstrated an acceptable level of reliability to researchers that have utilized work

engagement in a variety of applications as part of their research. The instrument was

used in a different organizational contexts and countries, and the results obtained were

consistent between studies. The correlation matrices of the study results indicate that the

inter-correlations of the scale items are highly correlated and positive, while the crosscorrelations between different measures are negative. There has however been some

disagreement about the precise factor structure of the work engagement construct.

46

One study could not identify the three factors of work engagement in their principal

component analysis (Sonnentag 2003). Another study modified the measurement scales

(Salanova et al. 2005). The Japanese study found the 9-item short version of the survey

instrument produced a better fit in confirmatory factor analysis than the 17-item version

of the survey instrument (Shimazu et al. 2008). The UWES instrument appears to be still

undergoing additional validation studies by more than one researcher, so there may be

additional information available in the future that could add clarity to this assessment.

More important to the relevance of this research study, no other research study appears to

have been published yet that explicitly examines the relationships between work

engagement and work motivation theories.

Explanations offered by both researchers in the academic literature and

management consultants in business journals concerning the construct of

engagement are not yet clear and consistent in their explanations of how or when

an employee is either engaged or disengaged. Supporting theory varies as well as

recommendations how the construct of engagement should be measured. There is

a need to bring greater clarity to the current descriptions of engagement in the

workplace through the continued application of accepted psychometric analysis

methods to assess the validity and reliability of test instruments that purport to

measure the most promising engagement concepts. Work engagement is one such

construct that has been operationalized in the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey

instrument. It has been made available to researchers in the public domain and

47

published psychometric results of studies that have been conducted in more than

one dozen countries throughout the world. The number of studies conducted in

the United States to date is still limited. Further research is required to assess the

equivalence of the published psychometric properties of the construct within

United States technical services organizations. Furthermore, it is important that

the usefulness of the work engagement construct as a measure of employee

motivation be considered, since psychological constructs with greater precision

and validity than job satisfaction by itself are needed by managers to better

explain the level of employee work motivation within their organizations.

48

CHAPTER III

RESEARCH STATEMENT

A. Introduction

The underlying premise of this research study is that managers desire a better

understanding of employee motivation within their organization in order to energize their

workforce more effectively, channeling that energy toward the accomplishment of

organizational goals and objectives. A variety of existing motivation theories attempt to

explain how motivation occurs in employees from very different perspectives. No single

theory of motivation appears to be dominant in todays management best practices. It

would therefore be advantageous to managers if some practical measurement of work

motivation emerges from current occupational health research as a standard or criterion

for the measurement of an employees level of work motivation. This motivation

measure should have validity and invariance across a diverse range of organizational

contexts and management practices.

This research study begins by considering work motivation as a component of

psychological well-being. The level of work motivation in an employee is believed to be

positively correlated with the occupational psychological health and well-being of that

employee. The antecedents of work motivation are latent factors related to healthy

49

organizational improvement objectives and goals. Another way to view these healthy

workplace factors is to consider at least some of them to be useful predictor variables of

an employees level of work motivation. A manager that can consistently implement the

right mix of healthy workplace practices within their organization will be more likely to

maintain a highly motivated workforce. One issue is how to determine which

measurements of work related factors are the most suitable predictors of an employees

work motivation related component of psychological well-being. When operationalized

in reliable and valid attitudinal and behavioral questionnaires, the selected motivational

well-being factors should provide adequate predictive capability that managers will want

to use to them to measure how healthy their work environment is. In the ideal case, the

psychologically healthy work environment impels employees to achieve increased levels

of performance within their organization. An objective of this research study is to

evaluate the relationships between several organizational factors theorized in the

literature to be antecedents or predictors of work motivation. Evaluation of the strength

of correlations between these predictor factors and work motivation can provide evidence

concerning which set of predictor factors is the most useful to a manager attempting to

predict work motivation of employees.

A second issue is what psychological factor or factors are the most suitable

candidate for measurement of the resultant effects on employees produced by these

predictor variables of work motivation from psychological well-being. These factors can

be labeled criterion factors, because they are believed to be suitable measures of the key

characteristics or traits of a highly motivated employee. Work engagement is theorized to

50

be a criterion variable for work motivation in employees, measuring their level of energy

while on the job and the strength of their attachment to work, characteristic traits of a

motivated employee. The strength of the measured relationships between predictor and

criterion variables in this research will help determine if work engagement is a

motivation related construct with significant enough validity and utility to warrant its

usage by managers as an organizational performance metric of employee work

motivation from psychological well-being.

B. Research Issues

The organizational factors believed to motivate an employee to high levels of

performance on the job are intrinsic to psychological health and well-being in the

workplace. One such psychological construct that shows promise as a work motivation

criterion variable with these desirable characteristics is work engagement. While work

engagement is purported to be a measure of employee work and well-being, is work

engagement also a valid and useful measure of the motivational component of

psychological well-being? Are work engagement dimensions measuring the effects of

work motivation factors through employee actions on the job? The attributes of work

motivation and the dimensions of work engagement are compared in Figure 3.1.

51

convergence between the two constructs. Will a study that measures several work

motivation predictor variables along with work engagement dimensions find evidence

that the factors theorized to be predictors of work motivation are indeed positively

correlated to the three dimensions of work engagement? Is work engagement a useful

criterion for measuring the motivational aspect of employee work-related behavior?

Answers to these research questions will be developed by evaluating the relationships

between work engagement and the antecedents of work motivation as defined by the goal

theory model of work motivation (Locke and Latham 2002). Goal theory is however

only one of several management theories available to managers seeking a better

understanding of employee attitudes and behaviors in the workplace. Upon closer

examination of the several theories of engagement, one also finds a recurring theme that

job characteristics appear to be important factors in the prediction of employee work

engagement and possibly work motivation. In fact, the description of the antecedents of

work engagement (Schaufeli et al. 2002) appears to be very similar to key elements of the

job characteristics theory defined by Hackman and Oldham (1976) shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2 Attributes of Job Characteristics Theory versus Work Engagement Theory

52

personal engagement (Kahn 1990). Can a group of several key job characteristics

variables in the Job Diagnostic Survey which Hackman and Oldham (1975)

recommended for management use to predict the motivating potential score of a job also

predict the level of work engagement in an individual? Is there a cause and effect

relationship between the motivating potential score of a job and the level of work

engagement in an individual? Answers to these research questions can be developed by

evaluating the relationships between the core job characteristics as defined and measured

by the Job Diagnostic Survey and the three dimensions of work engagement.

Estimation of correlation coefficient values and regression path coefficients

between predictor and criterion variables from the research study results may provide

insight about the utility of the work engagement construct as a criterion measure of

employee work motivation. The effect which predictor variables are observed to have

on criterion variables may be evaluated strictly through correlation studies, but there is no

guarantee that a strong correlation will provide proof that the predictor variables actually

cause the observed relationship between predictor and criterion variables. A more

powerful case will be made to managers if evidence of a cause and effect relationship can

somehow be demonstrated between these predictor and criterion variables of work

motivation in employees. Evidence that supports the theorized cause and effect

relationships between predictor and criterion variables may be demonstrated through use

of an analysis methodology known as structural equation modeling.

53

The organizational context for this research study is engineering technical

services organizations in the United States of America. All employees in an organization

are included in the survey sample frame. Engineers, scientists, and engineering

technicians constitute the majority of the employees sampled in this research. The

purpose of this research study was to answer three questions. The first question was

whether or not an employees level of engagement at work could be measured by the

Utrecht Work Engagement Survey (UWES) instrument with sufficient reliability and

validity for it to be useful to engineering managers. The second question was whether or

not several latent variables from the goal theory of work motivation, which are factors

that can be influenced by engineering managers, could predict an employees level of

work engagement as measured by the UWES. The third question was whether or not

several latent variables from the job characteristics theory of motivation, which are

factors that can be influenced by engineering managers, could predict an employees

level of work engagement as measured by the UWES. The research plan included data

collection using a web survey instrument that combined criterion measures of

psychological well-being as defined by work engagement with two groups of predictor

factors as defined in the two different motivation theories. Data was also collected

regarding demographic characteristics of the sample. A psychometric analysis of the

survey results included correlation analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structural

equation modeling analyses that were used to compare the goodness-of-fit of the sample

data results to theorized causal relationships between predictor and criterion variables.

54

D. Research Hypotheses

The three questions that this research study has attempted to answer have been

formulated as research hypotheses presented as follows:

1) Ho: The scale items of the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey neither reliably nor

validly measure work engagement in an engineering technical services firm.

Ha: The scale items of the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey reliably and validly

measure work engagement in an engineering technical services firm.

2) Ho: Goal theory latent variables do not predict an employees level of work

engagement in an engineering technical services firm.

Ha: Goal theory latent variables do predict an employees level of work

engagement in an engineering technical services firm.

3) Ho: Job characteristics theory latent variables do not predict an employees

level of work engagement in an engineering technical services firm.

Ha: Job characteristics theory latent variables do predict an employees level

of work engagement in an engineering technical services firm.

The three hypotheses will be evaluated by the statistical goodness-of-fit results

obtained from structural equation modeling analyses of the UWES instrument and two

structural equation research models that will be presented in the next chapter. A detailed

explanation of the methodology employed in this research study is also presented in the next

chapter.

E. Significance of Research

This research study produced a set of measurement data that was analyzed using

several statistical methodologies to evaluate the latent variable factor structure of work

engagement. A comparative study between these results and previous studies on work

engagement determined the level of invariance of the construct between sample

55

Europe and Japan with engineers and technicians in the United States of America.

Structural equation modeling in this research examined the causal paths between

variables defined in two currently accepted work motivation theories, goal theory and job

characteristics theory. An assessment of the construct validity of work engagement as a

criterion measure of work motivation and psychological well-being was performed by

developing two structural equation models that were used to evaluate causal path

relationships between work engagement and two different sets of predictor variables

chosen from their respective work motivation theories. This analysis could lay the

groundwork for future research on the utility of work engagement as a criterion measure

of the motivational component of psychological well-being.

56

CHAPTER IV

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

A.

Research Approach

This research study attempted to evaluate relationships between several

the construct of work engagement. After completing a review of the relevant literature on

work motivation theory and theory of engagement, an observation was made that several

core elements of the theory of work engagement appear very similar to key elements of

both the goal theory of work motivation and the theory of job characteristics. Early on it

was determined that the variables chosen for this study should be consistent with the

framework of the two different motivation theories, i.e., Goal Theory and Job

Characteristics theory. Two research models were proposed as independent assessments

of the relationships between work motivation predictor variables and work engagement.

The specific variables chosen for inclusion into the two research models were consistent

with the nomological frameworks of each motivation theory. These latent variables were

combined in logical groups along with the three work engagement latent variables of the

UWES survey instrument in the web survey instrument developed for this research.

57

The theoretical research population selected for this study consists of all

employees of engineering technical services organizations in the United States of

America. A typical population subject could be an engineer, scientist, engineering

technician, computer programmer, or even an administrative employee of the technical

services organization. A majority of employees are expected to have technical jobs. A

pilot study was first conducted for the purpose of testing the research methodology and

also enabled preliminary analysis of the latent variables using the pilot study sample data

set. This approach facilitated identification of any potential issues which might need to

be addressed prior to deployment of the research methodology in a full study sample

population. The research methodology followed the sequence of activities presented

below:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Selection of test instruments with measurement scales for the latent variables.

Combination of measurement scales in a web survey instrument.

Data collection from sample populations through use of email, URL hyperlink

and internet web survey technology.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

Demographics analysis.

Analysis of survey results utilizing descriptive statistics.

Measurement scale reliability analysis.

Correlation coefficients analysis of latent variables.

Confirmatory factor analyses of individual and combined survey instruments.

10. Develop structural equation models to evaluate cause and effect relationships

between latent variables in the two research models.

The pilot study produced the first sample data set that was evaluated following the

sequence of analysis steps described above. Each step produced additional information

which combined together provided the basis for formulating preliminary answers to the

58

three research questions. More important, analysis of the pilot study results identified a

conceptual weakness in the originally proposed goal theory research model that was

addressed by adding two important goal attributes variables, job goal difficulty and job

goal specificity, to the full study goal theory research model and a revised web survey

instrument. The full study was then implemented and its sample data set was evaluated

using the same methodology described above. At each step during evaluation of the full

study results, a comparative analysis between pilot study and full study results was also

conducted.

B.

This study developed and evaluated two separate research models. The first

research model adapts the framework of the goal-setting model of work motivation to

evaluate relationships between goal setting theory predictor variables and work

engagement criterion variables. Specification of causality paths between research

variables will be guided by the assumptions in Locke and Lathams (2002) goal theory

model. These assumptions are that values and personality will have a distal influence on

the goal setting attributes of goal specificity and goal difficulty. Goal specificity and goal

difficulty have a proximal influence on the goal and efficacy mediating mechanisms of

direction, effort and persistence, which influence performance and outcomes. Selfefficacy will have a proximal influence on goal attributes and direction, effort and

persistence. Goal moderators such as feedback moderate the influence that direction,

effort and persistence have on performance and outcomes. Predictor variables included

achievement goal orientation, occupational self-efficacy, two job goal attributes, and

59

two measures of the goal theory moderator variable feedback, all acting as antecedents of

an employees work motivation state. Work engagement and its three dimensions were

treated as the criterion variables for measurement of work motivation in the full study

goal theory research model shown in Figure 4.1.

The second research model evaluated relationships between several core job

characteristics acting as predictor variables of work engagement, and work engagement is

included as the criterion variable measuring the resulting level of an employees work

motivation. Shown in Figure 4.2, the predictor variables include the five core job

characteristics measured by the revised job diagnostic survey plus two additional related

job characteristics from the original job diagnostic survey. Work engagement and its

three dimensions, treated again as the criterion variables in this second research model,

are treated as psychological state variables related to personal and work outcomes.

60

An important issue in the selection of variables for both models was the matching

of specificity levels, or level of abstraction, for all the variables in this research study.

The theory of work engagement defines the construct as a positive, fulfilling work-related

state of mind, a long-term persistent affective-cognitive state (Schaufeli et al. 2002). The

predictor variable measurement scales in the survey instruments selected from the

literature are all considered to be measures of long-term individual employee behaviors

or attitudes.

C.

Predictor variables were measured using several separate measurement scales

found in the literature review and merged together in a single web survey instrument.

The individual survey instruments containing the measurement scales used in this

61

research were selected based on their direct applicability to the two theories of motivation

selected for this research study. In addition, the survey instruments selected met the

requirement of matching the level of abstraction of the work engagement survey

instrument. All survey instruments chosen for this study met have been validated in

previous research studies and have demonstrated acceptable reliability. Table 4.1

provides a summary list of the measurement scales selected for use in this research.

Table 4.1 Summary of Individual Test Instruments Selected from the Literature

The scales were reproduced intact as presented in the literature for the purpose of

comparing the psychometric properties of the sample results to published reliability

ratings and factor analysis results for each of the chosen measurement scales. Each set of

predictor variables was organized into a separate section with its own short introduction

also reproduced intact from the original published version of the instrument. The pilot

study instrument consisted of 15 measurement scales and a total of 62 survey questions.

The results of the pilot study provided data that confirmed the reliability of all but one of

the 15 measurement scales. As previously mentioned, the pilot study results also

identified the need to add two additional goal theory predictor variables to measure the

62

two goal attributes constructs of goal specificity and goal difficulty, yielding a full study

survey instrument with a total of 17 scales and 71 survey questions. Each individual

survey instrument and its list of survey questions are presented in Appendix B. The final

web survey instrument developed for the full study is presented in Appendix C. Table C.1

provides a map between test instruments selected from the literature, their scale items and

the position of each scale item in the web survey instrument by identified by survey

section and question number.

The 17-item Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), a work and well-being

self-report questionnaire measures three dimensions of well-being that a worker feels

while at work: 6 items measuring vigor, 5 items measuring dedication, and 6 items

measuring absorption. Questions are to be answered using a seven point Likert-type

response scale that measures how often the employee has experienced the feelings at

work, from 0 (never) to 6 (every day). More recently, a 9-item short version of the

survey has been validated by the developers of the UWES, with three scale items per

dimension. The three dimensions are highly correlated with respect to each other, yet

empirical studies have shown they here is sufficient discriminant validity to warrant the

three factor structure. The first reported measurement scale reliabilities were Cronbachs

alpha of 0.79 for vigor, 0.89 for dedication, and 0.72 for absorption (Schaufeli et al.

2002). The scale reliabilities reported for the short version of the measurement scales

were a Cronbachs alpha of 0.77 for vigor, 0.85 for dedication, and 0.78 for absorption

(Schaufeli et al. 2006).

63

In order to evaluate work engagement within the framework of job characteristics

theory, a well-documented survey instrument was identified in the motivation research

literature, the Job Diagnostic Survey developed by Hackman and Oldham (1975). They

intended for the instrument to be used as a diagnostic tool by managers interested in

evaluating the motivational potential score, or MPS, of a given work situation, in order to

develop a strategy for job enrichment through redesign of the work. The JDS measures

the perceptions of employees about core job characteristics in their work environment.

The first study to be published about the job diagnostic Survey (JDS) by Hackman and

Oldham (1975) listed internal consistency reliabilities ranging from 0.59 to 0.71. They

also reported that the items that compose each scale showed adequate discriminant

validity. Ratings of the job characteristics by different sample groups and outside

observers showed moderate convergence of most dimensions. Correlations among the

JDS scales are moderately positively inter-correlated. Job dimensions are positively

related to measures of personal and work outcomes. Analysis of variances of the JDS

scales between various jobs showed differences that were statistically significant for all

scores. Some scales are more sensitive to between-job differences than others. This

finding has been replicated many times in different work situations by researchers that

incorporated the JDS into organizational behavior studies. The JDS continues to be a

relevant and empirically well-documented survey instrument. Different job situations can

therefore be evaluated and compared using the JDS scores.

64

The Job Diagnostic Survey was one of several job characteristics survey

instruments found in the literature. A second instrument titled the Job Content

Questionnaire (Karasek et al. 1998) was also developed in the 1970s. Its purpose was to

make comparative assessments of several psychological constructs which however were

not directly related to job design characteristics. The instrument was dropped from

further consideration early in the literature review phase of this research.

A third instrument, the Job Characteristics Inventory (JCI) was developed around

the same time as the JDS in an attempt to offer researchers and managers an alternative to

the JDS (Sims and Szilagyi 1976) (Sims et al. 1976). The Job Characteristics Inventory

was developed from the same foundational research used to develop the JDS. There were

six job characteristics in the final version of the JCI, including Variety, Autonomy,

Feedback, Friendship, Task Identity and Dealing with Others (Sims et al. 1976). This

competing survey instrument did not find widespread acceptance and its research stream

appears to have dried up by the late 1970s with no empirical studies found in the

literature from the mid-eighties to the present. The Job diagnostic Survey continued to be

used in research and improved upon during the later eighties up to as recently as 2007,

and the JDS was therefore selected for use in this research study.

In follow-on empirical studies, researchers using the original job diagnostic

survey did not always recover a true five-factor structure. The revised job diagnostic

survey was developed ten years later in response to factor purity problems identified with

reverse score scale items (Idaszak and Drasgow 1987). The reverse score items were

reworded so that all scale items are positively scored. The revised job diagnostic survey

continues to be utilized, with the most recent study found in the literature confirming its

65

factor validity (Buys et al. 2007). This study reported the following Cronbachs alpha

scale reliabilities: 0.74 for skill variety, 0.67 for task identity, 0.70 for task significance,

0.72 for autonomy, and 0.79 for feedback from job itself (Buys et al. 2007). The revised

version of the Job Diagnostic Survey was selected for incorporation into this research

study. There are five factors in the JDS with three scale items each. A seven point Likert

type response scale was used. The questions are arranged into two separate sections

allocating one question from each factor in section one and the other two questions per

factor in the second section arranged in randomized order. Two additional measurement

scales in the original version of the JDS have been added to this study because they were

considered related factors of interest. Feedback from agents attempts to measure

feedback from coworkers and supervisors, and Dealing with others attempts to measure

the interconnectedness of a particular job with other jobs in the organization (Hackman

and Oldham 1975). Reported scale reliabilities were 0.78 for feedback from agents and

0.59 for dealing with others (Hackman and Oldham 1975).The scale item wordings of

these two related factors appear to have face validity and provide a more complete

understanding of employee perceptions of feedback on the job.

3. Achievement Goal Orientation Survey Instrument

Objectives of incorporating goal orientation into the research effort were two fold:

first, does an individuals goal orientation have any significant correlation to their level of

work engagement; and second, the full study considered the possibility of interactions

between goal orientation variables and goal attributes variables. Previous research in this

area has indicated significant interaction effects can exist between mastery approach

goals when manipulated to appear more difficult, predicting higher performance

66

outcomes (Senko and Harackiewicz 2005). The 2x2 framework for achievement goal

orientation in a work domain survey instrument measured how individuals approach and

react to achievement goals (Baranik et al. 2007). The survey instrument developed by

Baranik et al. (2007) is an extension of earlier foundational work on goal orientation

measures, and therefore was the logical choice for this study because it represents the

latest and most developed theory of goal orientation in a work domain to be found in the

literature. Their achievement goal orientation variables were used to measure differences

in dispositional trait-like characteristics of individuals that are theorized to be predictors

of an employees goal choice. People who are concerned with developing their

competence or mastering a task typically set mastery goals. People who are concerned

with demonstrating their competence relative to others will be oriented to set

performance goals. Each category of goals can also be defined in terms of an individual

trying to approach favorable judgments and demonstration of competence, while others

instead try to avoid unfavorable judgments and demonstrating incompetence compared to

others (Coats et al. 1996). The two orientations of approach and avoidance can be

exhibited with respect to either mastery or performance goals, hence the 2x2 dimensional

framework of the survey instrument (Baranik et al. 2007). A seven point Likert type

scale was used in the instrument. Two studies were conducted by Baranik (2007) in order

to develop a sufficiently reliable mastery-avoidance scale, confirm the reliabilities of the

other three scales, and perform a confirmatory factor analysis of the four-factor structure

of the final 18-item survey instrument. Cronbachs alpha was reported as 0.89 for

mastery approach, 0.74 for mastery-avoidance, 0.88 for performance approach, and 0.77

for performance-avoidance. The first study consisted of 341 introductory psychology

67

students at a mid-sized southeastern university who met the criteria of having held a job

or currently working at a job. The second study consisted of 307 students that met the

same criteria.

Two goal attributes variables, job goal specificity and job goal difficulty, were

added to the full study research model to provide a more complete assessment of goal

setting antecedents. The measurement scales for goal specificity and goal difficulty were

used to capture proximal assigned work goal attributes. Goal attributes are important

antecedents of work motivation. Measurement scales for three different versions of the

two goal attributes were found in the literature. The earliest published set of goal

attributes measurement scales (Steers 1974) that were identified and evaluated as

potential candidate scales for this research were found to have been incorporated into

two more recently developed goal attributes measurement scales (Wright 2004) (Fang et al.

2004). Of the two newer sets of goal attributes measurement scales (Fang et al. 2004)

focused on assigned goals while the set of second measurement scales used a more

generalized wording of job goals in each scale item (Wright 2004). The usage of the

term assigned was considered to be potentially confusing or restrictive to survey

respondents, so the two goal attributes scales by Wright (2004) were selected for this

research. These two measurement scales were developed and validated in a public sector

organization setting. Cronbachs alpha measurement scale reliabilities were reported as

0.74 for job goal specificity, and 0.85 for job goal difficulty (Wright 2004). Two different

ranges for the Likert-type response scales were used by Wright, a 1 (strongly disagree) to

68

6 (strongly agree) agreement scale, and a 0 (never) to 4 (always) frequency scale. Scale

items within each job goal attribute scale incorporated both of these response scales. The

scores of items within each scale could therefore not be added or averaged together

directly in their raw format. Individual item response values were therefore standardized

to an equivalent score ranging from 0.0 to 1.0, and the standardized scores were used for

all subsequent evaluations and analyses.

Birgit Schyns and Gernot von Collani (2002) developed a survey instrument that

is intended to be a reliable one-dimensional measure of the psychological construct of

occupational self-efficacy. Occupational self-efficacy is considered to be a stable longterm measure of an individuals level of work-related self-efficacy (Schyns et al. 2002).

Other self-efficacy measurement scales were also considered. Task specific measures of

self-efficacy (Bandura 1982) were deemed unsuitable for this research study because

their short-term level of measurement specificity was not well matched to the long-term

attitudinal and behavioral measurement frame of the work engagement construct. A

generalized self-efficacy scale (Chen et al. 2001) was identified that was better matched

to the specificity level of work engagement. It was discarded because the generalized

nature of its scale items was deemed significantly less useful than the occupational selfefficacy scale (Schyns et al. 2002). The developers of the occupational self-efficacy

construct have published the results of three studies that assessed the reliability and

validity of the instrument as a self-efficacy construct for organizational behavior research

(Schyns and Collani 2002). The first study conducted by Schyns and Collani included

69

153 participants that were acquaintances of psychology students who recruited them for

the study based on the criteria that the subject had to have had job experience or was

currently employed. The sample included a broad range of professions and educational

levels. A second study consisted of 326 participants that were selected on the condition

that they currently worked in a hierarchically low position (no subordinates). A

third study consisted of 100 participants of a cross-section of blue-collar workers. The

results of the three studies validated the survey instrument and indicated it was

sufficiently reliable to be used in further research studies that seek to evaluate selfefficacy in its generalized work-related form. A six point Likert type response scale was

used for all six positively scored scale items. The scale has been validated in five

countries (Rigotti et al. 2008). The six item version of the measurement scale was used in

this research study. They reported a scale reliability of Cronbachs alpha of 0.85 in

Belgium and 0.90 in Great Britain (Rigotti et al. 2008).

D.

Demographics Measurements

The final section of the combined survey instrument contained a list of

seven demographics related questions which include gender, ethnicity, education level,

supervisory duties level, job description by selecting from a list of job categories, the

total number of years employed in their profession, and the number of years at their

current job. These questions were not required fields, thereby allowing a respondent to

complete the survey but remain demographically anonymous if they chose to for privacy

reasons. The primary aim of this research was to treat the sample population as a single

unit of analysis at the organizational group level. These demographics may be useful in a

70

results warrant such additional effort.

E.

The theoretical research population selected for this research consists of all

America. A pilot study was first conducted by collecting data from a convenience sample

believed to be roughly equivalent to a subset of the theoretical population: engineering

graduate students enrolled in the industrial & systems engineering department of a local

university either currently employed or who had recently held a full-time job. These

engineering graduate students were from a variety of organizations including private

companies, government research and development organizations, or staff members of the

university. The data collection methodology selected for the pilot study was to use

internet web browser technology, email, and a web-based survey development software

application for survey creation, distribution, and data collection. All individual survey

instrument scale items and response scales were reproduced in their original published

format as closely as was possible. Each individual instrument was organized into a

separate section with a short introduction.

The engineering graduate students were briefly informed of the purpose of the

pilot study during class and asked to voluntarily complete the web survey on their own

time by accessing the instrument via an internet URL hyperlink. The pilot study

produced 60 completed surveys, with the majority of respondents being engineers.

Three other job categories represented in the pilot study sample provided some of the job

71

description diversity expected in the theoretical research population. The results of the

pilot study were deemed favorable enough to warrant expansion of the research effort to a

full study sample population. Prior to deployment of the web survey instrument in a

larger full study population, preliminary analysis of the pilot study results identified a

deficiency in the initial set of goal theory predictor variables. Goal orientation variables

had very weak correlations to other goal theory variables and the three dimensions of

work engagement. This result prompted inclusion of two additional goal theory variables

identified during the literature review but not included in the pilot study. The addition of

two job goal attributes variables made the goal theory research model significantly more

robust and better aligned with the nomological network of the goal theory model of work

motivation (Locke and Latham 2002).

Work engagement had been placed first in the sequence of fifteen measurement

scales in the pilot study web survey instrument, and preliminary factor analysis of the

pilot sample data set caused concern that the work engagement survey instrument might

have suffered from its starting position in the layout design of the pilot study web survey.

Research on large multi-item survey instruments has shown that the first 25 survey items

tend to be of lower measurement quality than questions from 26 to 100, with a significant

drop-off in measurement quality beyond the 100th item (Andrews 1984). To compensate

for this possibility, the full study web survey instrument was modified to have

four separate versions with work engagement, job characteristics, goal attributes/selfefficacy, and goal orientation each placed first in a version of the web survey instrument.

The four versions were then randomly administered to one fourth of the full study organization.

72

F.

The next opportunity for deployment of the web survey instrument was provided

consisting of 877 employees at the time of the study, is a privately owned business entity

that provides engineering and technical services through multiple technical services

support contracts with the U.S. government. The company manages an entirely on-site

support contractor workforce located at a geographically diverse collection of

U.S. government laboratory facilities engaged in either research and development or test

and evaluation for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and NASA. The relatively small

number of administrative function employees located at corporate headquarters also

participated in the full study.

G.

The data collection methodology selected for the full study was to again use

internet web browser technology, email, and a web-based survey. Access to the

electronic survey by employees in the full study organization was provided through an

email that contained a secure web address hyperlink to enable private and anonymous

web access via personal computer to the electronic survey. A single introductory email

letter was sent out to all members of the sampled organization. No follow-up reminder

emails were sent. The single email explained the purpose of the survey and requested

their voluntary participation by asking them to open the embedded web address hyperlink

which provided a secure connection to the electronic survey located on the web services

company server computer. The email and survey in web format as it appeared on a

73

complete all questions on each page before being able to proceed to the next page of the

survey. The survey could be partially completed and the respondent was allowed to reuse

to the web link to return to their own partially completed survey at a later date for

completion of their survey. Only one completed survey was permitted per each unique

personal computer IP address, thus providing a measure of confidence that only

one survey response set per employee was obtained. The IP addresses were tracked

privately by the web survey services company but were not included in the data results,

thereby providing complete anonymity to the survey respondent. The web survey

company managed the secure and confidential collection of all survey data and stored the

results. The survey results were downloaded for analysis in a comma separated file

format that was compatible with spreadsheet software applications.

H.

In order to answer the research questions of this study, an analytical assessment of

the factor structure contained in the sample data results was performed. The validity of

the constructs was evaluated through the application of both confirmatory factor analysis

and structural equation modeling analysis techniques. Construct validity refers to the

degree to which inferences can be legitimately made from the operationalization of the

theoretical constructs as they have been defined in their respective theories and

operationalized in a survey instrument with scales designed to measure the theoretical

components of the constructs (Andrews 1984). Validity studies help to determine how

well the survey instrument scales actually measure the concepts of the goal theory of

74

work motivation, job characteristics theory and work engagement. Convergent and

discriminant validity are both considered sub categories of construct validity. The

two concepts work together. If convergent and discriminant validity can be demonstrated

then evidence for construct validity has been demonstrated (Andrews 1984).

For convergent validity, measures of constructs that theoretically should be related

to each other should actually be observed to be related to each other by correspondence

or convergence between similar constructs. Discriminant validity refers to the principle

that the indicators for different constructs should not be so highly correlated as to lead

one to conclude that they measure the same thing. The researcher must conduct a

statistical test to determine whether two constructs differ enough that they can be

discriminated from each other. Factor analysis has been used to conclude that constructs

are different if their sets of indicator variables load most heavily on different factors in a

confirmatory factor analysis. For discriminant validity there must be evidence that the

measures that should not be related are in reality not related. The relationship between

measures of different constructs should be low to be able to discriminate between

different constructs. Cross-construct correlations should be much lower than convergent

correlations. It is important to look for patterns in the correlation matrix of survey results

to support convergent and discriminant validity (Trochim 2006).

An ideal comprehensive factor validity study would include usage of the multitrait-multi-method matrix approach (MTMM), but this would require multiple

measurement methods be used to measure each of several concepts. With respect to the

chosen goal theory constructs, the job characteristics constructs and work engagement

research, the empirical studies to date have typically been limited to one method, the use

75

population. No studies in the engagement literature have reported the use of the MTMM

method. Individual studies have sometimes reported factor analytic assessments of

construct validity using confirmatory factor analysis, but in most of the studies, structural

equation modeling (SEM) was used to evaluate construct validity.

Empirical studies of the discriminant validity of the goal theory attributes

measurement scales, the Revised Job Diagnostic Survey and the work engagement

UWES measurement scales are reported in the literature. Most of the previously

published research studies related to the selected survey instruments typically included

data results from large size samples (i.e., greater than 500 responses). These large sample

sizes helped to build a strong argument that the measurement scales and their related

survey instruments are a valid and reliable measurement of their respective psychological

constructs. This research will add to the body of literature with respect to the construct

validity of these constructs when their measurement scales are deployed within a United

States engineering technical services organization context.

76

CHAPTER V

RESEARCH RESULTS

A.

Between the two studies conducted for this research, a total of 420 completed surveys

were obtained for subsequent data analysis, 60 surveys from the pilot study and 360 surveys

from the full study. The results are summarized in Table 5.1. The two sample sets were

analyzed separately. A comparative discussion between pilot and full study results is also

included. The response rate of 41% for the full study is considered acceptable because

response rates discussed in the literature for electronic web based survey methods are

typically in the 25% 35% response rate range (Kaplowitz et al. 2004).

77

The pilot survey data was collected within a one month time period. The set of

results that was obtained from the full study of the engineering services company took

five months to collect because separate divisions of the company were surveyed

sequentially in time at the request of the organizations management, due in part to

waiting periods for authorization from local management to proceed with survey

distribution and also due to a hurricane catastrophe which affected three of seven work

sites of the company at the beginning of the full study survey distribution process. A

decision was made to defer sampling those divisions affected by the hurricane for

three and one half months to allow any adverse effects the hurricane had on

organizational facilities to be mitigated before surveying those employees. The final set

of usable survey responses consisted of nearly equivalent quantities of completed surveys

for each of the four versions of the full study survey instrument that had been distributed.

A review of descriptive statistics measures including means and standard deviations

indicated there were no discernable differences observed between the different versions

of the survey instruments or the different divisions of the company. The technical

services organization surveys were therefore combined into one data set, n = 360,

representing the technical services organization in subsequent analyses.

B.

Demographics Analysis

A summary of responses to demographics questions contained in the survey are

provided in Tables 5.2 through 5.8. The demographic data for the respondents includes

gender, ethnicity, job description, supervisory responsibilities level, education level, and

years of employment. The results are provided separately for both pilot study (n = 60)

78

and full study (n = 360) to allow comparison of the two samples to each other. The

two separate study populations are very similar in gender and ethnicity. The majority of

respondents were male, white/Caucasian employees as shown in Tables 5.2 and 5.3.

As shown in Table 5.4, approximately 75% of survey respondents from both the

pilot study and full study had either lower level or no supervisory responsibilities.

Table 5.4 Level of Supervisory Duties, Full Study and Pilot Study

79

The engineering graduate students in the pilot study sample had a higher level of

advanced college degree education than the full study sample population of the

engineering services company as shown in Table 5.5. The education level differences are

logical outcomes from the nature of the full study sample population. A large percentage

of the full study engineering services company personnel classified themselves as

technicians in Table 5.6.

Table 5.6 Current Job by Category, Full Study and Pilot Study

80

A significant difference between the two sample populations was that the pilot

study engineering graduate students were younger, with fewer years of professional

employment and fewer years at their current job than the employees of the engineering

services company. The results are presented in Tables 5.7 and 5.8.

Table 5.7 Number of Years Employed, Full Study and Pilot Study

Table 5.8 Years Employed at Current Job, Full Study and Pilot Study

81

Gender in the full study sample population was determined as best as was

possible by examination of employee first name. Age and education for the full study

sample population were obtained from published statistics on the company website for

the same year the study was conducted. The demographic information about the

company that was available is presented Table 5.9 for comparison to the full study sample

results.

Table 5.9 Statistics of Engineering Services Company Full Study Population Compared

to Full Study Sample Results

A comparison of the full study demographic results for gender, education and age

to the demographic data of the engineering services company indicates the full study

sample data set is a reasonable equivalent representation of the company sample

population.

C.

82

The two studies conducted for this research produced sets of raw data in the form

of response scores for each measurement variable represented by the web survey

questions (scale items). Surveys with incomplete sets of response scores were discarded.

The raw scores were first reviewed visually using scatter plots and box plots to identify

unusual patterns and check for any obvious discrepancies in the raw data sets. Aside

from the presence of some outliers, the patterns in the raw data appeared acceptable with

varying amounts of dispersion and non-normality in the distributions. Comparison of the

box plots for each study immediately implied that differences exist between the pilot and

full study results. The pilot study results produced a consistent trend of lower median

response score values relative to the full study results.

Descriptive statistics were computed next for all measurement variables including

the mean, standard error, standard deviation, and two measures of non-normality,

skewness and kurtosis. A complete listing of descriptive statistics and plots for pilot and

full study results is presented in Appendix D. Comparison of means and standard

deviations for each measurement variable again indicates that differences exist between

the two sample populations. Skewness and kurtosis were also computed because they

provide an assessment of how much the assumption of normally distributed measurement

data has been violated. Two thirds of the seventy-one measurement variables exhibited

significant non-zero values for both kurtosis and negative skewness. The potential

impact of non-normally distributed measurement results must be reviewed during

subsequent factor analysis and structural equation modeling which are based on the

maximum likelihood method for estimating factor coefficients (Byrne 2001).

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The next step was to compute raw scores of the latent variables for each survey

respondent. The latent variables in this research are reflective measures, represented by

calculating a mean score for each of the seventeen measurement scales set of survey

questions. The individual survey respondent latent variable mean scores were also

aggregated into overall mean scores for each latent variable for both study samples. The

two sets of aggregate latent variable mean scores were analyzed using a 2 sample t-test to

evaluate statistical differences in mean scores between the pilot and full studies. The

results are presented in Table 5.10 for both pilot and full study, including standard error

of the mean scores, standard deviations, medians, skewness and kurtosis. Thirteen of the

seventeen latent variables produced t-statistic values with magnitudes larger than 2,

indicating those aggregate mean score results are from statistically different populations.

The aggregate mean scores show that both study sample populations responded

positively to all questions about their perceived level of work engagement, indicating a

majority of respondents feel they have a relatively high level of work engagement. The

full study results show overall higher levels of engagement than the pilot study results.

Questions about attitudes towards key job characteristics and job goal attributes also

produced consistently positive responses, well above the midpoint of each response scale.

The aggregate scores for occupational self-efficacy were also well above the mid-point of

the self-efficacy response scale. A key result of the goal orientation measures is that both

study populations appear to be strongly oriented toward approach goals while the scores

are significantly below the midpoint in the respondents orientation toward avoidance

goals.

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Table 5.10 Comparison of Aggregate Latent Variable Measurement Results Pilot and Full Study

D.

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extent to which the items within each of the seventeen measurement scales in the

combined survey instrument are related to each other. It is a necessary but not sufficient

criteria for determination of construct validity. Cronbach's alpha measures how well a set

of scale items measure a single one-dimensional latent variable. Cronbachs alpha is

considered a coefficient of reliability and provides an overall index of the repeatability or

average internal consistency of the scale as a whole. Since the measurement scales were

all validated through prior empirical studies, a Cronbachs alpha of 0.7 or greater was

considered a minimum acceptable level of reliability for this research study (Lance et al.

2006). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were used to compute inter-rater

reliability estimates to evaluate how well questions are organized into groups of items in

a measurement scale. The ICC value for a measurement scale describes how strongly

items in the same group resemble each other. ICC values greater than 0.3 infer the

measurement scale has acceptable reliability as a group measure (MacLennan 1993). The

results of the measurement scale reliability analysis are presented in Table 5.11, with the

results for the pilot study and full study each listed separately. The estimated values for

Cronbachs alpha ranged from 0.649 to 0.914. The estimated ICC values for each

measurement scale ranged from 0.293 to 0.714. The full study results exceeded the

minimum thresholds for acceptable measurement scale reliability except for the Dealing

with Others job characteristic measurement scale, which produced a Cronbachs alpha of

0.649. Dealing with others was therefore excluded from use in the job characteristics

research model.

Table 5.11 Measurement Scale Reliability Estimates

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E.

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between pairs of latent variables were statistically significant, produced the same algebraic

sign predicted by theory, and to assess the effect size of the linear relationships between pairs

of latent variables. Pearson r correlation coefficients were calculated. The results are

presented in two tables of correlation coefficients from the pilot study with a discussion of

their meaning to the overall research, followed by three tables of correlation coefficients from

the full study results. Correlations are the top value and its related P-value is the lower value.

The coefficients shown in Table 5.12 include the factors of work engagement and the seven

goal theory latent variables included in the pilot study. The coefficients shown in Table 5.13

include the factors of work engagement and the seven job characteristics latent variables.

P-values greater than 0.05 infer those correlation coefficient estimates were not statistically

significant. The mastery avoidance, performance approach, performance avoidance and

dealing with others latent variables did not have statistically significant correlation

coefficients with one or more other variables. Correlation coefficients in some cases were

also less than 0.3 which is considered too low to be of interest for an effect size. These pilot

study results were considered problematic because there was little to no correlation between

the two sets of predictor variables and the work engagement criterion variables. The pilot

study results imply that values and personality traits as represented by goal orientation have a

weak influence at best on an employees level of work motivation when other more proximal

factors are such as feedback are present in the work environment. More important, the pilot

study left out the two most important goal theory factors that influence the level of work

motivation in an employee: job goal specificity and job goal difficulty.

Table 5.12 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Goal Theory Pilot Study

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Table 5.13 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Job Characteristics Pilot Study

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The most important conclusion that emerged from analysis of the pilot study data

results was the need to incorporate measurement scales for the two goal setting attributes

of job goal difficulty and job goal specificity into this research before proceeding with

distribution of the survey in a full study. Appropriate measurement scales had already

been identified during the literature review, and the two goal attributes scales were added

into the web survey instrument grouped next to the measurement scale for occupational

self-efficacy. The full study correlation coefficients results shown in Table 5.14 include the

factors of work engagement and the nine goal theory latent variables. The correlation

coefficients shown in Table 5.15 include the factors of work engagement and the seven job

characteristics latent variables. The correlation coefficients shown in Table 5.16 include the

predictor factors for goal theory versus job characteristics predictor variables.

Table 5.14 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Goal Theory Full Study

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Table 5.15 Correlations Between Work Engagement and Job Characteristics Full Study

Table 5.16 Correlations Between Goal Theory and Job Characteristics Full Study

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The results of the correlation analysis were consistent with both underlying theory

and other researchers published results. Patterns that showed up in the pilot study results

can be seen again in the full study results. All the predictor variables and criterion

variables were positively correlated to each other, as predicted by their respective theory

with the exception of the four achievement goal orientation variables. The three work

engagement factors were very highly correlated in both study samples, as the literature on

work engagement predicts they should be. With respect to the three goal theory

antecedent latent variables of job goal difficulty, job goal specificity and occupational

self-efficacy, the two goal attributes have relatively low correlation to each other which

infers that they are distinct constructs, while occupational self-efficacy was more highly

correlated with specificity rather than difficulty. This result may mean that a specific job

goal increases a persons occupational self-efficacy to a greater extent because they have

a better understanding of the details of the goal. A difficult job goal may be expected to

increase a persons occupational self-efficacy to a lesser extent because the more difficult

the job goal is, the more uncertainty person is in their belief that they can achieve the job

goal. This result is consistent with self-efficacy and goal theory. Autonomy correlated

fairly high with several other job characteristic factors as did feedback from job itself. As

a result, the correlations between the five job characteristics variables did not exhibit as

clear and distinct a factor structure as predicted by job characteristics theory. The

correlation coefficient results between dealing with others and the other job characteristic

variables are evidence that the construct should not be considered a key job characteristic.

The two feedback variables are sufficiently distinct to justify them being treated as

separate constructs, and feedback from agents has a strong enough correlation to job goal

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specificity and dedication to warrant its inclusion in the goal theory structural equation

model. Two other job characteristics, skill variety and task identity also produced large

enough correlations with goal attributes to be considered potential goal moderator

variables, but they were not included in the goal theory structural equation model due to

model complexity considerations.

The correlation analysis yielded results for achievement goal orientation variables

that were substantially different than the job goal attributes or job characteristics. A clear

understanding of the goal orientation of the survey respondents in this study is

complicated due to the number of non-significant correlation terms which have to be

treated with caution. Goal orientation theory predicts the approach orientations should be

negatively correlated with avoidance orientations. It is not as clear how mastery and

performance orientations should be correlated. The results did not provide clear support

for the approach versus avoidance relationship, and the mastery versus performance

relationship is also not clear. It appears from the results of this study that goal orientation

is a complex distal personality trait that does not have nearly as strong a relationship to

work engagement that the proximal job goal attributes of job goal difficulty and job goal

specificity variables appear to exhibit in the full study results.

F.

Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA), also called common factor analysis, were

conducted to generate and then evaluate recovered latent factor structures within the

sample data sets of both pilot and full studies. The purpose of this analysis was to test for

factor purity within the sample data sets with respect to the theorized factor structures

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presented in the literature for the individual survey instruments and their measurement

scales. CFA assumes that there are latent factors that have a causal influence on the scale

item scores. The method analyzes the data set correlation matrix and assumes linear

relationships among scale item scores and extracts factors that are uncorrelated (OBrien

2007). The factor analytic technique employed in this research is based on the maximum

likelihood method of common factor extraction, which analyzes only the common variance

among the scale items. The common variance is that portion of total variance shared

among a set of items that can be explained by common factors (OBrien 2007). The

unexplained portion of variance in the data set is labeled unique variance and is comprised

of variance specific to an individual scale item combined with random measurement error

(OBrien 2007). The results of the CFA are a set of extracted factors with eigenvalues

greater than one. The latent factor structure implied in the sample data set can be checked

by comparing the number of factors extracted to the theorized number of factors, and

results evaluated to see how well the recovered factor loadings align to their respective

measurement scales. Another check is to look for cross-loading of individual scale items,

where they produce loading values greater than 0.4 on more than one extracted factor

(Ximnez 2006).

The procedure that was applied in this analysis was to first generate a factor

solution with any loadings less than 0.2 automatically suppressed. The next step was to

review the factor solution and manually suppress any cross-loading values less than 0.4

produced by a scale item on a recovered factor that appeared to not be loaded on its own

theoretical factor. The determination of which theoretical factor was being represented by a

given extracted factor was evident by the observed patterns of all loadings for each

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measurement scale in a factor solution. CFA solutions also sometimes produced a few

scale item loadings that were less than 0.4 on its own theorized factor. Those loadings were

kept in the solution presented here even though they indicate that particular scale item

made a relatively weak contribution to the common variance of its theorized factor and is

therefore a candidate for deletion from its respective measurement scale.

1.

The first step in the factor analysis of the pilot study was to simply load all the

raw scale item scores from the fourteen measurement scales in the web survey instrument

together into a factor analysis data set, and evaluate the resulting factor solution which is

shown in Figure 5.1. The fourteen extracted common factors recovered from the pilot

study data set with eigenvalues greater than 1 represent a cumulative 80.39 % of total

explained variance in the pilot sample data set. These fourteen recovered factors do not

completely align themselves with the theorized factor structure. Fourteen out of

seventeen work engagement scale items loaded together on Factor 1 which is interpreted

as a generalized one dimensional work engagement factor. Three work engagement scale

items from the Vigor scale loaded independently on their own factor along with one other

absorption scale item which generated a strong cross-loading with those three separate

vigor items. Another factor extracted with combined loadings was Factor 2 where the

self-efficacy scale items combined with mastery approach scale items. That result was

unexpected and cannot be readily explained. Other factors appeared to show up aligned

with the theoretical structure of the measurement scales, albeit with a significant number

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of scale items generating cross-loading values greater than 0.4. The small sample size of

n = 60 prevents an analyst from drawing of any strong conclusions based on these results.

Figure 5.1 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Web Survey Instrument Pilot Study

The next step in the factor analysis was to evaluate subsets of the pilot study

measurement scales based on their individual survey instruments selected from the

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literature. This included the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument, the Revised

Job Diagnostic Survey instrument, the Achievement Goal orientation survey instrument

and the occupational self-efficacy scale. The results of these four factor analyses are

presented in Figures 5.2 through 5.5. The work engagement survey instrument factor

analysis shows two factor solutions. The first solution shown in Figure 5.2 is for the full

17- item instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2002) and the second is for the 9-item short version

of the work engagement survey instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006

Figure 5.2 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Work Engagement Survey Instruments Pilot Study

Four common factors were recovered from the seventeen scale items, representing

a cumulative 69.8% of total explained variance. There are a significant number of crossloadings among the four factors recovered from the pilot study sample data set. The

vigor scale again splits up into two factors, producing a four factor work engagement

solution instead of the theorized three factor solution. The factor analysis results for the

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9-item short version work engagement survey instrument is also presented in Figure 5.2,

and it shows a single recovered factor that appears to represent a generalized one-dimensional

version of the work engagement construct. That single factor represents a cumulative

56.0% of total explained variance in the pilot sample data set.

The pilot study sample data set for six job characteristics theory measurement scales

was analyzed next. The results are presented in Figure 5.3. This factor analysis solution

extracted four common factors with eigenvalues greater than 1, representing a cumulative

74.1% of total explained variance. Scale items from three of the six measurement scales

loaded on Factor 1, and several scale items produced cross-loading values greater than

0.4. It is interesting to note that the two feedback measurement scales loaded separately

without any cross-loading between their common factors.

Figure 5.3 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Job Diagnostic Survey Instrument Pilot Study

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The next survey instrument to be analyzed with the pilot study sample data set

was Achievement Goal Orientation. The factor analysis solution is presented in

Figure 5.4, and the five extracted factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 represent a

cumulative 72.2% of total explained variance. Four of the factors appear to match their

respective measurement scales with cross-loading, while the Factor 5 appears to be a

spurious factor generated from the cross-loading by two mastery approach scale items.

Figure 5.4 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Orientation Survey Instrument Pilot Study

The final instrument evaluated using the pilot study sample data set was the

occupational self-efficacy scale. The results are presented in Figure 5.5 and show the

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one extracted factor with an eigenvalue greater than 1 representing a cumulative 60.5% of

total explained variance.

Figure 5.5 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Occupational Self-efficacy Scale Pilot Study

After completing the factor analyses of the pilot study, the results were reviewed

with caution due to the small sample, n = 60. Factor purity in the recovered common

factors did not match theory in most cases. A clear and unambiguous assessment of the

pilot study factor analysis, especially for work engagement was considered desirable

before proceeding with a full study. The author of the work engagement survey

instrument, Dr. Schaufeli, was contacted and presented with the factor analysis results.

His recommendation concerning the factor solution for work engagement was to proceed

with the full study and collect a much larger sample size (i.e., greater than n = 500),

which would enable later factor analyses to recover a factor structure that hopefully

showed better agreement with their respective theoretical latent variables.

A set of confirmatory factor analyses was conducted for the full study sample data

set following the same procedures and guidelines used to evaluate the pilot study sample

data set. The first step was to again load all the raw scale item scores from the now

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sixteen measurement scales in the full study web survey instrument together and evaluate

the resulting factor solution which is shown in Figure 5.6.

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Figure 5.6 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Web Survey Instrument Full Study

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The factor solution presented in Figure 5.6 shows fourteen extracted factors with

eigenvalues greater than 1, representing a cumulative 67.4% of total explained variance.

The 17 scale items for work engagement loaded on Factor 1. This loading structure

appears to represent a generalized one-dimensional work engagement factor. The other

factors which were also recovered from the full study sample data set appear to align

themselves with their respective measurement scale, except the skill variety and job goal

difficulty scale items all loaded on Factor 2. There were also two cross-loading values

greater than 0.4, one loading on Factor 1 and the other on Factor 2. The scale item job

goal specificity 3r which is one of the three reverse worded scale items included in the

web survey instrument failed to load even weakly on its theoretical factor and the scale

items only significant cross-loading value of 0.363 generated in the solution with the

feedback from job itself factor was not deleted to avoid leaving any row of the solution

blank. Three scale items generated weak loadings under 0.4 within their theoretical

factor group that were also left in the factor solution results presented in Figure 5.6.

The next step in the factor analysis was to evaluate subsets of the full study

measurement scales based on their individual survey instruments selected from the

literature. This included the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument, the Job

Diagnostic Survey instrument, the Achievement Goal orientation survey instrument and

the occupational self-efficacy scale which is combined with the two job goal attributes

measurement scales to form a logical grouping of goal theory antecedent latent variables.

The results of these four factor analyses are presented in Figures 5.7 through 5.10. The

work engagement survey instrument factor analysis shows two factor solutions. The

first solution is for the full 17- item instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2002) and the second is

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for the 9-item short version of the survey instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006). The results

are shown in Figure 5.7. Three common factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 were

recovered from the seventeen scale items, representing a cumulative 64.3% of total

explained variance. The 9-item short version of the work engagement survey instrument

produced a one factor solution with an eigenvalue greater than 1, and that common factor

represents a cumulative 60.6% of total explained variance. The three recovered factors in

the 17-item solution do not however align themselves well with the three theoretical

factors of work engagement. Ten of the seventeen scale items load on Factor 1, and three

vigor scale items, vigor 4, 5 and 6, produced their own common Factor 3, a pattern

similar to the results of the pilot study factor analysis. The solution also shows three

scale items generating cross-loading values above 0.4.

Figure 5.7 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Work Engagement Survey Instrument Full Study

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It appears from this analysis result that the 17-item version of the work engagement

survey instrument may indeed require a larger sample size before a stable three factor

structure properly aligned with theory emerges from a common factor analysis solution.

The full study sample data set for six related Job Diagnostic Survey and job

characteristics theory measurement scales was analyzed next. The results are presented

in Figure 5.8. This factor analysis solution extracted five common factors with

eigenvalues greater than 1, representing a cumulative 70.7% of total explained variance.

Scale items from the task identity and the feedback from job itself measurement scales

loaded together on Factor 1. The two feedback measurement scales loaded separately

without any cross-loading between their common factors. Scale item skill variety 1

loaded weakly on its factor, but the value of 0.352 was left in the solution.

Figure 5.8 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Job Diagnostic Survey Instrument Full Study

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The next survey instrument to be analyzed with the full study sample data set was

Achievement Goal Orientation. The factor analysis solution is presented in Figure 5.9,

and the four extracted factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 represent a cumulative

58.2% of total explained variance. The four extracted factors appear to match their

respective measurement scales as predicted by theory.

Figure 5.9 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Orientation Survey Instrument Full Study

The remaining three measurement scales in the full study web survey instrument

were three goal theory antecedent variables: job goal specificity, job goal difficulty and

occupational self-efficacy. They were grouped together and a confirmatory factor

analysis was conducted to determine their latent factor structure in the full study sample

data set. The resulting factor solution is presented in Figure 5.10. The three factors

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extracted with eigenvalues greater than 1 represent a cumulative 68.3% of total explained

variance. The three factor structure recovered from the full study sample data set

matches the theoretical factors. The scale item job goal specificity3r generated a weak

loading of 0.309, indicating it is not contributing significantly to its common factor.

Figure 5.10 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Theory Antecedent Variables Full Study

A final step in the common factor analysis of the full study sample data was to

evaluate the two sets of scale items which were selected for use in the goal theory

research model and job characteristics research model. The common factor results for the

thirty scale items selected for use in the goal theory model are shown in Figure 5.11.

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Figure 5.11 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Goal Theory Research Model Full Study

The six factors extracted with eigenvalues greater than 1 represent a cumulative

64.9% of total explained variance. The factor structure recovered from the full study

sample data set matches the theoretical factors with work engagement producing a single

strong common factor. The scale item job goal specificity3r generated a loading less than

0.2 on its own theoretical factor and no cross-loading greater than 0.4 on any other factor.

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The final common factor analysis was for the set of scale items selected for use in

the job characteristics research model. The factor solution is shown in Figure 5.12. The

six factors extracted with eigenvalues greater than 1 represent a cumulative 68.4% of

total explained variance. The factor structure recovered from the full study sample data

set matches the theoretical factors with work engagement again producing a single strong

common factor. The scale item skill variety 1 did not generate a significant loading on its

theoretical factor.

Figure 5.12 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Job Characteristics Research Model Full Study

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The confirmatory factor analysis results for the full study sample data set

indicates that the theoretical latent factors as represented by their measurement scales and

individual scale items were recovered in some but not all cases when evaluated as a

single group in the web survey. Better results were obtained for the groups based on their

test instruments from the literature. The two research model factor analyses generated

factor structures deemed acceptable for further analysis in structural equation models.

Some scale items appeared to be candidates for removal from their measurement scale

due to weak factor loadings. The full study sample size of n = 360 enabled a clearer set

of latent factors to be recovered from the full study sample. A larger sample size would

appear to improve chances for recovery of a factor structure that matches theory and

thereby mitigate the desire to revise measurement scales through elimination of problem

scale items. An additional factor analysis effort was proposed that would simply combine

the two sample data sets to produce a single larger sample size data set. This factor

analysis approach was not implemented. Subsequent review of the relevant literature on

this topic provided strong clarification that any common factor analysis that combines

two samples into one common factor analysis data set is actually invalid and should not

be performed. The following excerpt is reproduced from Comrey et al. (2000) to clarify

this issue of simple combination of multiple sample groups:

correlation matrices, because correlations represent standardized measures of

association and are thus expected to differ across groups (because groups may differ

in mean level and variance on a latent factor) even when factor pattern matrices (that

are based on analyses of covariances) are invariant (Comrey et al. 2000, pg. 293).

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data sets is therefore the use of structural equation modeling which is based on analysis

of covariance structures. The structural equation models developed in the final step of

this research utilized the multi-group method in the AMOS Version17 SEM software

when it was considered appropriate to do so. The multi-group analysis method evaluates

each sample group of data separately and produces a unique set of solution parameters for

each group. The single set of goodness-of-fit measures generated at the end of the SEM

analysis solution output file take into account the fits generated by individual group

sample data sets. Multi-group analysis has been employed in this research to first

develop models unconstrained between groups. In addition, multi-group analysis was

used to test for invariance of work engagement across two sample groups.

G.

Analysis of sample size adequacy was necessary to determine the effectiveness of this

research study in capturing the characteristics of the general theoretical population structure

from which the sample was obtained. To have sufficient confidence in the factor solutions

generated from the sample population, there is general agreement that the larger the sample size

the more likely the sample factor solution will adequately represent the theoretical population

because measurement error will be reduced and the factor structure will be more stable. A

detailed sample size analysis was only possible after the confirmatory factor analysis solutions

provided results for measurement scale item communalities. Details of these communalities

results are presented in Appendix E.

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literature concerning minimum required sample size, usually focused on the ratio of number of

survey responses to number of variables (scale items, or survey questions). Conflicting

recommendations from a minimum ratio of 5-to-1 to as much as 20-to-1 responses per variable

have been proposed. A more accurate assessment of a minimum sample size is related to the

number of variables, number of factors, number of variables per factor (over-determination of

the factor), and the size of the factor solutions communalities (MacCallum et al. 1999).

Estimation of the communality of a variable is important in factor analysis because the

communality of a variable is the portion of the variance of that variable that is accounted for by

the common factors (MacCallum et al. 1999).

A theoretical treatment of the sample size issue in recovery of factor structures from a

sample data set is presented in the psychometric testing literature which defines a measure, K,

the coefficient of congruence that attempts to quantify the level of agreement between a sample

covariance matrix and a true population covariance matrix (Tucker et al. 1969). Tuckers

recommendations state that a value of K = 1 indicates perfect agreement, values of K = 0.98 to

1 are considered excellent, and values of K = 0.92 to 0.98 are good. Values less than 0.92 are

considered borderline. The results of Monte Carlo simulations used to determine adequate

minimum sample sizes for a given K value have been published (Mundfrom et al. 2005).

Details of the sample size requirements versus range of communalities and the ratio p/f , the

number of scale items p to the number of theoretical factors f, are presented in Appendix E.

When comparison is made between the published recommendations and the full study

web survey instrument which has a p/f ratio = 4.2, the full study sample size of n = 360 appears

to meet the recommended minimum sample size requirements for a K value of 0.92. This

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implies there should be good agreement between the sample recovered factor structure and

the theoretical factor structure. The goal theory research model with p = 30 variables and f = 6

theoretical factors can be more directly compared with the published recommendations with its

p/f ratio = 5 and number of extracted factors F = 6. The full study sample data set, n = 360,

appears to meet all recommendations for minimum sample size at a value of K = 0.98, which

indicates there should be excellent agreement between the goal theory research models

recovered factor structure and theoretical factor structure. The full study sample size of n = 360

appears to meet the recommended minimum sample size requirements.

H.

The structural equation modeling process is the primary analysis method used to

evaluate the hypothesis that job characteristics are meaningful predictors of an employees

work engagement level. There is one issue related to job characteristics theory which cannot

be examined by a structural equation model, the motivating potential score (MPS) of a job

presented in the job characteristics theory of Hackman and Oldham (1975). They had

proposed that managers use the Job Diagnostic Survey results to compute a motivating

potential score, or MPS, for the job or work environment being evaluated. Their formula for

calculating an MPS was presented earlier and was designed so that if any one factor was

found to be low, the resulting MPS would also be low. Further research studies presented

evidence that using a simple summation of survey scores from the Revised Job Diagnostic

Survey was sufficient and less confusing (Buys et al. 2007). Regression analyses were

performed to evaluate linear relationships between a simple summation score of the 17-item

work engagement results for each survey respondent versus their MPS score and their

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summation score of the five job characteristics used in the MPS. Details of the regression

analyses are presented in Appendix F. A summary of the results is presented in Table 5.17,

and a representative scatter plot for the full study sample population is shown in Figure 5.13.

Table 5.17 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement vs. Job Characteristics

The results of the regression analyses for the pilot study sample data set appeared

promising for consideration of either an MPS score or a summation score of job

characteristics to be useful to a manager as simple predictor variables for work engagement.

The adjusted R-sq(adj) values generated in the pilot study analyses explain nearly 50 percent

of the variance in the pilot study data set.

Figure 5.13 Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating Potential Score Full Study

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The results of the full study regression analyses present a weak case for either the

MPS score or the summation score of job characteristics as a predictor measure of the level

of work engagement in an organization. Figure 5.13 illustrates a potential problem with the

use of an MPS score to predict work engagement. Several data points with high standardized

residuals imply there are employees with very high levels of work engagement who view

their jobs very unfavorably. Other outliers indicate there are employees who view their jobs

favorably but have low engagement scores relative to other employees. A simple metric like

the MPS has limitations and may not capture all factors influencing work engagement.

The final analysis step in this research was to develop structural equation models

from the full study survey results for the purpose of evaluating the two research models

that were proposed in the research statement. The structural equation models are used to

answer the research questions about work engagement and its theorized relationship to

work motivation. Details of the SEM analysis are presented in Appendix G.

SEM is a statistical analysis method that combines regression analysis, path

analysis and factor analysis. SEM is also described as the analysis of covariance

structures because the covariance structure in the sample data set is compared with a

theoretical covariance structure defined by the structural equation model, testing a

proposed set of causal paths between measurement variables and their theoretical latent

variable and between theoretical latent variables in the model.

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Among its strengths is the ability of SEM to model constructs as latent variables.

Error terms are also included in the model for each measurement variable (the individual

survey instrument questions are the measurement variables) in addition to error terms for

each latent variable. This allows the model to explicitly capture the unreliability of

measurements in the model, which in theory allows the structural relations between latent

variables to be accurately estimated.

Structural equation modeling was performed using AMOS 17.0 software

(Arbuckle 1995). In SEM, the qualitative causal assumptions of a proposed theoretical

model are represented as either correlation paths, or as regression paths. The cause and

effect assumptions of these path lines are tested for their significance and validity (Byrne

2001) (Arbuckle 1995). Structural equation models do assume that causation implies

correlation. The SEM method assumes that the structure of associations observed in an

empirical data set exist because there is some underlying causal process that is imposing

the observed structure between the latent or underlying variables which have been

measured by the researcher. The SEM process in this research followed the sequence of

analysis activity shown in Figure 5.14.

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A checklist procedure used to evaluate the SEM solution output files, developed

directly from the evaluation methods recommended by Byrne (2001), is presented in

Appendix G. The modeling process started with development of measurement models

for each theoretical latent variable representing the measurement scales contained in the

survey instrument. The measurement models were then combined into first and second

order structural models to specify the causal relationships between the latent variables of

individual survey instruments. The third step was to develop structural models of the

goal theory research model. The fourth step was to develop structural models of the job

characteristics research model. Several alternate configurations of each research model

were constructed and evaluated. A final step was multi-group analysis of the work

engagement 9-item instrument to test for invariance between pilot and full study samples.

Structural equation models are typically evaluated by their goodness of fit

measures. The goodness-of -fit measures generated in the solution results of an SEM

analysis are used to evaluate differences between the sample data set covariance matrix

and the structural equation models theoretical covariance matrix structures (Byrne 2001)

(Arbuckle 1995).

Any one goodness-of-fit statistic by itself is not considered sufficient for

determination of model adequacy. The reporting of too many fit statistics is also not

recommended. A minimum recommended set of model fit statistics has been presented

for the structural equation models, the minimized Chi-squared statistic for a converged

solution CMIN, model degrees of freedom DF, the comparative fit index CFI, and the

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indicative of poor model fit. A ratio of CMIN/DF that is approximately 2 or less is

considered a good model fit (Byrne 2001). In this study the criteria for an adequate

model fit as measured by CMIN/DF will be less than 3 and for a good model fit 2 or less.

Models with CMIN/DF greater than 3 will be rejected because of poor fit between sample

data set and theoretical model covariance matrices. However CMIN is sensitive to

sample size, and the larger the sample size the larger the estimated chi-square statistic.

This becomes an issue because almost all structural models with medium to large sample

sizes will produce large chi-squared estimates. CMIN should therefore not be the sole

criteria for assessment of model fit. For this reason several additional goodness-of-fit

indices are used to assess model fit. A second recommended statistic is the Comparative

Fit Index, CFI (Byrne 2001). The CFI, which is least affected by sample size, ranges

from 0 to 1. A cutoff value of 0.90 or greater was originally recommended as the cutoff

value for adequate model fit. More recent recommendations suggest that a cutoff value

closer to 0.95 or greater indicates a well-fitting model (Hu and Bentler 1999). In this

study the criteria for an adequate model fit as measured by CFI will be a value of 0.90 or

greater and for a good model fit 0.95 or greater. Models that produce a CFI value less

than 0.90 will be rejected because of poor fit between sample data set and theoretical

model covariance matrices. Another recommended statistic is RMSEA, the Root Mean

Square Error of Approximation, also relatively unaffected by sample size, which ranges

in value from 0 to 1(Byrne 2001). An RMSEA value of 0.05 or less indicates a good fit,

and values of RMSEA from 0.05 to 0.08 indicate an adequate fitting model (Hu and

Bentler 1999). RMSEA is a fit measure that includes a 90% confidence interval in its

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calculation. The low 90% value should be lower than 0.05 and the high 90% value

should be less than 0.08. In this study the criteria for an adequate model fit as measured

by RMSEA will be values less than 0.08 and for a good model fit 0.05 or less. Models

that produce an RMSEA value greater than 0.08 will be rejected because of poor fit

between sample data set and theoretical model covariance matrices. Strict interpretations

of some cutoff criteria may however cause a researcher to introduce excessive type I error

in the assessment of structural equation models, rejecting models when they are actually

acceptable representations of the theory being tested (Marsh et al. 2004). In this study a

model is accepted as correctly specified and considered to have adequate fit between

sample data set and theoretical model covariance matrices if it meets the combined

criteria of CMIN/DF less than 3, CFI greater than 0.90 and RMSEA less than 0.08.

Evaluation of goodness-of-fit results for structural equation models is the primary

method used in this study to evaluate a models validity and also rank it with respect to its

alternative structural equation models. The goodness-of-fit measures found in published

studies for the survey instruments selected from the literature have been incorporated into

the SEM results tables of each survey instrument structural model, allowing direct

comparisons to be made between the published structural models and their equivalent

models in this study. The next three sections present the SEM models and their results

which provide the most direct evidence for answers to the three research hypotheses

about the validity of work engagement and the evaluation of two motivation theories as

predictors of work engagement. A research null hypothesis is rejected and its alternate

hypothesis accepted if sufficient evidence is presented in the form of adequate goodnessof fit measures results for its respective structural equation model.

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Structural equation models of work engagement were developed first to evaluate

the validity of work engagement as measured by the UWES survey instrument.

Three structural models were developed and tested for the full 17-item version of the

survey instrument. The SEM analysis proceeded with evaluation of a one factor first

order model, moving next to evaluation of a three factor first order model, followed by

the evaluation of a three factor second order structural equation model. The 17-item

work engagement structural model that produced the best goodness-of-fit measures was

the three factor second order model presented in Figure 5.15.

Figure 5.15 Second Order Three-Factor 17-item UWES Model of Work Engagement

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Table 5.18 SEM Analysis Results for Full Version 17-item UWES Work Engagement

Survey Instrument Compared to Published SEM Results

The final 17-item UWES SEM model goodness-of-fit measures are listed in

Figure 5.15 and the results are compared to the first published SEM results for work

engagement in Table 5.18 (Schaufeli et al 2002). While the results compare somewhat

favorably with previously published data, they do not meet the goodness-of-fit cutoff

criteria chosen for this research study. CMIN/DF was greater than 3 and CFI was less

than 0.90. The RMSEA value of 0.07 is near the upper limit of an adequate fitting

structural model. The results of the full 17-item structural equation model did not

provide strong enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis that the 17-item UWES

survey instrument does not validly measure work engagement in the sample population.

The next step was development of structural equation models for the 9-item version

of the UWES work engagement survey instrument, again testing three alternative

structural models. The model shown in Figure 5.16, representing a second order

three factor structural equation model, produced the best goodness-of-fit indexes for the

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9-item short version UWES work engagement survey instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006).

The 9-item UWES structural models were all superior in goodness-of-fit results to their

respective full 17-item versions of the UWES work engagement survey instrument.

Figure 5.16 Second Order Three-Factor 9-item UWES Model of Work Engagement

The goodness-of-fit results for the three 9-item short version UWES structural

models are shown in Table 5.19 and compared to published results from other studies in

the literature. The comparative fit index for the 9-item instrument, CFI = 0.96, appears to

support validity of the three-factor model of work engagement with a better fit to the

sample data than the 9-item one-factor model of work engagement, CFI = 0.93. The

three factor model also generated lower RMSEA and minimized chi-square statistic

values than the one factor model, all indications that the three factor model of work

engagement is a better theoretical representation of the construct than the one factor

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model of work engagement. The combined goodness-of-fit results for the 9-item UWES

structural equation models provide strong enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis

that the UWES survey instrument does not validly measure work engagement in the

sample population. These results compare favorably to published results of the original

study for the 9-item UWES survey instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006). There are

similarities in results between this research study conducted in the United States and the

published studies from Europe and Japan, for both one factor and three factor models.

Table 5.19 SEM Analysis Results for Short Version 9-item UWES Work Engagement

Survey Instrument Compared to Published SEM Results

Up to this point in the SEM process, multi-group analysis results have been reported

for an unconstrained model only. An unconstrained multi-group analysis allows all model

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parameters including path regression weights, measurement error terms, latent variable residual

terms and variances to vary between groups. The next step was to conduct a multi-group

analysis with a series of nested models. The nested models progressively test for invariance of

subsets of model parameters across groups. Five models were developed, starting with the

unconstrained model, and each nested model progressively assumed more constraints between

groups, testing for a greater level of invariance between groups. Changes in chi-squared

statistics between each nested model are used to determine a P-value to test the hypothesis of

invariance between groups for each subset of estimated model parameters. The results of these

tests of invariance between groups are presented in Table 5.20.

The results show that invariance has been first demonstrated between the pilot and

full study groups for the measurement weights which means the regression path weights

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between each measurement variable and its respective latent 1st order variable, Vigor,

Dedication, and Absorption. Next invariance between groups has been demonstrated for

structural weights which are the regression path weights between each 1st order latent

variable and the 2nd variable, Work Engagement. Thirdly, the structural residuals for each

first order latent variable have then been demonstrated to be invariant between groups.

Finally, invariance between measurement residuals has not been demonstrated. This

means that the measurement error terms for each scale item varied across the two groups.

The results obtained from the various structural equation modeling analyses of

work engagement, combined with prior common factor analyses of test instruments and

correlation analyses of latent variables, provided sufficient evidence to support the

decision to proceed with development of two structural equation research models

utilizing a reduced set of scale items from the original sample data set of

seventy-one scale items. A summary of the scale items incorporated into each research

model is presented in Table 5.21. The goal theory structural equation research model was

developed and evaluated first, followed by development and evaluation of the job

characteristics structural equation research model. Multiple versions of each research

model were evaluated in order to better understand the validity of different combinations

and directions of the causal path relationships included in each model.

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Table 5.21 Scale Items Used in the Two Structural Equation Research Models

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The next analysis step was evaluation of the goal theory research model. The goal

theory SEM process started with a structural model of three goal theory antecedent

variables: job goal difficulty, job goal specificity, and occupational self-efficacy. The two

feedback latent variables from job characteristics theory were added to represent

feedback goal moderator variables. These five constructs represented the predictor

variables in the goal theory research model. The three factors of work engagement were

added to the structural model as criterion variables, with path arrows pointing from goal

theory predictor variables to work engagement criterion variables. The 9-item short

version of the UWES survey instrument represented work engagement in the goal theory

research model because its confirmatory factor SEM solution showed a significantly

better fit over the full 17-item UWES model of work engagement. The final

twenty-eight scale item structural equation goal theory research model shown in

Figure 5.17 includes specification of work engagement as a three factor second order

construct. The goodness-of-fit results for the model including CMIN/DF, CFI and

RMSEA presented in Table 5.22 indicate there is adequate fit between the structural

model and the sample data set. These SEM results provide strong enough evidence to

reject the null research hypothesis and accept the alternate research hypothesis that

antecedent variables from the goal theory of work motivation validly predict work

engagement in the sample population.

Table 5.22 SEM Analysis Results for Final Goal Theory Research Model

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Standardized regression weights from the final goal theory research model are

shown in Table 5.23 for regression paths between latent variables in the SEM model

presented in Figure 5.17. Estimates for three of the thirteen standardized regression

coefficients were below 0.30, but were left in the model because goal theory assumes

those paths should be theoretically significant, and their presence did improve model fit

slightly. The strongest path loadings were between the variable feedback from the job

itself to the variables of job goal difficulty and job goal specificity. Job goal difficulty

produced a stronger path loading than job goal specificity to work engagement.

Occupational self-efficacy produced a weak path loading to work engagement and

moderate sized path loadings to both goal attributes. The goal theory research model

results provide evidence that the three dimensions of work engagement, Vigor,

Dedication and Absorption may provide engineering managers with a practical way to

measure the long term effects within individual employees of the three goal theory

mediator variables of direction, effort and persistence.

Table 5.23 Standardized Regression Path Coefficients for Goal Theory Research Model

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The development of the structural equation job characteristics research model

started with the five core job characteristics constructs in the Revised Job Diagnostic

Survey including autonomy, feedback from job itself, skill variety, task significance and

task identity, plus the related job characteristic feedback from agents was also added to

the model. The 9-item short version of work engagement was added to the model. This

first job characteristics structural equation model is presented in Figure 5.18.

Figure 5.18 First Six Factor Job Characteristics Structural Equation Model

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The latent variable dealing with others was excluded due to its non-significant

correlation to work engagement variables. The six job characteristics constructs

represented the predictor variables with path arrows pointing to the second order work

engagement criterion variable, explicitly modeling the hypothesized cause and effect

relationships underlying this proposed theory of motivation. The SEM results for this

first job characteristics research model were very unsatisfactory. The goodness-of-fit

results for this first job characteristics research model are also shown in Figure 5.18. The

value of the CMIN/DF measure is above the cutoff criteria of 3 and the value of the CFI

measure is significantly lower than the cutoff criteria of 0.90. These results were

unsatisfactory and a clear indication of model misspecification. A review of the models

solution set using the SEM checklist described in Appendix G identified several

problems. The regression weights for path lines between the job characteristics predictor

variables and the work engagement criterion variable were statistically non-significant

with all p-values > 0.05, and their respective standard error estimates were also very high.

The matrix of standardized residual covariance terms contained numerous high values

exceeding 2.58, an indication of covariance problems. Feedback from agents scale items

generated the highest values with other latent variable scale items in the solution set

standardized residuals covariance matrix, indicating it should be eliminated from the

model. The next series of models were therefore reduced to the five core job

characteristics of the Revised Job Diagnostic Survey instrument, eliminating feedback

from agents from further use in the job characteristics research models.

The resulting structural models were now defined by a total of eight measurement

scales representing five job characteristics predictor variables and three work engagement

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criterion variables, for a combined total of twenty-four scale items in the structural

equation job characteristics research models. In order to examine the relationships

between the various job characteristics and work engagement latent variables, a

2 x 3 matrix of structural models was developed. Three structural equation models were

developed that modeled job characteristics as first order predictor variables directly

connected by causal path lines, first to a single 9-item criterion factor for work

engagement, followed by a second model that included the three factors of work

engagement modeled separately as first order criterion variables. In the third model work

engagement was modeled as a second order construct with its three dimensions as

first order variables. A second set of three models were then developed that modeled

meaningfulness as a second order predictor construct for the three job characteristics

variables skill variety , task identity and task significance. This model follows the

nomological network originally presented in job characteristics theory (Hackman and

Oldham 1975). Autonomy and feedback from the job itself were left as first order

predictor variables. The structural equation model shown in Figure 5.19 shows how the

second order variable meaningfulness was incorporated into the second set of job

characteristics research models. This additional complexity actually produced better

fitting solutions than the first order job characteristics factor structural equation models.

The goodness-of-fit measures for this final job characteristics research model are also

included in Figure 5.19. The results of all SEM analyses were still not favorable and did

not provide support for the predictive validity of the job characteristics research model as

specified. A recurring pattern of poor goodness-of-fit results and numerous modeling

misspecification errors emerged from the SEM analysis with only slight variations in the

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numerical results for each of the job characteristics structural models that were

developed. The null research hypothesis that the job characteristics research model does

not validly predict work engagement in the sample population could not be rejected.

Three Factor Second Order Work Engagement Model

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The goodness-of fit indexes for all six models are summarized in Table 5.24. The

conclusion reached was that misspecification issues in the job characteristics research

structural models were severe. Potential model improvements suggested by modification

indices generated by each SEM solution did not produce better fitting structural job

characteristics structural models. Rearrangement of regression paths also did not

improve model fit sufficiently to meet this studys pre-determined cutoff criteria for

acceptable fit between structural equation models and the sample data set. The

conclusion reached is that the theorized first order causal paths drawn directly between

job characteristics latent variables and work engagement are not valid as specified. The

implication is that there may be other unspecified factors in the work environment that

act as mediators between the job characteristics predictor factors and work engagement.

Table 5.24 SEM Analysis Results for Six Job Characteristics Research Models

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CHAPTER VI

A.

Principal Conclusion

This research study has evaluated the work engagement construct from a new

viewpoint that had not been previously published in the literature by explicitly

considering the utility of the construct as a measure of work motivation. The results of

this study help to advance the understanding of work engagement as a measure of

psychological well-being by proposing goal theory as a completely new viewpoint for

describing the antecedents to work engagement. This study has provided empirical

evidence that the construct of work engagement is useful as a valid criterion

measurement indicator of an individuals work motivation. The results of this study can

help organizations expand both their understanding of healthy workplace practices, and

show how appropriate application of goal theory principles can enhance employee wellbeing through increased levels of work motivation. Work engagement can be used by an

organization as a measure of employee well-being from work motivation. Demonstration

of invariance between the two sample groups in this research adds further validity to the

comparative use of work engagement across different organizations. The three research

questions that prompted this study are answered in the sections that follow.

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The confirmatory factor analysis results using structural equation modeling

support the conclusion that work engagement is best defined by the three factor structure

of vigor, dedication and absorption, as measured by the 9-item short version of the

Utrecht Work Engagement Survey (UWES) instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006). The

results for the full seventeen item measurement scale the UWES consistently produced a

mixed set of factor loadings between the 17 scale items and the structural equation model

for the 17-item version of work engagement did not meet several goodness-of-fit cutoff

criteria, even though the results of this analysis compared favorably to results published

in the literature. A larger sample size may enable a better understanding of the factor

structure of the 17-item work engagement survey instrument. The short version of the

survey instrument dispenses with items four, five and six, providing greater clarity to the

definition of the vigor construct. The same approach is followed by the reduction in

number of scale items for both the dedication and absorption scales. This more compact

definition of the three factor concept of work engagement was found to produce a good

fit with work motivation in the structural equation goal theory research model developed

and evaluated in this study.

There have been other research studies that have published results which also did

not completely agree with the theoretical factor structure of the 17-item UWES. The

initial confirmatory factor analysis in this research study did produce a factor structure

that contained a significant amount of cross loading of scale items between factors when

using the data from the full seventeen item survey instrument. A simple explanation

could be that the high correlation which exists between the three work engagement

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the meaning of each individual question item. When responses to highly correlated

questions are combined with a small sample population, work context factors may exert

an influence on answers that show up as higher than desired levels of unexplained

variance. With small sample size data sets, a factor analysis solution may produce a

sample-specific recovered factor structure with scale items that exhibit a wide range of

communalities (0.2 to 0.8), and this small sample factor structure may not match theory

or the empirical factor structures recovered from much larger sample size data sets.

These issues may be mitigated by use of more compact measurement scales that have

questions with clearly distinct and focused meanings consistent with their assigned

theoretical factor. That appears to be one of the reasons why the 9-item shortened version

of the UWES was developed by Schaufeli (2006). Unfortunately, the more compact short

version survey instrument, with less scale items per factor, increases the probability that a

single-factor solution may be recovered for work engagements set of three still highly

correlated factors. A single strong common factor should still be a useful measure of

work engagement to an engineering manager.

A research question that was to be answered by measurement of work motivation

variables and work engagement variables was do the results of the study provide

evidence for convergent validity between the three aspects of work motivation and the

three dimensions of work engagement? The acceptable goodness-of-fit index results

presented in Table 5.22 for the final structural equation goal theory research model shown

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question was can work engagement provide managers with a useful criterion for

measuring the motivational aspect of employee work-related behavior toward

achievement of organizational goals? The standardized regression path weights shown

in Figure 5.17 and Table 5.23 for the causal paths in the final structural equation goal

theory research model provide a positive indication of the relative strength and practical

significance of each path. The antecedent latent variables and causal paths connecting

those variables in the structural equation model are analogous to the causal paths between

constructs in the established goal theory model of work motivation as proposed by Locke

and Latham (2002). The three factors of work engagement are substituted in the goal

theory model as analogues to the goal theory mediator variables of direction, effort and

persistence. The results of the structural equation analysis support the model as correctly

specified. The results of this study provided sufficient evidence to reject the null research

hypothesis and accept the alternate research hypothesis that the antecedent variables from

the goal theory of work motivation do validly predict the level of work engagement in an

engineering technical services organization. These conclusions are however based on a

single study and a single method. Additional supporting evidence is needed using multimethod multi-trait methods in follow-on studies to substantiate the premise that these first

results are not an artifact of a single study, a single method or a single version of latent

variables. The results do show that this research path is promising enough to warrant an

additional research study.

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Evaluation of the results obtained from the structural equation job characteristics

research models were not as conclusive as the results of the goal theory research model.

Why did the various structural equation models not support casual path relationships with

work engagement? The answer may be two-fold. First, since job characteristics theory

does not define its internal motivation construct with the same attributes as the work

motivation construct, work engagement may not be an entirely appropriate measure of

an individuals internal motivation. Second, job characteristics are identified in goal

theory as moderator variables, not as mediator variables. The distinction may be

important to understanding the structural equation model results. Mediator variable are

constructs created in order to explain the casual relationships between two psychological

constructs. Moderator variables act as attenuators of that causal relationship. A

moderator variable, i.e., a job characteristic, may affect the direction or strength of a

causal relationship, but it may not by itself be able to adequately explain or account for

the existence of that causal relationship. An alternative explanation might be that the job

characteristics factors are simply antecedents to the unspecified mediator variables. The

one model that did include meaningfulness as a second order mediator variable produced

the best goodness-of-fit measures. The interpretation of job characteristics factors solely

as moderators of work motivation may help to explain why the job characteristics factors

did not generate statistically significant causal path regression weights in the job

characteristics research models. The two job characteristic variables that were also

included in the goal theory model, feedback from job itself and feedback from agents,

were placed in the model as moderator variables that had a direct regression path only to

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the three antecedent variables of work motivation. Their effect on the work engagement

criterion variables was indirect. Treating job characteristics as mediator variables

themselves in a structural equation model may be a misspecification that the full study

sample data set could not support as a valid explanation of how an individuals level of

work engagement is best predicted. This is only one of many other possible explanations

why the job characteristics research models were determined by analysis to have

inadequate fit. There may have been too much error in the measurements for the

structural equation modeling process to produce satisfactory results. The confirmatory

factor analyses did not always recover a theoretical factor structure. The present study

should not be construed as a strong rejection of characteristics theory. Further research

would be required to confirm or reject the job characteristics structural model.

An aim of this organizational behavior research study was to contribute to

development of a more coherent understanding of which workplace practices under the

control of management are best harnessed to influence employee performance in a way

that enhances employee well-being and achieves organizational goals. Organizational

goals are achieved through the motivated actions of its employees. Many managers

attempt to influence employee performance in a positive way, but without accurate

insight into what factors actually directly motivate employees to act, the manager can

unwittingly be meddling with unrelated factors, which although they appear to be

correlated to performance, have no direct causal influence on it. Management which is

focused solely on improving job satisfaction may possibly expend much effort and

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performance. Managers that embrace goal theory and understand how it can be used to

create a high performance organization will have gone beyond correlation and used

causation to effect positive improvements in organizational performance. That is why

understanding the causal forces affecting performance within the organization is so

important to a manager, even though the task may be daunting. Coupled with the

deployment of goal theory in the management processes of an organization, a metric that

can provide a valid and accurate assessment of the level of an employees work

motivation is important. Work engagement may very well be that motivation metric, if

the results of this research study can be replicated and further validated in future studies.

B.

Recommendations

The results of this research study, while promising, can at best be considered

sufficient rationale for continued research into goal theory mechanisms which influence

work motivation, work engagement and its relationship to work motivation, and

employee well-being. There is a need to replicate the results in another sample

population. The combined survey instrument used in this research study could be

reworked and streamlined into a more integrated and coherent survey instrument. There

is a need to revise the survey instrument to be more integrated and reduce its length, and

in the revision process attempt to eliminate some of the redundancy and overlap between

questions.

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The results of this research study appear to be consistent with the extensive body

of knowledge for goal theory. Goal setting best practices within the organization should

be given priority attention by all levels of management. A formal goal setting process can

be an effective component of any employee performance review process, and an integral

component of employee growth and development initiatives. Practical opportunities to

apply goal setting theory applied within the workplace can be found from the highest to

the lowest levels of the organization, including executive management strategic planning

activities, management by objectives programs, balanced scorecard initiatives, to lean six

sigma projects undertaken by green belt certified employees working at the front lines of

organizational processes. The measurement of work, motivation, whether at the

executive level or the assembly line level, makes goal theory a prime candidate for

evaluating the merits of work engagement as a useful indicator of employee well-being.

Latham (2007) states that employee development programs can be implemented

which increase the level of employee self-efficacy. People with high self-efficacy set

higher goals, which are associated with higher performance. They are also better

equipped to respond to negative feedback by putting out more effort in a positive manner.

Ways to raise the level of employee self-efficacy include ensuring adequate training to

increase mastery and success experiences, coupled with persuasive communications that

express confidence employees can attain goals. Most important, leadership is needed at

all levels in an organization to inspire and cognitively stimulate employee behavior to act

in a manner congruent with organizational goals and business strategies (Latham 2007).

2. Areas for Further Study

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discriminant analysis between work engagement and other motivation constructs could

incorporate multi-trait methods to evaluate construct validity. Another area for further

study could be discriminant analysis between work engagement and other well-being

constructs. The continued use of the full version work engagement survey instrument is

recommended to build a larger database of survey records to further test the full survey

instruments factor structure and instrument validity in other study populations

Another area for further research is to develop a compact goal theory web survey

instrument and continue testing goal theory variables as predictors of work engagement

in order to replicate results of this research. Adding the measurement of goal task

strategies to a follow-on study would incorporate the fourth mediating mechanism of

Locke and Lathams goal theory of work motivation.

Job characteristics should not be rejected outright as a predictor of work

engagement. Re-examination of the job characteristics research model assumptions is

necessary, considering other latent variables. Development of a revised and more

compact job characteristics web survey instrument is a potential follow on task, to

provide clarification of the mixed results produced in this research.

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APPENDICES

Appendix A

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144

145

Appendix B

INDIVIDUAL SURVEY INSTRUMENTS

The 17 item Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), a work and well-being

self-report questionnaire measures three dimensions of well-being that a worker feels

while at work (Schaufeli et al. 2002). More recently, a 9-item short version of the survey

has been validated by the developers of the UWES. The UWES 17-item scale is shown

in Figure B.1. Questions marked with an SV comprise the shortened version of the

UWES (Schaufeli et al. 2006).

Figure B.1 UWES Work Engagement Survey Instrument (Schaufeli et al. 2006)

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The measurement scales for goal specificity and goal difficulty were used to

capture proximal assigned work goal attributes. Goal attributes are important antecedents

of work motivation. These variables were operationalized in two scales shown in

Figure B.2. The scales were developed and validated in a public sector organization

setting (Wright 2004). Two different Likert-type response scales were used by Wright, a

1 - 6 agreement scale, and a 0 - 4 frequency scale. In order to properly interpret the

results from these two measurement scales, the raw response scores have to be

standardized to values between 0 and 1 to account for the mixed use of two different

Likert response scale formats within each latent variable measurement scale.

Figure B.2 Job Goal Attributes Measurement Scales (Wright, Bradley E. 2004)

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Occupational Self-Efficacy

Birgit Schyns and Gernot von Collani (2002) developed a survey instrument that

is intended to be a reliable one-dimensional measure of the psychological construct of

occupational self-efficacy. Occupational self-efficacy is considered to be a stable longterm measure of an individuals level of work-related self-efficacy (Schyns et al. 2002).

The developers of the occupational self-efficacy construct have published the results of

three studies that assessed the reliability and validity of the instrument as a self-efficacy

construct for organizational behavior research (Schyns and Collani 2002). The results of

the three studies validated the survey instrument and indicated it was sufficiently reliable

to be used in further research studies that seek to evaluate self-efficacy in its generalized

work-related form. A six point Likert type response scale was used for all six positively

scored scale items. The scale has been validated in five countries (Rigotti et al. 2008).

The six item version of the measurement scale used in this research is shown in

Figure B.3.

Achievement Goal Orientation in a Work Domain

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The 2x2 framework for achievement goal orientation in a work domain survey

instrument measured how individuals approach and react to achievement goals (Baranik

et al. 2007). The achievement goal orientation variables were used to measure

differences in dispositional trait-like characteristics of individuals that are theorized to be

predictors of an employees goal choice. A seven point Likert type scale was used in the

instrument. The goal orientation measurement scales are shown in Figure B.4.

The Job Diagnostic Survey

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motivation research literature, the Job Diagnostic Survey developed by Hackman and

Oldham (1975). The revised job diagnostic survey was developed ten years later in

response to factor purity problems identified with reverse score scale items (Idaszak and

Drasgow 1987). The reverse score items were reworded so that all scale items are

positively scored. The revised job diagnostic survey continues to be utilized, with the

most recent study found in the literature confirming its factor validity (Buys et al. 2007).

The revised version of the Job Diagnostic Survey was selected for incorporation into this

research study. As shown in Figure B.5, there are five factors in the JDS with three scale

items each. A seven point Likert type response scale was used. Two additional

measurement scales in the original version of the JDS were added to this study because

they were considered related factors of interest. As shown in Figure B.6, Feedback from

Agents attempts to measure feedback from coworkers and supervisors, and Dealing

with Others attempts to measure the interconnectedness of a particular job with other

jobs in the organization (Hackman and Oldham 1975). The scale item wordings of these

two related factors appeared to have face validity and provide a more complete

understanding of employee perceptions of feedback on the job.

150

Survey section

151

Survey section

152

Appendix C

The text of an email is presented below that was sent to all employees of the full

study engineering services company with a listed email address, requesting their

Dear ERC employee, I am a team leader of an ERC test support group within the US

Army Redstone Technical Test Center located at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. I need

your help with my final University of Alabama in Huntsville graduate school research

project. Could you please click on the secure web link listed below and complete a

research survey. I have received the permission and support of ERC management to

administer this survey to everyone within ERC. Your effort is greatly appreciated!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=yVprghiwaftszRFuK_2fyUCQ_3d_3d

Sincerely,

Mark Antonison

Table C.1 Test Instrument Scale Items vs. Position in Web Survey Instrument

153

Table C.1 (Continued) Test Instrument Scale Items vs. Position in Web Survey Instrument

154

155

156

Appendix D

DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS MEASUREMENT VARIABLES

6

5

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4

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0

vi1 vi2 vi3 vi4 vi5 vi6 de1 de2 de3 de4 de5 ab1 ab2 ab3 ab4 ab5 ab6

Figure D.1 Box Plot Work Engagement Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results

6

5

Data

4

3

2

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vi1 vi2 vi3 vi4 vi5 vi6 de1 de2 de3 de4 de5 ab1 ab2 ab3 ab4 ab5 ab6

Figure D.2 Box Plot Work Engagement Measurement Variables Full Study Results

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7

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4

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Figure D.3 Box Plot Job Characteristics Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results

7

6

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Figure D.4 Box Plot Job Characteristics Measurement Variables Full Study Results

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6

Data

1

occseef1

occseef2

occseef3

occseef4

occseef5

occseef6

Figure D.5 Box Plot Self-efficacy Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results

6

Data

1

occseef1

occseef2

occseef3

occseef4

occseef5

occseef6

Figure D.6 Box Plot Self-efficacy Measurement Variables Full Study Results

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7

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Figure D.7 Box Plot Goal Orientation Measurement Variables Pilot Study Results

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Figure D.8 Box Plot Goal Orientation Measurement Variables Full Study Results

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Boxplot of std job goal specificity and std job goal difficulty full study n = 360

1.0

Data

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0.0

Figure D.9 Box Plot Goal Attributes Measurement Variables Full Study Results

161

162

(continued)

163

Appendix E

SAMPLE SIZE ANALYSIS

literature concerning minimum required sample size, usually focused on the ratio of

number of survey responses to number of variables (scale items, or survey questions).

Conflicting recommendations from a minimum ratio of 5-to-1 to as much as 20-to-1

responses per variable have been proposed. A more accurate assessment of a minimum

sample size is related to the number of variables, number of factors, number of variables

per factor (over-determination of the factor), and the size of the factor solutions

communalities (MacCallum et al. 1999). Estimation of the communality of a variable is

important in factor analysis because the communality of a variable is the portion of the

variance of that variable that is accounted for by the common factors (MacCallum et al. 1999).

A theoretical treatment of the sample size issue in recovery of factor structures

from a sample data set is presented in the psychometric testing literature which defines a

measure, K, the coefficient of congruence that attempts to quantify the level of agreement

between a sample covariance matrix and a true population covariance matrix (Tucker et

al. 1969). Tuckers recommendations state that a value of K = 1 indicates perfect

agreement, values of K = 0.98 to 1 are considered excellent, and values of K = 0.92 to

0.98 are good. Values less than 0.92 are considered borderline. The results of Monte

Carlo simulations used to determine adequate minimum sample sizes for a given K value

have been published (Mundfrom et al. 2005). The two studies that have been cited both

conclude that the actual number of extracted factors F is less important than the ratio p/f

164

(the number of variables or scale items, p to the number of theoretical factors, f) and the

range of communalities for a specified value of K. The analysis results published by

Mundfrom et al. (2005) include results for number of extracted factors F = 3 to 6 in

one of their tables of recommendations. The two studies provide similar conclusions for

the minimum required sample size, n to a given cutoff value of K, the p/f ratio, and the

range of the pattern of communalities obtained from a confirmatory factor analysis.

Values for the patterns of sample factor solution communalities are grouped into three

range categories: high = 0.6 to 0.8, wide = 0.2 to 0.8, and low = 0.2 to 0.4, with higher

communalities allowing smaller minimum sample sizes and lower communalities

requiring larger minimum sample sizes. The factor solution extracted from the combined

survey instrument included p = 71 variables (71 total scale items) and f = 17 theoretical

factors, for a ratio of p/f = 4.2. As shown in Figure E.1, factor analysis produced a

wide range for communalities in 16 factors extracted with eigenvalues greater than 1.

The communalities extracted from the goal theory structural model with p= 30 variables

(30 total scale items) and f = 6, for a ratio of p/f = 5, were also a wide range of values

as shown in Figure E.2.

165

Direct comparison of the full survey instrument recovered factor structure, with

F = 16 extracted factors, to published recommendations is not possible since the authors

only explicitly published results for Monte Carlo solutions with the number of extracted

factors, F up to eight. The study recommended incorporating smaller numbers of

theoretical factors (i.e., f = 6 to 8 maximum) in any given study so as to recover more

stable factor solutions and avoid non-convergence issues in confirmatory factor solutions.

166

A table summarizing the recommendations is presented in Table E.1 (MacCallum et al. 1999)

(Mundfrom et al. 2005).

A summary of minimum sample size analysis parameters for the web survey

instrument and the goal theory research model is presented in Table E.2.

Table E.2 Summary of Statistics for Minimum Sample Size for Research Study

167

When comparison is made between the published recommendations and the web

survey instrument which has a p/f ratio = 4.2, the full study sample size of n=360 appears

to meet the recommended minimum sample size requirements for a K value of 0.92. This

implies there should be good agreement between the sample recovered factor structure

and the theoretical factor structure.

The goal theory structural model factor solution with p = 30 variables and

f = 6 theoretical factors can be more directly compared with the published

recommendations with its p/f ratio = 5 and number of extracted factors F = 6.

The full study sample data set, n = 360, appears to meet all recommendations for

minimum sample size at a value of K = 0.98, which indicates there should be excellent

agreement between the goal theory research model recovered factor structure and

theoretical factor structure.

168

Appendix F

REGRESSION ANALYSIS MPS VS. WORK ENGAGEMENT

The first two regression analyses evaluated the pilot study sample data set. The

first analysis compared the simple summation scores from the 17-item work engagement

survey calculated for each engineering graduate student with their respective MPS score

calculated from their responses to the of five core job characteristics latent variables: skill

variety, task significance, task identity, autonomy, and feedback from job itself. The

second regression analysis substituted the MPS score with a simple summation of the

response scores for the scale items that measure the five core job characteristics latent

variables in the MPS. The results are presented in Figures F.1 through F.4.

Figure F.1 Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating Potential Score Pilot Study

169

Figure F.2 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating

Potential Score Pilot Study

Figure F.3 Work Engagement Score vs. Sum Job Characteristics Score Pilot Study

170

Figure F.4 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score vs. Sum Job

Characteristics Score Pilot Study

The results presented in Figures F.1 through F.4 from the pilot study sample data

set looked very promising for consideration of either an MPS score or a summation score

of job characteristics to be used by a manager as simple predictor variables for work

engagement. The adjusted R-sq(adj) values generated in the analysis explain nearly

50 percent of the variance in the pilot study data set. There were no observed severe

outliers in the data. One note of caution must be made: the pilot study data set was

obtained from a sample that does not actually represent any single distinct organizational

context. The pilot study data is a composite of many different organizations and work

contexts. These results should not be used to draw a conclusion about workplace

practices or job characteristics in any specific organizational context. They are more

likely to be generalized in nature with respect to the engineering occupation.

The next two regression analyses evaluated results from the full study sample data

set. The analyses compared the simple summation scores from the 17-item work

171

engagement survey calculated for each employee of the engineering services company

with their respective MPS score and with their simple summation of the response scores

for the scale items that measure the five core job characteristics latent variables in the

MPS. The results are presented in Figures F.5 through F.8.

Figure F.5 Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating Potential Score Full Study

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Figure F.6 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score vs. Motivating

Potential Score Full Study

Figure F.7 Work Engagement Score vs. Sum Job Characteristics Score Full Study

173

Figure F.8 Results of Regression Analysis Work Engagement Score vs. Sum Job

Characteristics Score Full Study

The regression analysis results shown in Figures F.5 through F.8 for the full study

sample data set were less promising primary due to the presence of several data points

with high standardized residuals in the full study sample data set. Residual plots and a

normal distribution probability plot were generated to better understand the full study

regression analysis results. These plots are presented in Figures F.8 through F.11.

174

Normal Probability Plot of the Residuals

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99.9

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90

Residual

Percent

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300

350

Figure F.9 Four-in-one Residuals Plot for MPS Regression Analysis Full Study

Residual Plots for 360sum uwes17 vs 360 sum rjds

Normal Probability Plot of the Residuals

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Percent

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Figure F.10 Four-in-one Residuals Plot for Sum Job Characteristics Score Regression

Analysis Full Study

175

Evaluation of the residuals plots indicates problems with the data sets violating

the normally distributed assumption of linear regression analysis and there also appears to

be several data points causing problems with the assumption that the variance of the

analysis residuals should be constant. Severe violations of these two assumptions by a

sample population data set would require additional analysis and data set transformations

that were not performed because of their limited impact on development of answers to the

research questions of this study. The Anderson Darling test results shown in the

probability plot in Figure F.11 for indicates the MPS score has severe non-normality in

the full study sample data set. This result may be partially due to the multiplicative

nature of the MPS score formula. The simple summation of job characteristics scores

variable may therefore be a better choice if a job characteristics scores data set is to be

evaluated using linear regression methods.

Figure F.11 Probability Plot for Regression Analysis Variables Full Study

Appendix G

176

(Arbuckle 1995). The modeling process started with development of measurement

models for each theoretical latent variable. The measurement models represent the

measurement scales contained in the survey instrument. The measurement models are

combined into structural models that specify the causal relationships between the latent

variables. The structural equation modeling process followed a four step process,

described in Table G.1.

The latent variable measurement scales were first modeled and evaluated. The

next step was to develop first and second order structural models of individual survey

instruments, as described by the theory supporting each instrument. The third step was to

develop structural models of the proposed goal theory research model. The fourth step

177

was to develop structural models of the job characteristics research model. Several

alternate configurations of each research model were constructed and evaluated.

The following set of recommended SEM analysis checks was obtained from

Byrne (2001) and used throughout the SEM analysis process to evaluate the results in the

solution output files for each analysis run generated using the AMOS software.

ensure a unique converged solution is possible. If a model is under-identified,

meaning it has fewer degrees of freedom than the number of parameters to be

estimated in the analysis, the analysis run will be terminated without a unique

converged solution.

2) Analysis of the structural model should have produced a converged solution with

a positive definite covariance matrix for the sample data set, and there should not

be any correlation terms greater than one and no negative variances in the solution

output, which are problems that result from model misspecification issues or

anomalies embedded within the sample data set itself.

3) A check for statistical significance of all the estimated parameters including

variances and regression weights was performed. Critical ratios for each variable

can be interpreted as measures of statistical significance along with associated

probabilities. A P-value less than 0.05 was chosen as the cutoff level for

statistical significance of the results.

178

4) The algebraic signs of regression paths were reviewed to confirm they matched

their respective theoretical assumptions.

5) Evaluation of the size of standard errors was required, because very large or very

small standard errors are indications of problems with model specification or

significant measurement error in the sample data set.

6) Evaluation of the size of the terms in the standardized residuals covariance matrix

was important in order to properly assess the goodness-of-fit between the sample

data covariance matrix and the theoretical covariance matrix specified by the

model. The standardized residual covariance terms which are calculated for every

pair of scale items can be considered equivalent to Z- scores; acceptable values

should be less than +/-2.58 for an alpha criterion level of = 0.10.

7) Assessment of non-normality was checked. Severe non-normality violates the

assumptions of the maximum likelihood analysis method and may affect solution

results with poorly estimated regression coefficients, standard errors, and nonnormality will also affect estimated goodness-of-fit values.

8) Observations farthest from the solution centroid (Mahalanobis distance) were also

considered. Each row of data in the input file represents a set of answers to the

survey questions from an individual survey respondent, defined as an observation.

This check is equivalent to looking for extreme outliers in a response data set that

may exert an excessive influence on the covariance matrix solution because they

are not representative of the influence that the rest of the sample population has

on estimation of the solution covariance matrix.

9) The last step in evaluation of the solution results was to review the various

goodness-of-fit measures in the solution output file (Byrne 2001). All discussions

179

guidance provided in the SEM literature by Byrne (2001), Hu and Bentler (1999),

and Marsh et al. (2004).

SEM Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Latent Variable Measurement Models

Measurement models were developed in AMOS for the seventeen latent variables

in this research study. The measurement models for Vigor and Autonomy latent variables

are provided in Figure G.1 as examples because their structure is typical for all the other

latent variable measurement models. Each scale item or question is an observation or

measured variable and is also called an indicator (i.e., vi1 through vi6 are questions 1

through 6 in the vigor scale of the work engagement survey instrument). A measurement

error term is included for each scale item measurement variable, with path regression

coefficients set to 1 because the path terms for measurement error variables are not

estimated. The scale item indicators are measuring aspects of a theoretical latent variable

that represents a psychological construct. The path arrows point from the latent variable

toward each scale item. This is a reflective modeling approach, meaning that each scale

item indicator variable is a reflection of its underlying latent variable.

180

err6

err5

err4

err3

err2

err1

1

1

1

1

1

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Regression

coefficient

err1

err2

err3

path terms

vi6

vi5

vi4

vi3

VIGOR

au1

au2

au3

vi2

AUTONOMY

vi1

Latent Variable underlying

measurement variables

Theoretical psychological construct

Figure G.1 Typical Structural Equation Measurement Models for Latent Variables

There is one noticeable difference between the example measurement models for

vigor and autonomy. Measurement scales with only three scale items have zero degrees

of freedom and will not meet the requirements for an over-identified SEM model which

AMOS needs to calculate a unique default model solution. Model identification is

achieved by having more measurement data points than variables to be estimated.

To enable at least one degree of freedom for a unique solution in 3-scale item

measurement models, the latent variable has its factor variance set to 1 as shown in the

measurement model for autonomy. The evaluation of model identification has to be

performed during development of each structural equation model.

A summary of the results of this first phase of structural equation modeling

process is presented in Table G.2. The minimum recommended set of model fit statistics

has been presented for the measurement models, the minimized Chi-squared statistic for a

181

converged solution CMIN, model degrees of freedom DOF, the comparative fit index

CFI, and the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation RMSEA.

The results of the SEM analysis are consistent overall with the findings of the

earlier factor analysis. The vigor measurement scale has a high RMSEA most likely due

to the sample data sets recovered two factor solution identified in the earlier factor

analysis. A two factor measurement model was tested and it produced a RMSEA value of

0.05. A number of other measurement models also produced large RMSEA values.

Evaluation of regression path coefficients, standard errors, non-normality measures, and

standardized residuals covariance matrix terms did not yield any obvious problems that

182

could be addressed, so the SEM analysis process was continued to the next step.

Modification indices included in the results suggested the addition of several correlation

paths between individual measurement scale item error terms to improve RMSEA values,

but these paths were not added to the models at this stage in the confirmatory factor

analysis process.

The next step in the structural equation modeling process was to combine the

individual measurement scale models and into first order models and second order

representing the three survey instruments of work engagement, job characteristics, and

goal orientation. The analysis results of this research study could be directly compared to

results of prior studies of the same instruments that were found published in the literature.

The aim of these comparative studies is to assess the similarities and differences if any

between the earlier studies and this current research effort

SEM Analysis of the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey

The Utrecht Work Engagement Survey instrument was evaluated first. Three

models were developed and tested for the full 17-item survey instrument. The first work

engagement structural equation model is a one factor model with the path arrows for all

17 scale items loading onto the single latent variable representing work engagement. The

graphical representation of the model is shown in Figure G.2. The second work

engagement structural equation model is a first order three factor model where path

arrows for the respective measurement scale items of the three separate factors load on

183

the three latent variables of vigor, dedication and absorption. Work engagement is

evaluated by incorporating into the first order model correlation paths between each

latent variable to estimate their relationships to each other. This model is presented in

Figure G.3. The third work engagement structural equation model is a second order

three factor model that explicitly modeled work engagement as a second order latent

variable. Regression paths point from work engagement to the three first order latent

variables of vigor, dedication, and absorption, because all three factors of work

engagement are specified as reflective measures of the work engagement construct. In

the second order model explicit factor variance terms are modeled for each of the three

first order latent variables and represent the unknown residual variance or disturbance in

the sample data set that is evaluated with the model. The variance for work engagement

is assumed to be fully accounted for by the three first order factor variance terms so its

own variance term is set to one and not estimated. This model is shown in Figure G.4.

Before the three factor second order model could be evaluated a check for

identification at the second order level revealed a just identified model. The three data points

are now the three first order factors so p = 3 and there are (3(3+1)/2 = 6 data points. The model

as first set up would require calculation of estimate three residual variances plus three

regression coefficients for the three second order path loading terms. To achieve an overidentified model at the second order level, a reduction in the number of estimated parameters of

at last one is required. One technique to achieve over-identification is to evaluate whether an

assumption of equal variances for first order factor terms is acceptable, and if so assign these

the variables the same residual variance term. Levenes test for equality of two variances was

performed in MINITAB and the results are shown in Table G.3 below.

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Table G.3 Test for Equal Variances Between Work Engagement Factors

The results of Levenes test show the hypothesis that the variances of vigor and

absorption are equal could not be rejected, and the second order structural equation model

was therefore modified to have the variances for the vigor and absorption factors set

equal to the parameter var_a as shown in the SEM model. This provided the necessary

over-identification of the three factor second order structural model for work

engagement.

The models were evaluated using the multi-group method with n1 = 360 from the

full study engineering technical services company and n2 = 60 from the pilot study

graduate engineering students with jobs. The results of the structural equation model

evaluation for the full 17-item work engagement survey instrument are presented in

Table G.4, including comparisons with results from published studies. The fit statistics

for the one factor model are less acceptable than the fit statistics for the three factor

models, implying that the three first order latent variables may indeed constitute three

distinct factors supporting discriminant validity of the three factor theoretical model of

work engagement. The two three-factor models that were developed do not, however,

produce high enough goodness-of-fit statistics by themselves to support any strong

conclusions about the construct validity of work engagement as a three factor construct.

185

This weak conclusion about three factor construct validity is consistent with the mixed

results presented earlier in common factor analysis of the UWES17-item survey

instrument with both the combined full and pilot study sample data set, n1 = 360 and

n2 = 60. While comparison of published SEM results with this current research study

shows relatively close agreement between model fit statistics of similarly specified

structural equation models (Schaufeli et al. 2001), the results of the earlier common

factor analysis and the structural equation models presented in this analysis appear to

provide mixed results for a strict assessment of factor purity with the sample data set

obtained using of the UWES17-item survey instrument.

186

187

errvi1

errvi2

errvi3

vi1

errvi4

vi2

errvi5

vi3

errvi6

vi4

vi5

vi6

vigor

errde1

errde2

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de1

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de2

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dedication

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ab1

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ab2

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errab6

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absorption

Figure G.3 First Order Three-Factor UWES 17-item Model of Work Engagement

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Figure G.4 Second Order Three-Factor UWES 17-item Model of Work Engagement

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Table G.4 SEM Analysis Comparative Results for the Full 17-item UWES

Work Engagement Survey Instrument

The published version of the 9-item short version survey instrument for work

engagement was evaluated next (Schaufeli et al. 2006). Three structural models were

again developed and tested: a one factor first order model shown in Figure G.5, a

three factor first order model shown in Figure G.6, and a three factor second order model

shown in Figure G.7. The multi-group sample method was also used again. The

comparative goodness of fit results for the three models is shown in Table F.5. A review

of all final solution statistics found only one problem in the second order model.

190

Regression paths in all models were all significant and positive. Standard errors

were also reasonable in size with no extremely large or small values in all models. All

estimates of regression coefficients and variances were statistically significant (p<0.001),

except for the estimated variance of the residual disturbance term of the latent variable

dedication in the second order model, which was estimated to be non-significant with

p = 0.322 for group 1, n = 60, and p = 0.475 for group 2, n = 360. The standardized

residual covariance matrix terms in all models were within acceptable limits of +/- 2.58.

The fit indexes for the 9-item survey instrument appear to support the three factor

model of work engagement as a better fit to the sample data set than the one-factor model

of work engagement. This study replicates most of the results of the much larger size

study of Schaufeli et al. (2006), and the larger RMSEA value produced in this study

relative to the RMSEA value in their 2006 published SEM results may be attributed in

part to this studys smaller sample size. It is also interesting to note the similarities in

results appear fairly invariant between the different countries of the United States, Europe

and Japan for the one factor model, but the Japanese study (Shimazu et al. 2008) did not

show the same level of similarity with its three factor model solution.

191

192

Figure G.6 First Order Three-Factor UWES 9-item Model of Work Engagement

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Figure G.7 Second Order Three-Factor 9-item UWES Model of Work Engagement

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Table G.5 SEM Analysis Results for the Short Version 9-item UWES

Work Engagement Survey Instrument

The second survey instrument to be evaluated with a structural equation model

was the revised job diagnostic survey which is comprised of five job characteristic factors

with each factor operationalized by its own 3-item measurement scale. The first model to

be evaluated was a one-dimensional single factor job characteristics model with all

15 scale items, shown in Figure G.8. The goodness-of-fit indexes were very low

indicating a very poor fit with the sample data set. This result supports discriminant

validity of the five job characteristics latent variables.

195

The second model was a five factor first order model with correlation paths between

all five factors, shown in Figure G.9. The fit of this model is significantly better than the one

factor model. These results also support the discriminant validity of the five job

characteristics factors. The five factor first order model was enhanced to include an

additional construct, the critical psychological state of experienced meaningfulness, inserted

into the model as second order factor related to the three job characteristics of task identity

skill variety and task significance. Correlation paths arrows were then added between

Meaningfulness, Autonomy and Feedback. This second order model is based on the job

characteristics model of Hackman and Oldham (1975), and it is shown in Figure G.10. The

fit indexes for this second order model results were nearly identical to the first order model.

These SEM results were compared with two other sets of published results for the revised job

diagnostic survey and there is close agreement with both earlier studies. The fit indexes meet

the guidelines for a moderately acceptable fit (CFI > 0.90 and RMSEA < 0.08) but fail to

meet the more stringent cutoff values for a very good model fit (CFI > 0.95 and RMSEA <

0.05). The standardized residual covariance matrix for both the first and second order model

results contained numerous terms with values greater than 2.58, considered an upper limit for

an adequate fit model. The standard errors for variances of all the latent variables were large

relative to the size of the variances themselves (25% to 35%). The standard errors for the

regression weights for each scale item to its latent variable were also high. The variance for

scale item skill variety item 3 was non-significant (p =0.489). These high standard errors are

an indication of model misspecification, consistent with the mixed results obtained in the

confirmatory factor analysis solutions.

196

As a final step in job characteristics SEM model evaluation, a seven factor first

order model was developed by adding the two related job characteristics of feedback

from agents and dealing with others that were associated with the original Job Diagnostic

Survey instrument. The final job characteristics structural equation model is presented in

Figure G.11.

1

au1

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1

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characteristics

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Figure G.8 One Factor Revised Job Diagnostic Survey Job Characteristics Model

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errau1

au1

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autonomy

errsv1

sv1

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skill variety

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significance

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job itself

Figure G.9 First Order Five-Factor Revised JDS Job Characteristics Model

198

e10

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fbji1

1

feedback

job itself

Figure G.10 Second Order Five Factor Revised JDS Job Characteristics Model

199

err1

err2

fbfa1

err3

fbfa2r

fbfa3

1

feedback agents

errau1

errau2

errau3

au2

au3

au1

autonomy

errsv1

sv1

errsv2

errsv3

sv2

sv3

skill variety

errts1

ts1

errts2

errts3

ts2

ts3

task significance

errti1

ti1

errti2

errti3

ti2

ti3

task identity

errfbji1

fbji1

errfbji2

errfji3

fbji2

fbji3

err5

err4

dwo2

dwo1

err6

1

dwo3r

1

dwo

200

The two additional factors did not improve the model fit indexes, and the results

of this model contained all the problems listed above to a greater degree due to larger

model size. It appears that this seven factor model had too many large standardized

residual covariance terms to meet guidelines for good model fit. The specification of the

model may be acceptable but the sample data set contains a significant amount of

correlated error with respect to the twenty one job characteristics measurement variables

included in this study. Table G.6 summarizes the SEM analysis results for the revised Job

Diagnostic Survey Instrument and comparisons to published data from earlier studies.

Revised Job Diagnostic Survey

201

The third survey instrument that was incorporated into this research study was the

four factor achievement goal orientation in a work domain survey instrument. A

one factor goal orientation model was first developed with all eighteen scale items, but a

converged solution was not achievable due to a sample covariance matrix that was not

positive definite. This is evidence of discriminant validity between the four goal

orientation constructs. A four factor first order model was developed next and a

converged solution was achieved and the results are presented below. This model is

shown in Figure G.12. A four factor second order model was developed next and a

converged solution was achieved but the solution generated a negative variance for the

residual term for performance avoidance latent variable. This model is shown in

Figure G.13. Two additional second order models were attempted that are not shown. A

model with second order performance and mastery latent variables and then a model with

second order approach and avoidance latent variables both failed to achieve converged

solutions due to negative variances for the residual term for performance avoidance and

performance approach latent variables. These problems were not unexpected due to the

correlation analysis results for these constructs presented earlier. The second order

structural equation models of the goal orientation constructs based on the higher level

second order goal orientation, approach-avoidance and mastery-performance concepts

generated unsatisfactory and invalid results due to the unclear set of correlations within

the sample data set between goal orientation factors themselves at the higher order level

of analysis. A comparison of this studys valid four factor first order model results to the

earlier published results for this survey instrument is included in Table G.7. At this point

202

in the analysis process, a decision was made to discontinue further use of the goal

orientation sample data due to the analytical problems encountered in the results

documented in the correlation analysis and the structural equation models.

errmav1

errmav2

errmav3

errmav4

errmav5

errmav6

mav1

mav2

mav3

mav4

mav5

mav6

mastery

avoidance

errmap1

errmap2

errmap3

errmap4

map1

map2

map3

map4

mastery

approach

errpav1

errpav2

errpav3

errp av4

p av1

pav2

pav3

pav4

performance

avoidance

errpap1

errpap2

errpap3

errpap4

pap1

pap2

pap3

pap4

performance

approach

203

errmav1

errmav2

errmav3

errmav4

errmav5

errmav6

mav1

mav2

mav3

mav4

mav5

mav6

1

var1

mastery

avoidance

dist_mav

errmap1

errmap2

errmap3

errmap4

map1

map2

map3

map4

1

var1

mastery

approach

1

dist_map

goal orientation

errpav1

errpav2

errpav3

errpav4

pav1

pav2

pav3

pav4

1

var1

performance

avoidance

dist_pav

errpap1

errpap2

errpap3

errpap4

pap1

pap2

pap3

pap4

1

var1

dist_pap

performance

approach

Figure G.13 Second Order Four Factor Goal Orientation Model (invalid solution)

204

Table G.7 SEM Analysis Results for the Achievement Goal Orientation Survey

analysis in the strictest definition of its application was finished. The models that follow

are combinations of portions of operationalized measurement scales developed for

different theoretical research models. Prior to this study, the measurement scales of the

latent psychological constructs included in this research had not been operationalized in a

survey instrument which could empirically test the measurement scales together. Based

on the actual research processes that have been described by the original developers of

the several survey instruments chosen for this study, there is a legitimate role for

exploratory factor analysis methods to develop more comprehensive answers to the

research questions posed in this study. Each survey instrument has undergone a reduction

in the number of scale items from its original version based on the results of a series of

earlier studies conducted by the original survey instrument developer to enhance the

reliability and improve factor validity of the instrument. The modification of an existing

survey instrument for the purpose of testing a new or revised theoretical model is a

continuation of the process.

205

analysis, wherein modifications to the model were evaluated for their merit. First, nonsignificant regression paths coefficients were considered sufficient reason to eliminate or

modify causal paths in a structural model that were not considered absolutely necessary

to explain the primary assumptions of the theoretical model. Second, scale items that

were generating high standardized residual covariance terms with other scale items were

evaluated and given serious consideration to their removal for the purpose of developing

a more parsimonious and better specified model.

The three latent variables that represent the antecedents to work motivation in

Locke and Lathams goal setting theoretical model of work motivation are goal difficulty,

goal specificity and self-efficacy. These three constructs were operationalized in this

study by incorporating measurement scales from two separate sources in the academic

literature. A three factor first order structural model was developed to evaluate the

constructs prior to developing the complete structural model of goal theory and work

engagement. The model is shown in Figure G.14. The results of the first SEM analysis

of these three constructs produced a solution with inadequate model fit indexes. Several

scale item regression paths did not have statistically significant regression weights, and

one job goal specificity path was negatively weighted, in violation of the assumptions of

goal theory. A review of the results found that a single survey response in the sample

data set was exerting a very strong influence on the SEM solution. The data point was

206

responsible for the solutions multivariate non-normality = 366, c.r. = 77, and its

Mahalanobis distance = 286 from the solution centroid. In all the previous structural

model solutions, maximum values for Mahalanobis distance = 93 to 36. A review of the

SEM literature determined that removal of this single outlier survey response from the

sample set should be considered as a legitimate action because of its extreme nature

compared with all other responses in the sample data set (Byrne, 2001). The recalculated

multivariate normality of the model after solving with the deleted response for n = 359

was now 192, c.r. = 42, and the largest Mahalanobis distance = 98. This solution still

produced mediocre goodness-of-fit indexes, but all regression paths were now

statistically significant and had the correct algebraic sign according to the assumptions of

goal theory. Standard error terms for variances and regression weights did not appear

unusual, but examination of the standardized residual covariance matrix identified five

terms with very high negative standardized residual covariance terms (> 4.0) related to

the scale item job goal difficulty item 5R. Job goal difficulty item 5R is a reverse worded

question that reads as follows: My job is easy. A re-evaluation of earlier analytical

results for the job goal difficulty measurement scale and the scale item itself, including

reliability analysis and earlier factor analysis did not identify any specific problems with

this scale item. The problem first surfaced in the structural equation modeling analysis.

The SEM analysis results from the studys sample data set may imply that survey

respondents in the sample appear to have had some amount of trouble answering this

question. The wording of this question was evaluated in the context of the wording of

other questions. Looking at the question retrospectively, there is no clear connection to

job goals in the wording. The question with its negative wording may actually have

207

population, generating a high amount of unexplainable negative residual covariance with

other question responses in the structural equation model solution. A reduced three factor

first order model was developed by removing the problematic scale item job goal

difficulty item 5R. The results of this modeling process are summarized in Table G.8

below. The solution for this reduced three factor first order model showed modestly

improved goodness-of-fit indexes.

208

Figure G.14 Three Factor First Order Model of Goal Theory Antecedents to Work

Motivation

Table G.8 SEM Analysis Results for the Goal Theory Antecedent Variables Model

209

The next step in the SEM process was development of the goal theory model of

work motivation. The goal theory model was developed by starting with the structural

model of the three goal theory antecedent variables job goal difficulty, job goal

specificity, and occupational self-efficacy. The feedback from the job itself and feedback

from agents latent variables were added to the goal theory model to represent goal

moderator variables. These five constructs represent predictor variables in the goal

theory model. Work engagement was added to the model as the criterion variable with

path arrows pointing from predictor variables to the criterion variables, explicitly

modeling the hypothesized cause and effect relationships underlying the theory of work

motivation. Based on the overall analysis objective of maintaining as much model

parsimony as possible in this study, the 9-item short version of work engagement was

chosen as the most appropriate representation of work engagement in the goal theory

210

research model. The 9-item confirmatory factor SEM solution showed a significantly

better fit over the full 17-item model of work engagement.

Three goal theory models were developed. The three factor first order 9-item

model of work engagement was developed first. The three factor second order 9-item

model of work engagement was developed next. The one factor 9-item model of work

engagement was developed last. The initial iterations of each model still contained the

full five-item scale for job goal difficulty. The scale item job goal difficulty 5R had a

strong adverse effect on these first iteration model solutions, causing fit problems and

high standardized residual covariance terms with numerous other scale items in other

measurement scales. The decision in the previous SEM analysis to delete it from the job

difficulty scale was confirmed and all further model development of the goal theory

research model was based on a reduced four item job goal difficulty measurement scale.

The decision to exclude one extreme outlier survey response which had been identified

and deleted in the earlier goal theory antecedents structural model analysis was also

continued in this goal theory modeling process. The multivariate normality of the sample

data set n = 359 is 192, c.r. = 42, and the largest Mahalanobis distance = 98. In the first

iteration of the model, all possible causal paths were added between each of the

three antecedent variables of goal specificity, goal difficulty and self-efficacy to the

three factors of work engagement vigor, dedication and absorption to represent their

mediating effect on work motivation. All possible causal paths were added between the

two feedback variables and job goal specificity, job goal difficulty and occupational

self-efficacy to represent feedback as a moderating effect on the three antecedent

mediator variables. The first iteration solution for the goal theory model indicated that

211

the regression weights for several of these causal paths were non-significant (p > 0.05)

and those paths were therefore deleted from that model. A second iteration and third

iteration of model specification was performed. A review of the solution sets indicated

that a second scale item was causing problems, job goal specificity item 3R, causing fit

problems and high standardized residual covariance terms with numerous other scale

items in other measurement scales. The final iteration of the goal theory research model

contained twenty-eight scale items (two scale items deleted). It was determined that

further efforts would not improve the models. The final versions of the three models are

shown in Figures G.15 through G.17.

212

Figure G.15 Goal Theory First Order Three Factor Work Engagement Model

213

Figure G.16 Goal Theory Second Order Three Factor Work Engagement Model

214

215

To achieve identification of the second order three factor goal theory model of

work engagement, two constraints had to be incorporated into the model. At the

second order level in the model there were six latent variables with causal paths to the

second order work engagement latent variable, producing [6 (6+1) /2] = 21 available data

points. The model as it was initially specified required estimation of thirteen regression

paths and nine latent variable variances, or twenty-two unknowns, resulting in an underidentified model. The variances for vigor and absorption were again set equal to the

same parameter var_a, and the regression path from work engagement to vigor was set

to 1. This reduced the number of parameters to be estimated at the second order level to

twenty, providing one degree of freedom and an over-identified model which could

generate a unique solution.

In all the final versions of the three goal theory models, standard error estimates

appeared acceptable although several terms were higher relative to the majority of other

standards errors. All terms in the correlation matrix were all less than one, the covariance

matrix was positive definite. There was however a still a couple of standardized residual

covariance terms between pairs of scale items that were greater than +2.58. The impact

on these analyses is that these SEM models still contain some potential model

misspecification between those pairs of scale items, a result possibly related to the

method employed in this research study where the four distinct survey instruments that

were originally developed for different purposes by separate and unrelated researchers

were merged intact and without modification of any sort. The goodness-of fit measures

for each model are shown in Table G.9. The goal theory model based on specification of

work engagement as a three factor second order construct yielded the best fit. Several

216

indexes including, CFI and RMSEA, indicate there is reasonably adequate model fit to

the sample data set, supporting the hypothesis that work engagement is a potentially

useful construct for measurement of work motivation as defined by goal theory. This

result is considered significant for the first time deployment of a combined survey

instrument with a diverse composition of constructs and large number of scale items.

Table G.9 SEM Analysis Results for Goal Theory Models of Work Engagement

The standardized regression weights are shown in Table G.10 for the regression

paths between each latent variable in the optimal second order three factor goal theory

model of work engagement presented in Figure G.16.

Table G.10 Regression Path Coefficients for Goal Theory Second Order Three Factor

Work Engagement Model

217

Estimates for three of the thirteen standardized regression coefficients were below

0.3. These three regression paths were left in the model because goal theory assumes

those paths should be theoretically significant, and their presence did improve model fit

slightly over a model that did not include those three regression paths.

The development of the job characteristics model of work motivation started with

the five core job characteristics constructs in the Revised Job Diagnostic Survey

including autonomy, feedback from job itself, skill variety, task significance and task

identity and the related job characteristic feedback from agents. Dealing with others was

excluded due to its low reliability and non-significant correlation to work engagement

variables. These six constructs represented the predictor variables with path arrows

pointing to the work engagement criterion variable, explicitly modeling the hypothesized

218

cause and effect relationships underlying this proposed theory of work motivation. The

9-item short version of work engagement was used to maintain model parsimony. This

first job characteristics structural equation model is presented in Figure 5.18.

The SEM results for this first job characteristics research model were very

unsatisfactory. The goodness-of-fit measures are shown in Figure 5.18 with the model.

The regression weights for path lines between the job characteristics latent variables and

work engagement, modeled as a second order variable, were statistically non-significant

with all p-values > 0.05, and standard error estimates were very high. Feedback from

agents scale items generated high values with other scale items in the solutions

standardized residuals covariance matrix, indicting it should be eliminated from the

model. The next series of models was reduced to the five core job characteristics,

eliminating feedback from agents. The resulting structural models were defined by a total

of eight measurement scales representing five predictor latent variables and

three criterion latent variables with a combined total of twenty-four scale items in the

structural model for job characteristics and work engagement.

219

Figure G.18 First Six Factor Job Characteristics Structural Equation Model

220

In order to further examine the relationships between the five latent variables of

job characteristics and work engagement, a 2 x 3 matrix of structural models was

developed. Three job characteristics models were developed for the first order version of

job characteristics, and three additional models developed for the second order version of

job characteristics, a total of six job characteristics structural models, merging each of the

models with the three factor first order model of work engagement, the three factor

second order model of work engagement and the one factor model of work engagement.

The series of SEM models is presented in Figures G.18 through G.23 below.

The combined sample set was applicable and incorporated into this analysis,

utilizing the multi-group SEM method, with n1 = 60 from the pilot study of engineering

graduate students with jobs and n2 = 360 from the full study of all employees in the

engineering technical services company. The multi-group method analyzes each group

separately at first, calculating estimates of parameters and evaluating the covariance

structure of each group separately, and then uses the results from each separate group to

calculate a single set of Fit indexes for the structural model. The multi-variate nonnormality of group n1 = 60 was moderate in value at 42.98, c.r. = 4.7, and the response

with largest Mahalanobis distance from the centroid of the n1 = 60 sample set was 42.07.

The values calculated for the group n2 = 360 were again very high, with multi-variate

non-normality = 208.0, c.r. = 55.9 and largest Mahalanobis distance = 98. There were no

clear outliers in this data, rather a steady gradient of values from the lowest to highest.

There was no analytical justification to remove any outlier sample data points from the

analysis.

221

The first job characteristics structural model that was tested was the RDJS

five factor job characteristics first order, UWES 9-item three factor first order model. The

initial solution generated serious model misspecification issues which continued to show

up in varying degrees with every subsequent model. Regression coefficients for eleven

out of the total of fifteen causal paths between the five job characteristics latent variables

and the three work engagement factors were non-significant (p > 0.05), and seven out of

the eleven coefficients were negative, a violation of the underlying theory of this study

which hypothesizes a positive relationship exists between all predictor and criterion

variables. Estimates of standard errors for the variances of five out of the eight latent

variables in the model were high, and the variance for dedication was non-significant at

p = 0.19. The matrix of standardized residual covariance terms contained numerous high

values exceeding +/-2.58. This pattern of results repeated itself with only slight

variations in each of the additional five structural models that were developed.

Second order terms did not improve the results. In the second order models the

regression path for experienced meaningfulness was statistically significant and positive,

but the regression paths for autonomy and feedback were not significant. Deleting any

one of these variables from a structural model would undermine the core principles of the

job characteristics theory developed by Hackman and Oldham (1975). The goodness-of

fit indexes for the six models are summarized in Table G.11.

222

One Factor 9-item Work Engagement Model

223

Three Factor First Order 9-item Work Engagement Model

224

Three Factor Second Order 9-item Work Engagement Model

225

One Factor 9-item Work Engagement Model

226

Three Factor First Order 9-item Work Engagement Model

227

e10

e11

e12

au2

au3

au1

1

1

resau

er1

er2

er3

sv2

sv3

sv1

autonomy

ressv

var_a

skill variety

distvi

er4

er5

er6

ts1

ts2

ts3

dist

we

task

significance

meaningfulness

vi1

vigor

rests

errvi1

vi2

errvi2

vi3

errvi3

work

engagement

distde

de2

dedication

de3

de4

er7

er8

er9

var_a

distab

ti1

ti2

ti3

absorption

resti

ab3

ab4

ab5

task identity

e13

e14

e15

fbji2

fbji3

fbji1

1

resfb

feedback

job itself

Three Factor Second Order 9-item Work Engagement Model

228

1

errab3

1

errab4

1

errab5

1

errde2

1

errde3

1

errde4

Table G.11 SEM Analysis Results for the Job Characteristics Research Models

severe and no model improvements suggested by modification indices or rearrangement

of regression paths were able to produce a valid job characteristics structural model with

work engagement as a criterion variable.

Up to this point in the SEM process, multi-group analysis results have been

reported for an unconstrained model. An unconstrained model allows the estimation of

all solution parameters to vary in each individual group solution set without constraints

229

measurement residual error terms, structural regression paths and structural residual

terms may vary across groups. This solution must be obtained first. In the same analysis

session, the next step is to set up multi-group analysis with a series of nested models. The

nested models progressively test for invariance of subsets of model parameters across

groups. The multi-group analysis settings are shown in Figure G.24. Five models are

developed, starting with the unconstrained model already solved, and each nest model

progressively assuming more constraints between groups. Each nested model tests for a

greater level of invariance between groups. The changes in chi-squared statistics between

each nested model are used to determine a P-value to test the hypothesis of invariance

between groups for each subset of estimated model parameters.

The work engagement model analyzed in this multi-group analysis is shown in

Figure G.25. This model achieved over-identification by setting the structural path

230

coefficient from second order work engagement to first order vigor to a value of 1

(meaning it is not estimated in the analysis), while the residual variances for all three first

order latent variables were all allowed to be estimated parameters.

Figure G.26 Short Version Three Factor Second Order Work Engagement Structural

Equation Model Multi-Group Analysis

The results of this analysis are presented in Tables G.12 and G.13 directly from

the AMOS solution output file. Several goodness-of-fit statistics are presented for each

231

nested model in Table G.12, followed by evaluation of the deltas in chi-squared statistics

in Table G.13. Deltas of the other goodness-of-fit measures are also provided in the

output of the AMOS solution file.

232

The results show that invariance has been first demonstrated between the pilot and

full study groups for the measurement weights which means the regression path weights

between each measurement variable and its respective latent 1st order variable, Vigor,

Dedication, and Absorption. Next invariance between groups has been demonstrated for

structural weights which are the regression path weights between each 1st order latent

variable and the 2nd order variable, Work Engagement. Thirdly, the structural residuals

for each first order latent variable have then been demonstrated to be invariant between

groups. Finally, invariance between measurement residuals has not been demonstrated.

233

This means that the measurement error terms for each scale item varied across the

two groups.

234

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