Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Toward a Mediation Model of Employability Enhancement: A Study of Employee-Supervisor Pairs in the Building Sector

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Toward a Mediation Model of Employability Enhancement: A Study of Employee-Supervisor Pairs in the Building Sector

Article excerpt

This study examines whether jobs that enable competence development and a constructive leadership style enhance workers' employability or career potential through their assumed positive relationship with work-related flow (absorption, work enjoyment, and intrinsic work motivation). The authors conducted an explorative study with 303 pairs of employees and their direct supervisors working in a Dutch building company. Results indicate that self-ratings of learning value of the current job and transformational leadership have an indirect relationship with supervisor ratings of employability through work-related flow.

Being an expert and maintaining one's expertise are by no means easy tasks. However, the potential of a working organization to perform optimally in global markets depends on employees' capability to develop, cultivate, and maintain fundamental qualifications. Nowadays, job qualifications are changing continuously. Moreover, the time has passed when careers consisted of upward moves within a framework of long-term employment relations (Arthur, 2008; Sullivan, 1999). Employability (or career potential) management consists of a new mutual psychological contract (Coyle-Shapiro 8c Neuman, 2004; Rousseau, 2001) and is a joint responsibility of employers and employees. In the present study, we propose an employability enhancement model to examine how learning value of the current job and a transformational leadership style are related to employability. We argue that these predictors have an indirect relationship with employability through work-related flow and build upon the "happy-productive worker thesis" (see Cropanzano & Wright, 2001, for a thorough review) and the "broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions" (Fredrickson, 2001 ).

Although several studies have reported relationships between career or managerial practices and positive work outcomes, tests of mediating models are rare (for excellent examples, see Bono & Judge, 2003; Dvir, Eden, Avolio, & Shamir, 2002; Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006). In the present study, we propose and test a new mediation model, aimed at clearing up the complexity of employability enhancement. Only since the late 1990s has employability been studied empirically; one important reason for this is the lack of valid operationalizations of the concept (see Van der Heijde & Van der Heijden, 2006, for a review). In our current study, we used a recently developed competence-based approach to employability (Van der Heijde & Van der Heijden, 2006; Van der Heijden, De Lange, Demerouti, 8c Van der Heijde, 2009).

Employahility

During the past decades, the concept of employability has received increased attention. Changes within and around organizations have emphasized the need for flexible firms and a multiskilled workforce. Simultaneously, employees have become responsible for their own careers and work security. However, both theoretical and empirical controversy abounds with regard to the understanding and potential of the concept of employability (Forrier & SeIs, 2003; Harvey, 2001; Van der Heijden & Thijssen,. 2003). Van der Heijde and Van der Heijden (2006) defined employability, or career potential, as "the continuous fulfilling, acquiring or creating of work through the optimal use of competences" (p. 453), within or outside the current organization, for present or new customer(s), and with regard to future prospects (see also Savickas, 1997). Their definition is consistent with that of Forrier and SeIs (2003), who characterized the concept as "the chance for employment on the internal or external labor market" (p. 106), and with that of Fugate, Kinicki, and Ashforth (2004), who defined it as "a form of work-specific active adaptability that enables workers to identify and realize career opportunities" (p. 14).

Van der Heijde and Van der Heijden's (2006) conceptualization combined domain-specific expertise with more generic competences. …

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