Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Job Demands-Resources Model: Further Evidence for the Buffering Effect of Personal Resources

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Job Demands-Resources Model: Further Evidence for the Buffering Effect of Personal Resources

Article excerpt

Introduction

During the past decades, many studies have shown that certain job demands - the most common type being the stressors pertaining to one's roles (Lambert, Hogan, Paoline, & Clarke, 2005) - can have a profound influence on employee well-being and work-related outcomes (e.g. work engagement, emotional exhaustion and intentions to leave; Doi, 2005; Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004). In work and organisational psychology, the detrimental effects of high job demands have been demonstrated empirically for a variety of adverse organisational and behavioral outcomes, including reduced job performance (Lang, Thomas, Bliese, & Adler, 2007) and counterproductive work behaviours (Marcus & Schuler, 2004). Moreover, high job demands have been associated with various indicators of job strain, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms (e.g. Diestel & Klaus-Helmut, 2009; Griffin, Greiner, Stansfeld, & Marmot, 2007).

In spite of this large body of evidence, which has been supported for most employees (Snow, Swan, Raghavan, Connell, & Klein, 2003) and clergy-related personnel in particular (Hang-yue, Foley, & Loi, 2005), it has been argued that the link from high job demands to job strain may be buffered by certain job resources (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker, Demerouti & Euwema, 2005; Diestel & Klaus-Helmut, 2009). As a consequence, the purpose of the present study is to expand the Job Demands-Resources model (JD-R model; Bakker, Demerouti, De Boer, & Schaufeli, 2003) by providing evidence that personal resources can moderate the relationship between job demands and job strain. In particular, it is argued that compassion satisfaction, a personal resource that has received insufficient theoretical and empirical attention, buffers the relationship between job demands (i.e. role stressors) and indicators of job strain (i.e. anxiety and depression).

The Job Demands-Resources model

A first assumption in the JD-R model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007) is that even though every occupation may have its own set of risk factors related to job strain, these risk factors can either be categorised as job demands or job resources. Job demands represent aspects of the job that require prolonged physical and psychological effort and that are linked to physiological and psychological costs. Job resources represent characteristics of the job that (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001):

* are functional in obtaining career related objectives

* lessen job demands and related physical and mental costs

* encourage personal development.

A second assumption in the JD-R model is that job strain develops when certain job demands are high and when certain job resources are limited (Demerouti et al., 2001). Previous studies conducted in a variety of organisations (e.g. Bakker, Demerouti, & Schaufeli, 2003; Bakker, Demerouti, & Verbeke, 2004), have confirmed this hypothesis by showing that high job demands lead to employees' health problems (i.e. health impairment process), whereas the presence of job resources facilitate employees' motivation (i.e. motivational process). Two different underlying psychological processes are thus believed to play a crucial role in the development of job strain. In the first process, chronic job demands (e.g. work overload) may lead to long-term job strain. The second process is motivation-based in that job resources are viewed as having a strong motivational potential (Hackman & Oldman, 1980), which lead to high work engagement, low cynicism and excellent performance. Richter and Hacker (1998) further sub-devised the job resources in two categories, namely external resources (i.e. organisational and social) and internal resources (i.e. cognitive features and action patterns).

Interactions between job demands and job resources

Within the framework of the JD-R model, although the focus has been on the main effects of job demands and job resources, theoretically, it could be argued that it is the interaction between job demands and job resources that is most crucial in the development of job strain and motivation (Bakker et al. …

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