Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Role of Work-Related Needs in the Relationship between Job Crafting, Burnout and Engagement

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Role of Work-Related Needs in the Relationship between Job Crafting, Burnout and Engagement

Article excerpt


According to the person-environment fit (PE fit) theory, 'the misfit between the person and the environment may produce psychological, physiological, and behavioural strains and can take two different forms: (1) the extent to which the demands and requirements of the environment match the skills and abilities of the person and (2) the extent to which the rewards and supplies provided by the environment match the needs and preferences of the person' (Edwards & Van Harrison, 1993, p. 628). In this context, because individuals who can choose a working environment in congruence with their personal characteristics will experience more positive work-related outcomes, it is not surprising that PE fit has become one of the most studied concepts in work and organisational psychology (Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman & Johnson, 2005). Following Kristof-Brown et al. (2005), it is now recognised that PE fit is a multidimensional concept which includes person-organisation fit (PO fit), person-group fit (PG fit), person-supervisor fit (PS fit), person-vocation fit (PV fit), and person-job fit (PJ fit). Person-job fit can also be divided into two conceptualisations: demands-abilities fit (DA fit) and needs-supplies fit (NS fit). Because it is important to further investigate the antecedents and the consequences of NS fit (Kristof-Brown & Billsbery, 2013), and because 'NS fit may be the most important type of fit from an employee point of view' (Cable & De Rue, 2002, p. 875), we have chosen to focus on this.

Research purpose and objectives

This study has two main objectives. Firstly, in order to extend our knowledge about traditional psychological needs, as for example the three fundamental needs (i.e. competence, autonomy, and relatedness) highlighted by the Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000), we wanted to propose more specific work-related needs in terms of employment quality. To better understand the meaning of needs at work and to ascertain the importance of work-related needs fulfilment, we followed a subjectivist approach (i.e. a focus on employees' needs fulfilment; Brown, Charlwood, Forde & Spencer, 2007). Following Burchell, Sehnbruch, Piasna and Agloni (2013), this is 'conceptually more advanced than previous attempts to measure the quality of employment' (Burchell et al., 2013, p. 8). Secondly, following the new directions of organisational fit theories (Kristof-Brown & Billsbery, 2013), we wanted to better understand how individuals make sense of fit. To this end, and because it represents proactive behaviour through which people take initiative to make changes in their jobs (Yu, 2013), we tested job crafting (JC) as an antecedent of NS fit. Moreover, because many studies have already highlighted the positive consequences of JC on individual outcomes (e.g. Tims & Bakker, 2010; Tims, Bakker & Derks, 2013), the present research tries to expand our understanding about the underlying mechanisms of this relationship. Thus we tested the double mediating role of specific NS fit (i.e. based on more specific work-related needs) and global NS fit (i.e. based on global job perceptions) between JC and two individual outcomes, namely burnout (BO) and work engagement (WE).

Literature review

Regarding our two objectives, this paper will firstly present NS fit theory particularly in terms of the importance of work-related needs for employment quality; we then present JC and the link between NS fit, JC, and individual outcomes.

Needs-supplies fit and specific work-related needs

NS fit refers to the congruence between needs on one side and job characteristics on the other (Kristof-Brown et al., 2005). NS fit is illustrated by the fit between needs and supplies that gives a general perception of needs fulfilment (Edwards & Shipp, 2007). For Kämpfe and Mitte (2009), neither the individual's current state, nor his or her goals are sufficient to predict well-being; it is more a question of the discrepancies between these. …

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