Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Bidirectional Work-Family Enrichment Mediates the Relationship between Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors and Work Engagement

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Bidirectional Work-Family Enrichment Mediates the Relationship between Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors and Work Engagement

Article excerpt

Work engagement, which is defined as "a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption" (Schaufeli, Salanova, González-Romá, & Bakker, 2002, p. 74), has become a popular topic in the human resource management field (Bal, Kooij, & De Jong, 2013). Previous researchers have corroborated that engaged employees contribute to organizations' success (e.g., Xanthopoulou, Bakker, Demerouti, & Schaufeli, 2009); thus, we believe it is worthwhile to explore the factors that influence work engagement in the organizational context. Drawing on the job demands-resources (JD-R) model (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001), previous scholars have consistently shown that job resources, such as a supportive work environment, positively influence employees' work engagement (e.g., Nahrgang, Morgeson, & Hofmann, 2011). However, the increasing participation of women in the workforce and a heightened concern for the quality of life among workers (Greenhaus & Kossek, 2014) have created a series of challenges for employers to motivate employees to fully engage in their work (James, McKechnie, & Swanberg, 2011). Further, work-family scholars have been ineffectual in recommending that employers create family-friendly workplaces because they often fail to consider employers' critical interests and, therefore, suggest impractical interventions for application to the work-family interface (Kossek, Baltes, & Matthews, 2011).

With these deliberations in mind, we drew on the resource-gain-development (RGD) perspective (Wayne, Grzywacz, Carlson, & Kacmar, 2007), and used a longitudinal design to explore whether FSSB can improve work engagement over time. As a practical, trainable, and boundary-spanning resource (Voydanoff, 2005), FSSB are aimed at helping employees fulfill their family responsibilities (Hammer, Kossek, Yragui, Bodner, & Hanson, 2008). Finding that FSSB facilitate work engagement over time will, on a theoretical level, extend the antecedents of work engagement from job resources to boundary-spanning resources, and, on a practical level, promote organizations' effective management of the work-family interface. Therefore, we sought to determine how FSSB predict work engagement. We were unable to find any prior research in which the mechanism of the interaction between FSSB and work engagement has been explored. Thus, by examining bidirectional work-family enrichment as the mediating mechanism, our findings should provide insight into how FSSB affect work engagement. These goals were driven partly by recent recommendations to focus on the mediating role that bidirectional work-family enrichment may play in linking workplace support factors and positive work-related outcomes (Nicklin & McNall, 2013), as well as calls in the work-family literature to expand beyond cross-sectional data collection methodologies (Odle-Dusseau, Britt, & Greene- Shortridge, 2012).

Because the work-family body of literature in non-Western contexts is relatively scarce (Kossek et al., 2011) and because cultural characteristics may influence how individuals solve work-family issues (Hammer et al., 2008), our final goal was to contribute to the literature by examining the proposed relationships in the Eastern context of China. China has a collectivistic culture in which employees desire to have personal employer-employee relationships (Hofstede, 2001). As a result, Chinese employees allow or even desire their supervisors to support their family life, and may feel more comfortable and more positive with FSSB compared to employees in societies with a less collectivistic culture.

Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors and Work Engagement

As a boundary-spanning social support resource (Voydanoff, 2005), familysupportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB) have been defined as "effective behaviors exhibited by supervisors that are supportive of employees' family roles" (Hammer et al. …

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