Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Effects of Leader–member Exchange, Internal Social Capital, and Thriving on Job Crafting

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Effects of Leader–member Exchange, Internal Social Capital, and Thriving on Job Crafting

Article excerpt

Job crafting is a proactive process of job content negotiation and job meaning reframing. Wrzesniewski and Dutton (2001) defined job crafting as "the physical and cognitive changes individuals make in the task or relational boundaries of their work" (p. 179). Some scholars have pointed out that job crafting is determined by the workplace environment and individual differences, such as job autonomy, supportive supervision, and proactive personality (Bakker, Tims, & Derks, 2012). However, these researchers overlooked individuals' ability and need to craft their job (Berg, Wrzesniewski, & Dutton, 2010). Scholars have called attention to the fact that job crafting is influenced not only by the employees themselves but also by managers. Researchers have found that servant leadership and employee-oriented leadership are positively related to job crafting (Lichtenthaler & Fischbach, 2018; Yang, Ming, Ma, & Huo, 2017). However, the focus in those studies was also on environmental factors, and the researchers ignored employees' relationships with leaders and other colleagues, which could change the environment. Berg et al. (2010) pointed out that employee interaction is an essential element of job crafting, and Tims, Bakker, and Derks (2013) observed that job crafting is positively related to structural and social resources, and also influences employees' wellbeing. Given this, identifying the relational factors that motivate individuals to change their work environment and further craft their jobs seemed to us an urgent issue in job crafting research.

Accordingly, based on the perspective of person-environment fit (Parker & Collins, 2010) we sought to establish whether employees' interpersonal connections are related to job crafting. Specifically, we proposed that an employee's leader-member exchange (LMX) would create a favorable environment to craft his or her job, by encouraging the employee to alter the job components and work tasks. To address which factors promote LMX to better explain job crafting, we considered the moderating role of internal social capital, which is defined as an individual's social trust, norms, values, and resources acquired from interpersonal relationships that help him or her to achieve individual or collective goals (Pastoriza & Ariño, 2013). From the organizational embeddedness perspective, Qi, Li, and Zhang (2014) demonstrated that internal social capital moderates the relationship between organizational embeddedness and job crafting. Internal social capital also plays a moderating role in the relationship between affective commitment and job crafting. However, in the extant research the influence from the environment has been ignored. Thus, in the current research our aim was to extend internal social capital research by constructing a model based on a person-environment fit perspective. We also examined the interactive effects of LMX, internal social capital, and thriving on job crafting. Thriving is a psychological state in which an individual experiences vitality and learning when working (Spreitzer, Sutcliffe, Dutton, Sonenshein, & Grant, 2005). By introducing thriving into the equation of LMX and internal social capital, we expected to gain a better understanding of what motivates job crafting.

Theory and Hypotheses

Particularly because job crafting is, initially, an individual behavior, employees' perceptions of the possibility to craft their job may be influenced by the work environment (Tims et al., 2013). As employees are embedded in the organization, interpersonal context may relate to job crafting (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001). LMX, as a type of relationship developed between a leader and his or her subordinates (Graen & Scandura, 1987), reflects their mutual support, trust, and affection (Le Blanc & González-Romá, 2012). This relationship is an important feature of the organizational environment, and encourages individuals to perceive the opportunity to change their job components and work tasks. …

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