Making Things Happen: Reciprocal Relationships Between Work Characteristics and Personal Initiative in a Four-Wave Longitudinal Structural Equation Model

Department of Psychology, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
Journal of Applied Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.31). 08/2007; 92(4):1084-102. DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.92.4.1084
Source: PubMed


The authors used the frameworks of reciprocal determinism and occupational socialization to study the effects of work characteristics (consisting of control and complexity of work) on personal initiative (PI)--mediated by control orientation (a 2nd-order factor consisting of control aspiration, perceived opportunity for control, and self-efficacy) and the reciprocal effects of PI on changes in work characteristics. They applied structural equation modeling to a longitudinal study with 4 measurement waves (N = 268) in a transitional economy: East Germany. Results confirm the model plus 1 additional, nonhypothesized effect. Work characteristics had a synchronous effect on PI via control orientation (full mediation). There were also effects of control orientation and of PI on later changes in work characteristics: As predicted, PI functioned as partial mediator, changing work characteristics in the long term (reciprocal effect); unexpectedly, there was a 2nd reciprocal effect of an additional lagged partial mediation of control orientation on later work characteristics.

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    • "Fifth, we demonstrated that employee work engagement functions as a mediator that provides one compelling explanation for how individual traits and job characteristics translate into change-oriented behavior. To date, primary studies have tested employee's control and responsibility aspirations (Frese & Fay, 2001; Frese et al., 2007; Fuller et al., 2006) and proactive cognitive-motivational states (Parker et al., 2006) as possible mediators. Work engagement is another critical motivational state that captures both affective and cognitive reactions toward work (Kahn, 1990; Rich et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: We propose and meta-analytically test a theoretical model of individual and job-based predictors of change-oriented behaviors. Meta-analytic tests (106 effect sizes, N = 28,402) demonstrate that employee’s proactive personality is a stronger predictor of change-oriented behavior than the five-factor model (FFM) personality traits of openness and extraversion. Also, enriched job characteristics (autonomy, complexity, and task significance) are more important in predicting change-oriented behavior, than un-enriched job characteristics (routinization and formalization). Finally, we establish work engagement as a mediator that provides an explanation for how and why proactive personality and enriched job characteristics predict change-oriented behavior. We provide both theoretical and empirical integration of the literature with practical implications for managing change-oriented behaviors, which are increasingly recognized as important to both organizational effectiveness and employee career management.
    Journal of Vocational Behavior 02/2015; 88. DOI:10.1016/j.jvb.2015.02.006 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    • "In order for a team to form a revised strategy for action there has to be some consensus about what needs to be done and why. The reconstruction process of work allows the team to define extra-role goals and actions that are proactive (Frese et al., 2007). Team learning behaviours have consistently shown strong and positive relationships with performance (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore job design mechanisms that enhance team proactivity within a lean production system where autonomy is uttermost restricted. We propose and test a model where the team learning process of building shared meaning of work mediates the relationship between team participative decision-making, inter team relations and team proactive behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – The results are based on questionnaires to 417 employees within manufacturing industry (response rate 86 per cent) and managers’ ratings of team proactivity. The research model was tested by mediation analysis on aggregated data (56 teams). Findings – Team learning mediates the relationship between participative decision-making and inter team collaboration on team proactive behaviour. Input from stakeholders in the work flow and partaking in decisions about work, rather than autonomy in carrying out the work, enhance the teams’ proactivity through learning processes. Research limitations/implications – An investigation of the effects of different leadership styles and management policy on proactivity through team-learning processes might shed light on how leadership promotes proactivity, as results support the effects of team participative decision-making – reflecting management policy – on proactivity. Practical implications – Lean production stresses continuous improvements for enhancing efficiency, and such processes rely on individuals and teams that are proactive. Participation in forming the standardization of work is linked to managerial style, which can be changed and developed also within a lean concept. Based on our experiences of implementing the results in the production plant, we discuss what it takes to create and manage participative processes and close collaboration between teams on the shop floor, and other stakeholders such as production support, based on a shared understanding of the work and work processes. Social implications – Learning at the workplace is essential for long-term employability, and for job satisfaction and health. The lean concept is widely spread to both public bodies and enterprises, and it has been shown that it can be linked to increased stress and an increase in workload. Finding the potential for learning within lean production is essential for balancing the need of efficient production and employees’ health and well-being at work. Originality/value – Very few studies have investigated the paradox between lean and teamwork, yet many lean-inspired productions systems have teamwork as a pillar for enhancing effectiveness. A clear distinction between autonomy and participation contributes to the understanding of the links between job design, learning processes and team proactivity.
    Journal of Workplace Learning 01/2015; 27(1):19-33. DOI:10.1108/JWL-03-2014-0026
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    • "Another mechanism through which large-scale industries might be detrimental to the likelihood of starting a firm is occupational socialization (the shaping of the workers' personality characteristics through their everyday work experiences and conditions). Research in work psychology and sociology showed that work characteristics (e.g., autonomy, complexity of work tasks) shape personality features of the workers (Frese et al., 2007; Kohn and Schooler, 1982; Roberts et al., 2003). Hence, the prevalent, non-entrepreneurial work characteristics in large-scale industries (e.g., low autonomy, repetitive and monotonous tasks) might have contributed to a lack of entrepreneurial personality traits. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is mounting evidence demonstrating that entrepreneurship is spatially clustered and that these spatial differences are quite persistent over long periods of time. However, especially the sources of that persistence are not yet well-understood, and it is largely unclear whether persistent differences in entrepreneurship are reflected in differences in entrepreneurship culture across space as it is often argued in the previous literature. We approach the cluster phenomenon by theorizing that a historically high regional presence of large-scale firms negatively affects entrepreneurship, due to low levels of human capital and entrepreneurial skills, fewer opportunities for entry and entrepreneurship inhibiting formal and informal institutions. These effects can become self-perpetuating over time, ultimately resulting in persistent low levels of entrepreneurship activity and entrepreneurship culture. Using data from Great Britain, we analyze this long-term imprinting effect by using the distance to coalfields as an exogenous instrument for the regional presence of large-scale industries. IV regressions show that British regions with high employment shares of large-scale industries in the 19th century, due to spatial proximity to coalfields, have lower entrepreneurship rates and weaker entrepreneurship culture today. We control for an array of competing hypotheses like agglomeration forces, the regional knowledge stock, climate, and soil quality. Our main results are robust with respect to inclusion of these control variables and various other modifications which demonstrates the credibility of our empirical identification strategy. A mediation analysis reveals that a substantial part of the impact of large-scale industries on entrepreneurship is through human capital.
    European Economic Review 01/2015; · 1.53 Impact Factor
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