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Studies have found that job crafting and employee well-being are correlated. Less is known, however, about the contextual variables that support or thwart job crafting within an organization. The present study examined perceived autonomy support as one such contextual factor. Working adults (N = 250) completed a battery of measures on autonomy support, job crafting, and workplace well-being. A hypothesized model in which perceived autonomy support predicts job crafting, which in turn predicts workplace well-being was tested using structural equation modeling. The hypothesized model fit the data well; however, a competing model in which autonomy support and job crafting were separate, but correlated direct predictors of well-being provided a better fit to the data. Supplemental analyses suggested a synergistic relationship between job crafting and autonomy support in organizations, showing employees with the highest well-being did the most job crafting and experienced the highest amount of perceived autonomy support. Findings underscore the importance of both individual factors and contextual factors in supporting workplace well-being.
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Workplace Well‑Being: The Role ofJob
Crafting andAutonomy Support
Gavin R. Slemp*, Margaret L. Kern and Dianne A. Vella‑Brodrick
Background
Workplace well-being is recognized as a fundamental element of successful organiza-
tions, contributing to desirable outcomes such as job retention and enhanced perfor-
mance (Harter etal. 2002; Warr 1999). Employees’ expectations about the workplace
are expanding, with many looking for employment that will provide opportunities for
personal development, fulfilment, and well-being. Employees are increasingly seek-
ing to derive meaning, happiness, and social connections from their work, as well as
opportunities for professional learning and personal growth (Avolio and Sosik 1999;
Wrzesniewski etal. 1997). Hence, employers have benefitted from taking a proactive
approach to occupational health by moving beyond traditional incentives to also sup-
porting the psychological functioning and mental health of their employees, including
both hedonic (e.g., affect, satisfaction) and eudaimonic (e.g., meaning, engagement)
experiences (Page and Vella-Brodrick 2009). However, a greater understanding of fac-
tors that influence employee well-being may enable employers to intervene in a more
effective, cost-efficient manner, and it may also enable employees to apply greater con-
trol over their work experiences to increase their well-being. In this study, we explore
Abstract
Studies have found that job crafting and employee well‑being are correlated. Less is
known, however, about the contextual variables that support or thwart job crafting
within an organization. The present study examined perceived autonomy support as
one such contextual factor. Working adults (N = 250) completed a battery of measures
on autonomy support, job crafting, and workplace well‑being. A hypothesized model
in which perceived autonomy support predicts job crafting, which in turn predicts
workplace well‑being was tested using structural equation modeling. The hypothe‑
sized model fit the data well; however, a competing model in which autonomy support
and job crafting were separate, but correlated direct predictors of well‑being provided
a better fit to the data. Supplemental analyses suggested a synergistic relationship
between job crafting and autonomy support in organizations, showing employees
with the highest well‑being did the most job crafting and experienced the highest
amount of perceived autonomy support. Findings underscore the importance of both
individual factors and contextual factors in supporting workplace well‑being.
Keywords: Organizational behavior, Well‑being, Job crafting, Autonomy support,
Social context, Model testing
Open Access
© 2015 Slemp et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided
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if changes were made.
RESEARCH
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
DOI 10.1186/s13612‑015‑0034‑y
*Correspondence:
gavin.slemp@unimelb.edu.au
Centre for Positive
Psychology, Melbourne
Graduate School
of Education, The University
of Melbourne, 100 Leicester
Street, Level 2, Carlton, VIC
3010, Australia
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
the relationship between job crafting, perceived autonomy support, and workplace well-
being in a sample of working adults.
The Value ofWorkplace Well‑Being
Accumulating empirical evidence provides support for employee well-being as a valuable
strategic objective in organizations. For example, a review by Spector (1997) found that
employee engagement and employee citizenship behaviors are correlated; citizenship
behaviors in turn predict both individual and organizational-level performance variables
(Podsakoff etal. 2009). Employee engagement also correlates with employee punctual-
ity and time efficiency, less absenteeism, and higher retention rates (Spector 1997). A
meta-analysis of 7939 business units across 36 companies found significant associations
between employee satisfaction and engagement and business-unit outcomes, including
productivity and profit (Harter etal. 2002). More recently, Sears etal. (2013) examined
the relationship between the physical and mental well-being of 11,700 employees and
outcomes such as job performance ratings, presenteeism, and intention to stay, both
cross-sectionally and prospectively over a year. Well-being significantly predicted all
employee outcomes, even one year later. Moreover, increases in well-being correlated
with positive changes in work related outcomes. Taken together, the body of literature
shows a positive relationship between individual-level well-being variables and valued
organizational outcomes in workplaces. As a consequence, fostering practices that ena-
ble workplace well-being is not only a valuable initiative for employees, but it may also
enhance organizational level performance.
Individual Behavior andEmployee Well‑Being: The Role ofJob Crafting
Given the importance of employee well-being for desirable work-related outcomes, it is
not surprising that managers are becoming increasingly interested in ways to enhance
the well-being of their employees. Self-Determination eory (SDT; Deci and Ryan
2008; Ryan and Deci 2000), a general theory of human motivation, has generated sub-
stantial scholarly insight into how this might be achieved. SDT suggests that humans
have three intrinsic psychological needs that, when satisfied, lead to optimal function-
ing, growth, environmental coherence, and well-being: autonomy, relatedness, and com-
petence. Applied to the work context, autonomy refers to the feeling of being in control
of one’s work environment and feeling that one has a sense of volition and choice. Relat-
edness refers to the perception that one is able to form quality relationships at work.
Competence refers to one’s ability to experience a sense of efficacy or mastery at work.
e three needs have been researched extensively, and substantial empirical evidence
exists to support their importance for human flourishing (cf. Deci and Ryan 2000; Van-
steenkiste and Ryan 2013).
Given the evidence supporting the importance of autonomy, relatedness, and com-
petence for well-being, scholars have begun to explore ways in which these fundamen-
tal needs can be nurtured in various settings, including the workplace. Self-concordant
goal setting (Sheldon and Elliot 1999) and strengths use (Linley etal. 2010) have been
identified as helpful strategies. Another approachreferred to as person-job fit involves
increasing a sense of coherence between the individual and their job. Person-job fit
requires an alignment between the knowledge, strengths, skills, needs, and preferences
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
of the individual and the demands and requirements of the job (Edwards 1991; Kristof-
Brown etal. 2005). When this alignment is in place, individuals tend to be more engaged
and satisfied (Warr and Inceoglu 2012), likely because they are sufficiently challenged
without feeling overwhelmed. Job crafting (Wrzesniewski and Dutton 2001), which is
defined as “the physical and cognitive changes individuals make to the task or relational
boundaries of their work” (p. 179), is a method by which employees might create a bet-
ter fit between themselves and the demands of their jobs. By engaging in job crafting,
employees can essentially reshape their job such that it becomes more closely aligned
with their motivations for work, as well as their individual skills and preferences. is
process affects the nature of the job itself, including the demands experienced on the
job as well as a personal sense of efficacy for meeting those demands. A growing body of
research has found that job crafting enables individuals to strike an equilibrium between
the demands of their jobs and the personal resources they have to manage them (e.g.,
Tims etal. 2012, 2013a, b), which helps buffer against stress and increases engagement.
Wrzesniewski and Dutton’s (2001) original theoretical position suggests that employ-
ees can initiate job crafting in three distinct ways. First, they can proactively modify the
number, scope, or types of tasks they perform at work (task crafting). Second, they can
change the quality and/or amount of interaction they have with others at work (rela-
tional crafting). Finally, they can change the way in which they think about or perceive
their jobs (cognitive crafting). ese three sub-dimensions of job crafting relate to the
autonomy, relatedness, and competence needs espoused by SDT. rough job craft-
ing, employees can tailor their existing jobs to more closely align with their needs, val-
ues, and skillsets, producing a more internalized motivation for their work and thus
creating a more enjoyable, engaging, and meaningful experience on the job (Berg etal.
2010; Wrzesniewski 2003; Wrzesniewski and Dutton 2001). is theoretical model was
supported recently by Slemp and Vella-Brodrick (2014) who, using structural equation
modeling (SEM), found that job crafting predicted psychological need satisfaction at
work, which in turn predicted well-being. ese findings suggest that job crafting may
provide employees with an important avenue for enhancing their workplace well-being
through the satisfaction of psychological needs.
Contextual Factors andEmployee Well‑Being: The Role ofAutonomy Support
In addition to individual factors, contextual factors also influence well-being and psy-
chological needs (Freeney and Fellenz 2013). One such social-contextual factor that has
significant implications for workplace well-being is autonomy support (Baard etal. 2004;
Deci etal. 1989; Deci and Ryan 1987; Gagné 2003). Autonomy support refers to an inter-
personal orientation of one’s manager or work supervisor that involves acknowledging
and understanding employee perspectives, providing employees with opportunities for
volition over what they do and how they go about it, encouraging employee initiative,
and remaining open to new experiences (Baard etal. 2004; Moreau and Mageau 2012).
Managers with autonomy supportive leadership styles welcome employee self-initiation
and take steps to nurture the employee’s inner motivational resources. In contrast, those
with more controlling leadership styles tend to pressure employees to feel, think, or
behave in particular ways.
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
While environments supportive of autonomy tend to have positive outcomes for indi-
viduals, environments that are more controlling tend to have a negative effect on self-
motivation, persistence, and well-being (Chirkov and Ryan 2001; Pelletier etal. 2001;
Ryan and Deci 2000). In the work context, employees who have supervisors with an
autonomy supportive style report higher levels of satisfaction at work and better psy-
chological health (Gillet etal. 2013; Moreau and Mageau 2012), perform better (Baard
etal. 2004), and are more open to and accepting of organizational change (Gagné etal.
2000) than those with supervisors with a controlling style. Other studies have shown
that autonomy support predicts the satisfaction of workplace well-being through the sat-
isfaction of intrinsic needs (Deci etal. 2001).
The Current Study
Both individual factors (such as job crafting) and contextual factors (such as autonomy
support) are related to workplace well-being. Studies have found associations between
job autonomy and job crafting in daily diary studies (e.g., Petrou etal. 2012) and quali-
tative research (e.g., Berg etal. 2010). Moreover, numerous studies illustrate how indi-
vidual level variables and contextual variables in organizations interact to influence
individual and organizational outcomes (cf. Hart and Cooper 2001; Johns 2006). is
literature has shown that contextual factors can affect behavior directly or moderate
the relationship between variables in the workplace. Autonomy support is a contextual
variable in the workplace that has important implications for workplace behavior as it
produces a climate where self-initiation, proactivity, and volition are encouraged. Such a
climate is likely to foster human agency and more self-determined, discretionary behav-
ior (Deci and Ryan 1985; Ryan and Deci 2000) and could therefore lead to increases in
job crafting. Hence, an autonomy supportive work climate should provide the requisite
conditions that enable more self-initiated, discretionary behaviors in organizations, such
as job crafting. is could, in turn, improve employee well-being.
To our knowledge, this set of relationships has not been directly investigated. e aim
of this study was to take the first steps to address this gap by empirically examining a
theoretical model in which autonomy support predicts job crafting, which in turn pre-
dicts greater workplace well-being (see Fig.1). As studies have shown that job crafting
Autonomy
Support Job Craing
Workplace
Posive Affect
Workplace
Negave Affect
Job
Sasfacon
Workplace
Well-being
Fig. 1 Hypothesized model where autonomy support predicts job crafting, which in turn predicts workplace
well‑being. Job crafting is defined in terms of three sub‑factors (task, relational, and cognitive). Workplace
well‑being is shown here as a higher order factor, comprised of positive affect, negative affect, and job satis‑
faction. In our empirical model, to identify the model, these were tested as three separate, correlated latent
outcome variables
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
is related to well-being (e.g., Nielsen and Abildgaard 2012; Petrou etal. 2012; Slemp
and Vella-Brodrick 2014), we hypothesized that job crafting is the mediating variable in
the model, and that autonomy support is the antecedent, as it provides the conditions
that allow employees to engage in job crafting activities. Well-being has been defined in
numerous ways. One of the most common definitions of subjective well-being includes
both cognitive (i.e., life satisfaction) and affective (high positive affect, low negative
affect) components (Diener etal. 1999). Applying this definition to the workplace, we
define workplace well-being in terms of workplace positive and negative affect, and job
satisfaction.
Methods
Participants andProcedure
e current study analyzed existing data from a battery of questionnaires that was
administered online to employees in Australia in 2011. Most participants were con-
tacted through a representative at their workplace who made an announcement about
an opportunity to participate in the research, and then employees opted into the study.
Announcements about the study were made within a higher education institution, a
banking and financial services organization, and a health insurance organization. Other
participants were informed about the study through online social networking sites and
discussion forums. Participants were directed to an explanatory statement which con-
tained a link to the online battery of questionnaires. All procedures were approved by
the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee.
Of 334 employees who began the study, 250 (74.9%) completed the scales for use in
this study and were included in the analyses reported here. e majority of the partici-
pants were female (67.2%) and were on average 41.90years of age (SD=11.30). Most
of the participants were employed on a full-time basis (76.40%) and on average par-
ticipants worked 38.04h a week (SD=12.11), had completed 17.52years of education
(SD=3.56), and earned $75,764 Australian dollars per year (SD=$50,288). e partici-
pants worked in education (68.0%), banking and finance (6.5%), healthcare (6.0%), or
other/unknown (19.50%).
Measures
To test the hypothesized model, participants completed measures that addressed auton-
omy support, job crafting, positive and negative affect, and job satisfaction. Demo-
graphic information was also requested.
Autonomy Support
Autonomy support was measured with the 15-item Work Climate Questionnaire
(WCQ; Baard et al. 2004). e scale was adapted to the workplace context from two
other questionnaires: the Health Care Climate Questionnaire (HCCQ; Williams etal.
1996), which assesses the degree of perceived autonomy supportiveness felt towards
one’s health care provider, and the Learning Climate Questionnaire (LCQ; Williams and
Deci 1996), which measures the degree to which medical students feel their instructor
is autonomy supportive. e WCQ assesses the degree of perceived autonomy support-
iveness felt towards one’s workplace manager. A sample item is “My manager listens to
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
how I would like to do things”. Responses are recorded on a 7-point scale (1=strongly
disagree, 7=strongly agree). e scale showed high internal consistency in the current
sample (α=0.97).
Job Crafting
Job crafting was measured with the 15-item Job Crafting Questionnaire (JCQ; Slemp
and Vella-Brodrick 2013), which assesses the extent to which employees engage in vari-
ous forms of task, relational, and cognitive crafting. Items represent different types of
job crafting behaviors or cognitions, and respondents indicate the frequency with which
they engage in each one (1=hardly ever, 6=very often). Sample items include: “Intro-
duce new tasks you think better suit your skills or interests” (task crafting), “ink about
how your job gives your life purpose” (cognitive crafting), and “Make an effort to get to
know people well at work” (relational crafting). Slemp and Vella-Brodrick (2013) pro-
vided evidence of the factorial validity of the scale as well as evidence of convergent
validity. For the current study, the overall scale and sub-factors showed high internal
consistency (overall: α=0.91; task: 5 items, α=0.86; relational: 5 items, α=0.84; cogni-
tive: 5 items, α=0.90).
Composite scores for each job crafting sub-factor were calculated as the mean of the
relevant items, and were subsequently used as the three observed variables for the latent
job craftingvariable.
Workplace Well‑Being
Workplace well-being (WWB) was measured using Warr’s (1990) affective well-being
scales to assess the affective components of WWB, and the Michigan Organizational
Assessment Questionnaire (MOAQ; Cammann et al. 1979) to measure the cognitive
component of WWB. Warr’s affective well-being scales contain 12 descriptor words that
measure both positive affect (PA; 6 items) and negative affect (NA; 6 items) across a con-
tinuum of emotional arousal (e.g., “cheerful” and “contented” for high and low arousal
PA, respectively; “worried” and “depressed” for high and low arousal NA, respectively).
Participants indicate the frequency with which they experience each of the emotions at
work on a 6-point scale (1=never, 6=all of the time). In the current sample, internal
consistency was high (PA: 6 items, α=0.94; NA: 6 items, α=0.92).
e MOAQ uses three items to measure global job satisfaction. A sample item is “All
in all, I am satisfied with my job”. Participants indicate the extent to which they agree
with each item on a 7-point scale (1= strongly disagree, 7=strongly agree). Studies
have supported the validity of the scale (e.g., Bowling and Hammond 2008). In the pre-
sent study, internal consistency was high (α=0.90).
Data Analyses
Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used for the data analysis in this study, using
the two-step approach recommended by Anderson and Gerbing (1988). First, to ensure
that the observed variables were satisfactorily related to their respective latent variables
for each scale, we tested the measurement models. Exploratory factor analyses (EFA)
were used to reduce the overall number of items and establish an adequate measure-
ment model, and then confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) tested the final measurement
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
model for each latent variable (autonomy support, job crafting, and workplace well-
being). Second, SEM tested the hypothesized structural model (Fig.1). Analyses were
performed using the lavaan package (Rosseel 2012) of the open source R software (ver-
sion 3.1.2), with maximum likelihood estimation.
Six different fit indices were used to test the fit of the measurement and structural
models: Chi square, the normed Chi square (χ2/df), the comparative fit index (CFI;
Bentler 1990), the non-normed fit index (NNFI; Tucker and Lewis 1973), the standard-
ized root mean square residual (SRMR) and the root mean square error of approxima-
tion (RMSEA; Browne and Cudeck 1993). ere are numerous recommendations and
disagreements over appropriate cutoff criteria on these indices, but general rules of
thumb suggest that relatively good fit is indicated by values exceeding 0.90 for the NNFI,
values above or approaching 0.95 for the CFI, and values less than 0.08 for the SRMR
and the RMSEA (Hu and Bentler 1999). As the Chi square statistic tends to be affected
by sample size as well as the size of the correlations in the model, we included the nor-
med Chi square index. ere are numerous guidelines for this statistic; Bollen (1989)
recommended values under three as indicative of good fit.
Results
Establishing the Measurement Models
Before testing the structural model, Anderson and Gerbing’s (1988) two-step approach
to SEM requires satisfactory measurement models. Beginning with autonomy support,
confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) tested a single latent variable model with all 15 items
as observed variables. On the whole, this model fit the data poorly [χ2 (90)=513.82,
p<0.05, χ2/df=5.71, CFI=0.904, NNFI=0.888, SRMR=0.034, RMSEA=0.137
(90% confidence interval 0.13–0.15)]. To improve the fit of the model and to shorten
the length of the autonomy support scale, we randomly split the sample into a devel-
opment and test set. With the development set (n=144), EFA with principle compo-
nents estimation identified the items with the highest factor loadings. e five highest
loading items showed high internal consistency (α=0.96). We then confirmed the five
item model with the test set (n=106), which showed that model fit was much improved
[χ2 (5)= 3.30, p> 0.05, χ2/df=0.659, CFI= 1.000, NNFI=1.007, SRMR= 0.009,
RMSEA=0.000 (CI 0.00–0.11)]. Combining the development and test sets, the short-
ened scale adequately fit the data [χ2 (5)=9.88, p>0.05, χ2/df=1.976, CFI=0.996,
NNFI=0.993, SRMR=0.008, RMSEA=0.062 (CI 0.00–0.12)] and showed high inter-
nal consistency (α=0.96).
Next, we tested job crafting, with the 15 items loading on three sub-factors (task
crafting, relational crafting, and cognitive crafting), which in turn loaded on a higher
order job crafting factor. e data adequately fit this model [χ2 (87)=190.89, p<0.05,
χ2/df=2.183, CFI=0.948, NNFI=0.937, SRMR=0.048, RMSEA=0.069 (CI 0.06–
0.08)], so no modifications were made.
For workplace well-being, we opted to reduce the number of items overall in order
to balance the number of items for job satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect.
As job satisfaction consisted of three items, we examined whether affect could be simi-
larly reduced to three-item scales for both PA and NA. In the development set (n=144),
EFA identified the top loading items for both PA and NA. We selected three items per
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
factor, ensuring there was a mix of high and low arousal emotions included. We then
confirmed the well-being factors in a measurement model in the test set (n=106), with
three items each for job satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. is meas-
urement model fit the data reasonably well [χ2 (24)=47.48, p <0.05, χ2/df=1.978,
CFI= 0.970, NNFI =0.955, SRMR=0.041, RMSEA=0.096 (CI 0.06–0.14)]. ese
shortened subscales also showed high internal consistency (PA: α=0.89; NA: α=0.88;
JS: α=0.92). Combining the development and test samples, the shortened scales ade-
quately fit the data [χ2 (24)=56.89, p<0.05, χ2/df=2.370, CFI=0.981, NNFI=0.972,
SRMR=0.034, RMSEA = 0.074 (CI 0.05–0.10)], with adequate internal consistency
(PA: α=0.89, NA: α=0.88; JS: α=0.90).
Composite scores for autonomy support, job crafting (with task, relational, and cog-
nitive sub-factors), and workplace well-being (with job satisfaction, positive affect, and
negative affect sub-factors) were calculated. Variable descriptives and inter-correlations
for the final reduced scales are presented in Table1. All variables were strongly corre-
lated, with the weakest associations between relational crafting and negative affect, as
well as job satisfaction. As expected, all variables were positively correlated, except nega-
tive affect, which inversely related to the other variables.
In addition, we examined demographic variables (age, gender, years of education, and
income) as possible covariates. Gender was correlated with relational crafting (r=0.24,
p<0.01). Gender was thus added into the structural model, as an antecedent to rela-
tional crafting.
Testing the Hypothesized Structural Model
We next tested the full hypothesized structural model (Fig. 1). e model adequately
fit the data [χ2 (128)= 283.54, p <0.05, χ2/df= 2.215, CFI =0.956, NNFI= 0.947,
SRMR= 0.102, RMSEA=0.070 (CI 0.06–0.08)]. For comparison, we compared the
hypothesized model with two competing models. First, it is possible that job crafting is
the antecedent and autonomy support is the mediator, which would suggest that employ-
ees can craft their work experience in a way that allows them to obtain more autonomy
from their direct supervisor or manager, which in turn leads to well-being. Hence, model
2 reversed the arrow, with job crafting predicting autonomy support, which in turn pre-
dicted workplace well-being. is model produced a slightly better fit to the data [χ2
(128)=264.94, p< 0.05, χ2/df=2.070, CFI= 0.961, NNFI=0.953, SRMR=0.074,
RMSEA=0.065 (CI 0.05–0.08)]. It is also possible that job crafting and autonomy sup-
port are two independent but correlated predictors of workplace well-being, which
would suggest that contextual and individual factors are two independent pathways
toward workplace well-being. Model 3 tested this set of relationships. is last model
best fit the data [χ2 (125)=225.75, p<0.05, χ2/df=1.806, CFI=0.971, NNFI=0.965,
SRMR=0.046, RMSEA=0.057 (CI 0.05–0.07)] and is depicted in Fig.2.
Supplementary Analysis
Although the best fitting model suggests that job crafting and autonomy support are
both important factors predicting workplace well-being, it is also possible that there is
a synergistic association, such that the highest levels of well-being occur when both job
crafting and autonomy support are present. We explored this possibility in two ways.
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Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
Table 1 Variable descriptives andinter-correlations
*p<0.05, **p<0.01
a Total Job Crafting is a composite of the Task Crafting, Relational Crafting, and Cognitive Crafting variables
b Negative Aect items were reverse coded to create the Workplace Well‑being composite
c Workplace Well‑being is a composite of the Positive Aect, Negative Aect, and Job Satisfaction variables
Variable NMean SD Min Max 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Perceived autonomy support 250 4.54 1.85 1.00 7.00
2. Task crafting 250 3.83 1.13 1.00 6.00 0.37**
3. Relational crafting 250 3.69 1.13 1.00 6.00 0.20** 0.46**
4. Cognitive crafting 250 3.68 1.21 1.00 6.00 0.29** 0.55** 0.47**
5. Total job craftinga250 3.73 0.94 1.00 5.80 0.35** 0.82** 0.79** 0.84**
6. Positive affect 250 3.21 1.18 1.00 6.00 0.55** 0.43** 0.25** 0.44** 0.46**
7. Negative affect 250 2.28 1.15 1.00 6.00 0.47** 0.29** 0.15* 0.28** 0.30** 0.66**
8. Job satisfaction 250 4.89 1.59 1.00 7.00 0.54** 0.38** 0.19** 0.46** 0.42** 0.68** 0.68**
9. Workplace well‑beingb,c 250 4.28 1.16 1.11 6.33 0.59** 0.42** 0.21** 0.45** 0.45** 0.87** 0.86** 0.91**
10. Gender 247 0.05 0.11 0.24** 0.11 0.19** 0.04 0.06 0.06 0.06
Page 10 of 17
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
First, we estimated three linear regressions, predicting PA, NA, and job satisfaction from
job crafting, autonomy support, and the interaction of the two. e interaction term was
computed by multiplying the centered composite job crafting (JC) and autonomy sup-
port (AS) predictor variables (Aiken and West 1991). e interaction was significant for
PA (β=0.118, p=0.02), and non-significant for NA (β=0.017, p=0.77) and job satis-
faction (β=0.019, p=0.71). is finding suggests that employees who engaged in high
levels of job crafting and who perceived their managers as high on autonomy support
had the highest levels of positive affect, whereas employees who engaged in the lowest
levels of job crafting and who perceived their managers as low on autonomy support had
the lowest levels of positive affect.
Second, we constructed four comparison groups based upon tertile splits on the com-
posite JC and AS variables: low AS-low JC (n=45); high AS-low JC (n=13); low AS-
high JC (n=26); high AS-high JC (n=44), and mean levels of well-being for each group
were compared using Tukey’s HSD (see Table2). As illustrated in Fig.3, results sup-
ported the regression analyses, with an interaction between job crafting and autonomy
support for positive emotion, and a similar pattern for life satisfaction. Employees with
high autonomy support and high job crafting had significantly higher levels of both posi-
tive affect and job satisfaction than employees low on either job crafting or autonomy
support. e high AS-high JC group reported lower negative affect than the low AS-low
JC group and the low AS-high JC group, but was not significantly different from the high
AS-low JC group. Hence, autonomy support appeared to exhibit a stronger relationship
with negative workplace emotions than did job crafting.
Discussion
e present study investigated associations between perceived autonomy support, job
crafting, and workplace well-being. We hypothesized that perceived autonomy support
would predict employee job crafting, which in turn would predict workplace well-being.
Although this hypothesized model adequately fit the data, an alternative model in which
Work NA
Work PA
Job Sat
Cheerful
Content.
O
p
m.
JS1
JS2
JS3
Worried
De
p
ress.
Miserable
Gender
.41
-.40
-.21
.40
.43
.45
.35
-.58
-.57
.56
.18
Job Craing
Task
Rel
Co
g
.74
.57
.77
Aut. Support
AS1
AS2
AS3
AS4
AS5
.94
.92
.90
.87
.88
.92
.92
.72
.89
.84
.86
.94
.79
.86
Fig. 2 Standardized parameter estimates for the full, accepted structural model. All path and measurement
coefficients are significant at p < 0.01. Chi square (N = 250, df = 125) = 225.75, χ2/df = 1.806, CFI = 0.971,
NNFI = 0.965, SRMR = 0.046, RMSEA = 0.057 (CI 0.05–0.07). Task task crafting composite, Rel relational craft‑
ing composite, Cog cognitive crafting composite, Work NA workplace negative affect, Work PA workplace
positive affect, Job Sat job satisfaction
Page 11 of 17
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
autonomy support and job crafting were correlated independent predictors of well-being
best fit the data. Supplemental analyses supported a synergistic relationship, in which
the combination of job crafting and autonomy support was associated with the high-
est levels of workplace well-being. is finding points to a reciprocal process between
job crafting and autonomy support, whereby employees can potentially craft their
experience of work to obtain more autonomy support into their roles, and vice versa—
autonomy support can provide greater scope for employees to engage in job crafting in
Table 2 Tukey’s HSD tests comparing combinations oflow and high autonomy support
andjob crafting, foreach workplace well-being outcome
Groups are based on tertile splits on the AS and JC variables. Mean dierence values are compared to the High AS‑High JC
group
AS autonomy support, JC job crafting
*p<0.05
Dependent variable Group N M (SD) Mean dierence Std. error
Workplace positive
affect High AS–High JC 44 4.35 (0.98)
Low AS–Low JC 45 2.22 (0.77) 2.13* 0.21
High AS–Low JC 13 2.85 (1.09) 1.50* 0.31
Low AS–High JC 26 2.91 (1.10) 1.43* 0.25
Workplace negative
affect High AS–High JC 44 1.57 (0.66)
Low AS–Low JC 45 3.08 (1.22) 1.51* 0.22
High AS–Low JC 13 2.00 (1.16) 0.43 0.33
Low AS–High JC 26 2.68 (1.10) 1.10* 0.26
Job satisfaction High AS–High JC 44 6.22 (0.74)
Low AS–Low JC 45 3.43 (1.52) 2.79* 0.29
High AS–Low JC 13 4.82 (1.27) 1.40* 0.43
Low AS–High JC 26 4.41 (1.61) 1.81* 0.33
a Positive Affect b Negative Affect
c Job Satisfaction
1
2
3
4
5
6
Low Autonomy support High Autonomy support
Posive Affect
1
2
3
4
5
6
Low Autonomy supportHigh Autonomy support
Negave Affect
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low Autonomy support High Autonomy support
Job Sasfacon
Low job craing
High job craing
Fig. 3 Testing the synergistic effect between job crafting and autonomy support on a positive affect, b
negative affect, and c job satisfaction. Low and high groups are based on tertiles splits on the job crafting
and autonomy support variables
Page 12 of 17
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
organizations. ese findings support the idea that both individual and contextual fac-
tors matter for workplace well-being.
Findings from the current study are consistent with the notion that the workplace con-
text is malleable, and can thus be changed through individual actions such as job craft-
ing. Job crafting is about changing the experience of work in a bottom up fashion. It
requires employees to initiate changes to the reality of one’s job, which by implication
will change the context in which the employee works. Task crafting in particular, which
involves initiating changes to the various tasks one faces on the job, provides an impor-
tant avenue through which employees can shape the contexts in which they work. Task
crafting provides employees with potential opportunities to introduce new elements
into their jobs, initiate changes to the design of their jobs or, indeed, initiate changes to
the organizations for which they work (Wrzesniewski etal. 2013). All of these actions
could produce changes in the context of the work itself, which may have reciprocal con-
sequences for initiating further actions that involve job crafting. Such behaviors would
also be consistent with previous qualitative data suggesting that employees can initiate
responses to overcome perceived challenges to engaging in job crafting in organizations
(Berg etal. 2010). A lack of autonomy support may be one such challenge to overcome
when initiating job crafting.
Current findings also supported the idea that the context matters for individual behav-
iors. A growing body of literature finds that the work context, including tasks, social, and
physical characteristics of organizations, can influence behavior directly or moderate
relationships between variables in organizations (Johns 2006). Autonomy support from
one’s direct supervisor is a proximal social-contextual factor that is strongly predictive of
behavior (cf. Gagné and Deci 2005), likely because perceived autonomy supportiveness
has implications for the source of motivation people feel about their behavior. Auton-
omy supportive contexts facilitate autonomous motivation and the self-determination
of behavior, whereas contexts that are more controlling tend to undermine this process.
is finding extends well beyond organizational research and includes studies in medical
settings (e.g., Williams etal. 1996, 2006; Williams and Deci 1996), sporting settings (e.g.,
Lim and Wang 2009; Hagger etal. 2003; Standage etal. 2006), and educational settings
(e.g., Black and Deci 2000; Guay and Vallerand 1997; Ryan and Grolnick 1986). Within
the workplace context, managers can provide opportunities that support job crafting
and encourage employee attempts to engage in job crafting.
Consistent with studies finding that both autonomy support and job crafting are
related to well-being (e.g., Deci etal. 2001; Gagné and Deci 2005; Moreau and Mageau
2012; Nielsen and Abildgaard 2012; Petrou etal. 2012; Slemp and Vella-Brodrick 2014;
Tims etal. 2012, 2013a, b), the current study also found that both factors independently
predicted workplace well-being. However, there was also some suggestion of a synergis-
tic relationship between autonomy support and job crafting, such that employees with
the greatest positive affect both perceived their managers as the most autonomy sup-
portive, and engaged in the highest amounts of job crafting. While this finding poten-
tially highlights the importance of both individual level factors as well as contextual
factors in relation to workplace well-being, the cross sectional nature of the data lim-
its the ability to establish the causal sequence underlying this relationship and future
research with longitudinal and experimental data is needed.
Page 13 of 17
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
It is also worth noting that females reported higher levels of relational crafting than
did males. is finding is consistent with research showing that women tend to pursue
more intimate patterns of sociality and belongingness than men do (e.g., Baumeister and
Sommer 1997; Cross and Madson 1997). Such behavioral patterns might be more easily
detected by the relational crafting items, which were generally focused on behavior con-
sistent with the pursuit of closer connections with colleagues, making friends at work,
and more intimate patterns of sociality.
Limitations
e present study should be interpreted in light of several limitations. First, although we
tested different directional models, the data are cross-sectional and it is thus impossible
to make inferences about causality. Future research might help to establish the causal
direction of the associations more clearly through experiments and longitudinal studies.
Second, the measures were self-reported, which provides limited information. Future
work can be strengthened by moving beyond self-reports, including multiple perspec-
tives and modes of assessment. ird, the validity of the measures needs to be better
established. e JCQ is still in its early stages of development, and greater evidence of
its reliability and validity are needed. For autonomy support and well-being, we created
shortened versions of the measures. Future studies might consider further revising the
scales used in this study.
Fourth, the sample was relatively homogenous in terms of its nationality, education,
and income, and contained more females than males. e socioeconomic status of
this sample is also slightly higher than is typical in most industrialized societies, which
impedes the generalizability of the findings to more diverse groups, including blue-
collar employees and those from different cultures. Fifth, although the sample size was
sufficient for testing a structural model, it was still relatively small. Findings should be
replicated in a larger sample. Although this study provides an initial empirical test of
the combined association of contextual and individual factors on workplace well-being,
numerous other more sophisticated models can be tested in the future.
Implications
Despite these limitations, the present study has several implications for organizations
and scholars. e findings suggest that both autonomy support and job crafting explain
unique variance in workplace well-being, and hence, organizations might benefit from
targeting both employees and managers to improve employee engagement, satisfac-
tion, and mental health. is might involve, for example, educating those in positions of
management about adopting more autonomy supportive approaches when supervising
their staff, as well as educating employees about ways to craft additional autonomy sup-
portiveness into their roles. Managers could adopt a more strategic approach to building
autonomy support into their management style, which may further enable job crafting in
organizations. For example, management could incorporate discussions about job craft-
ing into development planning meetings with their staff, allow employees to take more
ownership of their roles, or perhaps provide training opportunities to teach employees
about job crafting (Wrzesniewski 2014). is autonomy supportive approach may enable
greater scope for personal growth and meaning, as it fosters autonomously motivated
Page 14 of 17
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
behavior and greater internalization of work tasks. rough an autonomy supportive
approach, managers can provide the context that supports employee job crafting, which
in turn may help employees improve their workplace well-being.
At the same time, employees can initiate actions that will provide high levels of auton-
omy support. For example, employees might craft their jobs in a way that allows them to
attain more workplace autonomy from their direct supervisor or manager. Employees
might request a change in decision making authority (either to obtain more or less of it),
employees might take opportunities to be more open and up-front with management,
or employees might provide feedback to their manager in order to produce an intended
change in how they are personally managed or supervised at work. ese are examples
of how an employee might attempt to influence the support style of supervisors to be
more supportive of autonomy and workplace well-being.
e findings also point to the value of studying both individual workplace behaviors
and the organizational context to better understand the conditions under which employ-
ees are likely to flourish. While the agentic nature of job crafting is promising because it
emphasizes the employee’s role in potentially enhancing their experience of work, ulti-
mately employee agency is either supported or inhibited by various environmental and
contextual forces within organizations (e.g., Crant 2000; Gagné and Deci 2005; Parker
etal. 2006). It is fundamental to understand what these forces are and their relation-
ship with individual behavior such as job crafting, as these insights will allow for more
targeted and comprehensive interventions to improve employee well-being. e cur-
rent study offers a contribution by directly linking job crafting with autonomy support-
ive work climates. Despite the study limitations, this finding offers a useful early step in
determining the structural associations amongst the many multi-level factors that may
influence workplace well-being. While our findings clearly suggest that both job craft-
ing and autonomy support are key independent and complimentary predictors, future
research might expand this model using larger samples and more sophisticated methods
that allow for causal inferences. Future work might also explore other, more distal con-
textual factors (e.g., perceived organizational support) and hence shed further light on
the conditions that may enable enhanced employee mental health.
Conclusion
e present study provides empirical support that both individual and contextual fac-
tors matter for workplace well-being. is finding underscores the importance of inves-
tigating the context as well as individual differences in behavior in relation to well-being,
both of which may help scholars to explain more variance in employee well-being and
also develop more effective strategies for improving employee mental health.
Authors’ contributions
GRS developed the research questions/hypotheses (with DAVB), collected the data, conducted the data analyses (with
MLK), and wrote the method, results, and discussion sections of the manuscript. MLK contributed in the analysis and
interpretation of the data (with GRS), and reviewed, refined, and helped write all drafts of the manuscript. DAVB was
involved in the development of the research questions/hypotheses (with GRS) and drafted an introduction section to
the manuscript, as well as reviewed all full drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with ethical guidelines
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Page 15 of 17
Slemp et al. Psych Well-Being (2015) 5:7
Received: 5 February 2015 Accepted: 4 August 2015
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... In reality, an employee becomes "crafter" of their work when the workplace provides flexibility and space for employee to make decision on redesigning their jobs, and balancing workload and resources. Subsequently, this decisionmaking creates a more engaging, meaningful, and enthusiastic working experience (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001;Slemp et al., 2015;Van-Wingerden, Bakker & Derks, 2017) because employee will have a lower stress and a higher psychological availability that could in turn enhance employees' well-being ( Van-Wingerden et al., 2017). ...
... A high degree of job autonomy will trigger job crafting by signaling employees that they have enough opportunity and independence to take initiative changes (Petrou et al., 2012;Sekiguchi et al., 2017;Debus et al., 2019;Saragih et al., 2020). In addition, studies indicate that a higher level of autonomy encourages employees to execute a range of tasks, responsibilities, and will be positively related to a higher level of self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation (Slemp et al., 2015;Saragih et al., 2020). Not only increase motivation, the Job Demand-Resource Model (JD-R model) also improves the number of structural resources, social resources, and challenges at a job. ...
... Perceived autonomy at the workplace would lead to job crafting behavior, which in turn would be associated with higher subjective well-being. The result of this study supports hypothesis 4, which is consistent with what was found by Slemp et al. (2015), and Saragih et al. (2020). These result indicates that during the pandemic, employees who enjoy flexibility (in choosing time, methods, and place) to accomplish their works are prone to redefine their job to fit their needs and make their job more satisfying, meaningful, and leading to better well-being (Demerouti & Bakker, 2014). ...
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Book
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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