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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