Be challenged, be engaged: how work demands increase your engagement

Dmello, Deepali and Russell, Emma (2019) Be challenged, be engaged: how work demands increase your engagement. In: British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) Annual Conference 2019: Thriving at Work; 9-11 Jan 2019, Chester, U.K.. (Unpublished)


The overall purpose of this study was to examine whether challenge and hindrance demands (taken from the Job Demands-Resource Model) impact overall work engagement levels, and if different personality traits increase or decrease the levels of work engagement when faced with these demands. This study used a sample of UK workers from a variety of industries (N=122), and aimed to re-validate past research, by examining if challenge demands have a positive relationship with work engagement, and hindrance demands have a negative relationship with work engagement in this sample. Furthermore, this study extends the understanding of the framework by adding a new line of research which aims to examine if extraversion and conscientiousness personality traits will increase overall work engagement levels when faced with challenge demands, and neuroticism will decrease overall work engagement levels when faced with hindrance demands. Moderated multiple regression was carried out to test the hypotheses. Results showed that challenge demands were indeed positively related to overall work engagement, however while hindrance demands were negatively related, the findings were not significant. Moreover, the interaction of demands and personality traits did not impact overall work engagement levels as hypothesised. Taken together, the findings only partially supported the two-dimensional framework of challenge and hindrance demands. The interaction of challenge and hindrance demands, and personality did not influence work engagement levels. Considering past research has not explored personality as a moderator in the relationship between challenge and hindrance demands and work engagement, this study has contributed a new line of research in this field. Future studies should consider narrower facets of personality and homogeneous occupational settings to understand the relevance of demands to particular settings, considering demands may not be the same for all occupations and individuals. In view of knowing that challenge demands increase engagement levels, organisations and managers can introduce interventions to recognise these demands enabling engaged employees to thrive at work. Managers can be trained to regularly monitor the job demands to identify likely difficulties that necessitate action. Furthermore, employees can be trained to recognise their own challenge demands and how this is impacting well-being and engagement in order to optimise thriving at work.

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