CHAPTER 3 JOB RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE-RELATED FACTORS
This chapter addresses part of the second literature research aim, namely to theoretically explore job retention and performance, as represented by the constructs of work engagement, job satisfaction, organisational commitment and OCB, and the variables influencing these constructs. It also examines the way in which these constructs are described, conceptualised and explained by theoretical models in the literature. Finally, the variables influencing job retention and performance related factors are discussed.
JOB RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE DESCRIBED
Job retention and performance are factors that facilitate the retention or resignation of employees and their decisions to leave or remain, depending on their priorities (Van Dyk, Coetzee and Takawira (2014). Retention refers to a situation in which workers choose to stay on and add value to the organisation (Frank, Finnegar & Taylor, 2004; Govaerts, Kyndt, Docky & Baert, 2010). Retention and performance are critical elements of an organisation’s more general talent management, which is the implementation of integrated strategies or systems designed to increase workplace productivity by improving processes for attracting, developing, retaining and utilising people with the required skills and aptitude to meet current and future business needs (Hausknecht, Rodda & Howard, 2009).
According to Van Dyk et al. (2012), there are many retention and performance factors that organisations should consider in order to retain employees in the working environment. These include compensation, appreciation for work done well, opportunities for advancement, responsibilities, managerial integrity, good relationships and communication with colleagues within the organisation, job satisfaction, commitment, and engagement (Hausknecht et al., 2009). According to Mendes and Stander (2010), work engagement, satisfaction, commitment and OCB can be utilised as tools to reduce employees’ intention to leave, as well as to improve the level of organisational performance. A review of the literature by Bakker and Schaufeli (2008), shows that modern organisations need to place great emphasis on the management of human capital. Positive psychology, as a more modern and effective approach, focuses on human strengths (Luthan, 2010). Positive organisations need to focus on dynamics within the organisation that lead to the development of human strength, and to foster the vitality and flourishing of employees, so that they can perform better in their tasks (Mendes et al., 2010).
Positive organisational behaviour fosters the development of engaged and satisfied employees, and this is the key to ensuring high performance and overall well-being for both the organisation and its workforce, while also increasing the commitment and discretionary behaviour of employees, thereby lowering the risk of poor productivity and loss of talent (Van Dyk et al., 2014).
Yankeelov, Barbee, Sullivan and Antle (2009) conducted a systematic review of the factors that influence retention, and indicate that it is influenced by individual and organisational factors such as educational level, burnout, job satisfaction, co-worker support, supervisor support and quality of supervision. Work engagement, satisfaction and commitment and citizenship behaviour are related to the attitudes, intentions and behaviours of employees (Sacks, 2006), and are viewed as the key factors that can enhance the retention and performance of employees. To gain a better understanding of job retention and performance, the constructs of work engagement, job satisfaction, organisational commitment and OCB will be discussed below.
The following section will discuss the conceptualisation of work engagement, Schaufeli, Bakker and Salanova’s model of work engagement (2006) as well as Maslach and Leiter’s (1997) model.
Conceptualisation of work engagement
The construct of work engagement was developed by Kahn (1990), who related the concept to the notion of psychological presence. According to this statement, engagement refers to the state in which individuals express their entire selves physically, cognitively and emotionally through their work role. When individuals are engaged in their work, they personally express themselves in these ways during role performance. In other words, engaged individuals become physically involved in their tasks, cognitively alert and emotionally connected to others when performing their job (Mitonga-Monga, 2010).
Similar to Kahn’s (1990) definition of engagement, Maslach, Schaufeli and Leiter (2001) perceive work engagement as a psychological and emotional state of fulfillment. Hallberg and Schaufeli (2006) expand on this definition by defining engagement as being charged with energy and fully dedicated to one’s work. When individuals are absorbed in their work, time normally flies without them being aware of it (Schaufeli et al., 2006; Tladinyane, Coetzee & Masenge, 2013). Britt (2003) defines the engagement construct as feeling a sense of accountability and commitment to performance. According to Britt (2003), being highly engaged can have both negative and positive consequences. Firstly, on the negative side, individuals who are highly motivated to excel can quickly lose their motivation if they perceive their work to be less meaningful or if they do not think that they can succeed in their jobs due to lack of support or resources. Secondly, on the positive side, when individuals are engaged, they are mentally present with regard to their job, which implies that they are more likely to feel connected to their work and be committed to their role performance (Kahn, 1990; 1992). In the state of mental presence, individuals tend to demonstrate high quality and committed service, which results in high quality outputs (Bhatla, 2011).
Rothbard and Patil (2012) expands on the above definitions and indicates that work engagement is more than just a physical feeling – it has to do with psychological presence and includes two critical components, namely attention and absorption. Attention refers to one’s cognitive ability and the amount of time one spends thinking about a role, while absorption means being engrossed in a role and refers to the intensity of one’s focus on a role (Mitonga-Monga, 2010). Schaufeli et al. (2006) perceive engagement as an active, positive, fulfilling state of mind characterised by vigour, dedication and absorption. Vigour is characterised by liveliness, dedication by a high level of participation, and absorption by being happy and occupied in one’s job. Work engagement represents a positive mental state that encourages flexibility, motivation, pleasure and self-reliance (Rigg, Day & Adler, 2013).
Maslach et al. (2001) note that engagement is characterised by energy, involvement and efficacy – the direct opposites of the three burnout dimensions, namely exhaustion, cynicism and ineffectiveness. Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) also define engagement as the positive antipode of burnout. According to Jose and Mampilly (2012) and Macey and Schneider (2008), work engagement is a desirable condition, has an organisational purpose, and connotes involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort, and energy, and therefore possesses both attitudinal and behavioural components.
Bakker, Schaufeli, Leiter and Taris (2008) discovered that these various definitions of engagement have considered the construct to be a case of “old wine in a new bottle”. Mitonga-Monga (2010) posits that the concept of engagement is confusing. He proposes that the concept of engagement is an inclusive term for different types of engagement, such as trait engagement, state engagement and behavioural engagement (Macey & Schneider,2008). Trait engagement consists of personality traits such as positive affect, proactive personality, conscientiousness, extraversion, and the autotelic personality of individuals, which all influence their engagement. State engagement is perceived directly as observable constructs of involvement, satisfaction, commitment and empowerment, energy, dedication and absorption, as sub-constructs of work engagement.
Research on behavioural engagement focuses on OCB, proactive and personal initiative, role expansion and adaptability (Macey & Schneider, 2008). Engaged employees often demonstrate high levels of energy and self-esteem (Rigg et al., 2013). Individuals who are engaged also display ownership and accountability for their work and are excited about their jobs. Engaged individuals are more likely to work harder and persevere, even when faced with difficulties (Soieb, Othman & D’Silva, 2013).
One can hypothesise that when employees are engaged in their work, they will invest their personal resources, such as effort and time (Rigg et al., 2013). In this regard, work engagement becomes more than just an investment of the self, but represents the investment of multiple components that are physical, emotional and cognitive in nature, so that the experience is simultaneous and holistic. Employees who are engaged are perceived to experience a high level of connection to their work on multiple levels (Kahn, 1990; Rigg et al., 2013).
Work engagement is said to be related to but distinct from other constructs in the field of organisational behaviour. Robinson et al. (2004, p.8) indicate that “engagement contains many of the elements of both commitment and OCB, but is by no means a perfect match with either. In addition, neither commitment nor OCB reflect sufficiently two aspects of engagement – its two-way nature, and the extent to which engaged employees are expected to have an element of business awareness.” Saks (2006) argues that organisational commitment differs from engagement in that it refers to a person’s attitude and attachment towards their organisation. Engagement is not an attitude – it is the degree to which individuals are attentive to and absorbed in the performance of their roles. While OCB involves voluntary and informal behaviours that can help co-workers and the organisation, the focus of engagement is one’s formal role performance, rather than extra-role and voluntary behaviour (Sacks, 2006). Work engagement is also related to but different from job satisfaction. Alarcon and Lyons (2011, p.465) indicate that “job satisfaction is different from engagement in two ways”. Firstly, job satisfaction can be experienced as an evaluation of emotional state, which results from both what an employee feels or perceives (affect) with regard to his or her job. Secondly, it refers to what an employee thinks (cognition) about the various aspects of his or her job (Yalabik, Popaitoon, Chowne & Rayton, 2013). The next section concisely explores the different models of work engagement.
Schaufeli, Bakker and Salanova’s model of work engagement
Schaufeli et al. (2006) perceive work engagement as a positive, fulfilling and motivational-psychological state of mind characterised by vigour, dedication and absorption. This definition distinguishes work engagement from the related construct of burnout and encompasses both the affective and cognitive aspects of work engagement (Yalabik et al., 2013).
Vigour is perceived as a positive affect experienced at work. As a physical element, it is characterised by a high level of energy and mental resilience, and means that one is sufficiently willing to invest effort in one’s work, despite adverse situations (Schaufeli et al., 2006). These characteristics of vigour exemplify it as motivational in nature, based on the fact that individuals who are energetic at work are ready to invest their efforts and prosper, despite adverse situations. Mental resilience refers to the individual’s ability to prosper or succeed, even when situations are negative. In essence, individuals find their work interesting and allocate time and effort to it, without complaining about their workload. A statement such as “I feel energetic” or “I feel strong and vigorous in my job,” is usually associated with a feeling of vigour (Schaufeli et al., 2006).
The concept of vigour originated from the Conservation of Resources Theory (COR) (Hobfoll, 2002). This theory assumes that vigour refers to individuals’ energetic resources that are cognitive, emotional and physical in nature. Shirom (2011) indicates that vigour comprises an individual’s feelings which comprise physical strength, cognitive liveliness and emotional energy. This definition clearly demonstrates that the vigour construct is a composite of three affective dimensions. Feeling vigorous at work may help individuals to effectively cope with work-related demands, and is also more likely to impact positively on their wellbeing (Yalabik et al., 2013).
According to Nelson and Cooper (2007), vigour is perceived as an antecedent of several variables, such as being more extroverted, having certain task characteristics (such as task autonomy, significance, feedback, identity and skills variety), having multiple roles, group cohesion and enjoying management support that encourages creativity and deeper thinking among employees. Previous studies have revealed that vigour is a significant predictor of organisational commitment and a promoter of skills learning and pro-social behaviours (Shraga & Shirom, 2009). Shraga et al. (2009) also indicate that vigour represents an affective state that individuals attribute to their work when asked to do so. Vigour is also considered to be an indicator of an individual’s level of optimal psychological functioning (Shirom, 2012). Employees who demonstrate a high level of energy (vigour) at work are more likely to cope effectively with work-related demands. In contrast, employees who demonstrate a low level of energy at work are less likely to cope with these (Gabel-Shemueli, Dolan & Ceretti, 2015).
Dedication is characterised by a sense of usefulness, significance, enthusiasm in one’s work, feeling passionate and proud of one’s job, and being inspired and challenged by work (Schaufeli et al., 2006). It is also characterised by a pleasant state of being wrapped up in one’s work, since time passes quickly without a person feeling disengaged from his or her job. This implies that individuals who are dedicated find their work to be important and end up being fully committed to their roles. Dedicated individuals might find it difficult to give up and resign, which may lead them to become satisfied with and committed to their organisations, which in turn leads to a high probability of good performance. Bakker, Schaufeli, Leiter and Taris (2008) indicate that dedicated individuals are most often involved in their work, experience a sense of significance, are enthusiastic, inspired, and proud and challenged. They tend to be satisfied with their working environment, and demonstrate higher levels of commitment, leading to a high probability of retention and performance. Dedicated individuals are satisfied, demonstrate real commitment to their job and the organisation, and are prepared to go the extra mile. They genuinely participate in and contribute to the organisation’s performance (Gabel-Shemueli et al., 2015).
Absorption as a cognitive dimension refers to being completely and deeply absorbed in one’s work, unable to detach oneself from it, and being unaware of how quickly time passes (Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma & Bakker, 2002). This is experienced when an individual likes what he or she is doing as soon as he or she finds the work to be meaningful and interesting. Absorption has been perceived to be conceptually equivalent to the “flow” construct, which is characterised by an optimal state in which focused attention, a clear mind, union of body and mind, effortless concentration, complete control, loss of self-consciousness, distortion of time and intrinsic enjoyment are experienced (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002; Schaufeli et al., 2002).
It is important to note that the concepts of vigour, dedication and absorption play a crucial role in this study, since they focus on individuals’ attitudes and experiences regarding their work, which may help to explain why some individuals are more satisfied, engaged and committed, and perform better in their organisations than others. They also highlight the psychological and behavioural factors that lead not only to a high level of productivity, but also increase the retention of staff.
Maslach and Leiter’s model of burnout and work engagement
Maslach and Leiter’s (1997) model of work engagement is discussed in the burnout literature, which describes engagement as the positive opposite of burnout, indicating that burnout includes the removal of engagement with one’s job (Maslach, Schaufeli & Leiter, 2002). Burnout has been perceived as a syndrome occurring among individuals who work with people to some extent, and who experience crises in their relationship with work, but not necessarily in their relationships at work (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). According to Maslach et al. (2001), burnout as a syndrome consists of three dimensions: feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal accomplishment.
Emotional exhaustion refers to the feeling of depletion or draining of emotional and physical resources, being overextended, experiencing distress and a sense of reduced effectiveness, decreased motivation and the development of dysfunctional attitudes and behaviours at work (Bezuidenhout & Cilliers, 2010; Maslach, Jackson & Leiter, 1996). Involvement is minimised in an attempt to protect the self against emotional exhaustion and disappointment (Maslach et al., 1997). Emotional exhaustion is not only physical, but is also experienced psychologically as a loss of feeling and concern, as well as of trust, interest and spirit (Maslach et al., 2001). Of the three dimensions of burnout, emotional exhaustion was found to be the most predictive when examining organisational phenomena (Rubino, Volpone & Avery, 2013).
Depersonalisation refers to an increase in negative, cynical and insensitive attitudes towards colleagues and clients (Rothmann, 2002). Indeed, when individuals feel cynical, they adopt cold, distant attitudes towards work and their colleagues. Involvement or participation is reduced in an attempt to protect the self against exhaustion and disappointment (Maslach et al., 1997). Demerouti et al. (2001) describe depersonalisation as a specific kind of withdrawal or mental distancing that may manifest itself as alienation, disengagement or cynicism. According to Bezuidenhout and Cilliers (2010), this dimension can be perceived as a failure to develop and maintain a professional attitude of detached concern. Maslach et al. (1996) introduced cynicism in place of depersonalisation in their MBI-GS instrument. Cynicism reflects indifference or a distant attitude towards work. It refers to interpersonal behaviour manifesting itself as a negative, callous or excessively detached response to various aspects related to the job (Rothmann, Steyn & Mostert, 2005).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT / SUMMARY
CHAPTER 1: SCIENTIFIC OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH
1.1. BACKGROUND TO AND MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY
1.2. PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3. AIMS OF THE RESEARCH
1.4. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
1.5. THE RESEARCH MODEL
1.6. PARADIGM PERSPECTIVE OF THE RESEARCH
1.7. RESEARCH DESIGN
1.8. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.9. CHAPTER DIVISION
1.10. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2 ETHICAL CONTEXT AND BEHAVIOUR
2.1. ETHICAL CONTEXT AND BEHAVIOUR DESCRIBED
2.2. ETHICAL CULTURE
2.3. ETHICAL CLIMATE
2.4. ETHICAL LEADERSHIP
2.5. VARIABLES INFLUENCING ETHICAL CONTEXT AND BEHAVIOUR
2.6. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3 JOB RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE-RELATED FACTORS
3.1 JOB RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE DESCRIBED
3.2 WORK ENGAGEMENT
3.3. JOB SATISFACTION
3.4 ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT
3.6 VARIABLES INFLUENCING JOB RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE
3.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4 THEORETICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ETHICAL CONTEXT AND BEHAVIOUR, JOB RETENTION/ PERFORMANCE AND BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS
4.1 ETHICAL CULTURE AND JOB RETENTION/ PERFORMANCE
4.2 ETHICAL CLIMATE AND JOB RETENTION/PERFORMANCE
4.3 ETHICAL LEADERSHIP AND JOB RETENTION/PERFORMANCE .
4.4 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5 THE CONSTRUCTION OF A THEORETICAL MODEL FOR THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ETHICAL CONTEXT AND BEHAVIOUR, JOB RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE AND BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS
5.1 ETHICAL CULTURE AND JOB RETENTION/PERFORMANCE AND BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS
5.2 ETHICAL CLIMATE AND JOB RETENTION/PERFORMANCE AND BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS
5.3 ETHICAL LEADERSHIP AND JOB RETENTION/PERFORMANCE AND BIOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
5.4 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6 RESEARCH DESIGN
6.1 DETERMINATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SAMPLE
6.2 CHOICE, DISCUSSION AND MOTIVATION: THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
6.3 ADMINISTRATION OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
6.4 SCORING OF THE PSYCHOMETRIC BATTERY
6.5 STATISTICAL PROCESSING OF THE DATA
6.6 FORMULATION OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
6.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 7 RESEARCH RESULTS
7.1 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
7.2 CORRELATIONAL STATISTICS
7.3 INFERENTIAL (MULTIVARIATE) STATISTICS
7.4 INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH RESULTS
7.5 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS
8.2 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
8.3 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
8.5 EVALUATION OF THE RESEARCH
8.6. CHAPTER SUMMARY
LIST OF REFERENCES
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT