Original Research

Work engagement and psychological capital in the Italian public administration: A new resource-based intervention programme

Arianna Costantini, Francesco De Paola, Andrea Ceschi, Riccardo Sartori, Anna M. Meneghini, Annamaria Di Fabio
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 43 | a1413 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v43i0.1413 | © 2017 Arianna Costantini, Francesco De Paola, Andrea Ceschi, Riccardo Sartori, Anna M. Meneghini, Annamaria Di Fabio | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 October 2016 | Published: 16 August 2017

About the author(s)

Arianna Costantini, Department of Human Sciences, Verona University, Italy
Francesco De Paola, Department of Human Sciences, Verona University, Italy
Andrea Ceschi, Department of Human Sciences, Verona University, Italy
Riccardo Sartori, Department of Human Sciences, Verona University, Italy
Anna M. Meneghini, Department of Human Sciences, Verona University, Italy
Annamaria Di Fabio, Department of Education and Psychology, University of Florance, Italy


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Abstract

Orientation: Organisations need energetic and dedicated employees to enhance the quality of their services and products continuously. According to the Conservation of Resources Theory, it is possible to increase work engagement of employees by improving their personal resources.

Research purpose: The main aim of this study was to examine the extent to which an improvement in psychological capital, as a personal resource, might enhance work engagement of employees in the public sector.

Motivation for the study: This study was developed to investigate how and to what extent interventions aiming at fostering higher work engagement through the enhancement of psychological capital were certainly effective.

Research design, approach and method: To improve psychological capital, a new resource-based intervention programme (FAMILY intervention) was developed and applied, in which six dimensions – namely framing, attitudes, meaningfulness, identity, leading self and yoked together – were improved. A semi-experimental research design (pre-test and post-test) was used to conduct this study. Participants were 54 employees working in an Italian public health administration. In the pre-test and post-test stages, data were collected by using the psychological capital and work engagement scales.

Main findings: Results showed that there is a positive relationship between psychological capital and work engagement in the pre-test and post-test stages, considered separately. In addition, comparing pre-test and post-test results revealed that the intervention programme significantly improved both psychological capital and work engagement. This shows that an improvement in psychological capital is consistent with an increase in work engagement.

Conclusion: Together, these findings prove that psychological capital can be considered as a set of personal resources which lead to increased work engagement.

Contribution/value-add: This study bridged the gap found in the literature between the role of psychological capital in fostering higher work engagement and the extent to which interventions are effective among employees working in public administration.


Keywords

work engagement; psychological capital; resource-based intervention program; public administration

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