Original Research

Leader–member exchange fosters work engagement: The mediating role of job crafting

Mirjam Radstaak, Ayla Hennes
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 43 | a1458 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v43i0.1458 | © 2017 Mirjam Radstaak, Ayla Hennes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2017 | Published: 28 September 2017

About the author(s)

Mirjam Radstaak, Department of Psychology, Health and Technology, University of Twente, Netherlands; Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Ayla Hennes, Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Netherlands


Orientation: The right balance between job demands and job resources are essential for employees to bring energy and enthusiasm to work. Employees who experience high-quality relationships with their supervisors may actively craft their job demands and job resources and feel more engaged.

Research purpose: The current study examined the associations between leader–member exchange (LMX), job crafting and work engagement.

Motivation: This study attempts to gain more insight in the associations between LMX, job crafting and work engagement. It was hypothesised that high-quality relationships with supervisors fosters work engagement because it stimulates employees to craft their jobs by increasing social and structural job resources and challenging job demands and by decreasing hindering job demands.

Research approach, design and methodology: Participants (N = 402) working for a leading mail and parcels company in the Netherlands completed questionnaires measuring LMX, work engagement and job crafting. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the hypotheses.

Main findings: Increasing social job resources (β = 0.01, SE = 0.00, p < 0.001) and increasing challenging job demands (β = 0.08, SE = 0.04, p < 0.05) were significant mediators in the association between LMX and work engagement. Increasing structural job resources (β = 0.00, SE = 0.00, p = 0.92) and decreasing hindering job demands (β = -0.00, SE 0.00, p = 0.09) were not significant mediators.

Practical and managerial implications: Supervisors who are capable of building high-quality relationships with their employees based on trust, respect and loyalty will foster a positive, fulfilling work-related state of mind among employees because they are more willing to proactively craft a challenging and resourceful work environment.

Contribution or value-add: The findings of this study showed the importance of high-quality relationships with supervisors and were unique in examining the association between LMX and job crafting.


job crafting; job demands; job resources; leadership; LMX; work engagement


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Crossref Citations

1. Work Flow Experience in the Light of Leader-Member Exchange and Person-Job Fit Theories
Burcu Aydin Kucuk
Psychological Reports  vol: 125  issue: 1  first page: 464  year: 2022  
doi: 10.1177/0033294120981927