Original Research

Demands–abilities fit, work beliefs, meaningful work and engagement in nature-based jobs

Nellie de Crom, S. Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 44 | a1496 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v44i0.1496 | © 2018 Nellie De Crom, S. Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 October 2017 | Published: 13 March 2018

About the author(s)

Nellie de Crom, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
S. Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Meaningful work and personal engagement are important dimensions of flourishing of employees, especially when individuals work in challenging jobs.

Research purpose: This study aimed to investigate the relationship between demands–abilities fit, work beliefs, meaningful work and engagement in individuals in nature-based jobs.

Motivation for the study: Individuals working in nature often work under challenging circumstances without the necessary resources. A research gap exists regarding the effects of demands–abilities fit and work beliefs on meaningful work. It is also not clear how these antecedents and meaningful work will impact the engagement of individuals working in nature.

Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional survey was used with a convenience sample of 161 nature-based employees. Data were collected using a structured online questionnaire consisting of items from the demands–abilities fit scale, work–life questionnaire, work and meaning Inventory, work engagement scale and a biographical questionnaire.

Main findings: Work beliefs (calling, career and job) and demands–abilities fit predicted a large percentage of the variance in meaning making. Work beliefs (calling and job) and demands–abilities fit also predicted a large percentage of the variance in greater good motivations. Demands–abilities fit and a calling work orientation indirectly affected work engagement via meaningful work. The scales which measured calling and job orientations showed insufficient discriminant validity in relation to the scales which measured positive meaning and work engagement.

Practical and managerial implications: Managers should consider implementing interventions to affect the demands–abilities fit (through human resource management interventions) and work beliefs of individuals working in nature (through job crafting). Promoting perceptions of meaningful work might contribute to higher personal engagement.

Contribution or value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the effects of meaningful work and its antecedents on personal engagement.

Keywords

nature-based work; engagement; work beliefs; meaningful work; commitment; demands-ability fit

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