Original Research

Psychological empowerment, job insecurity and employee engagement

Marius W. Stander, Sebastiaan Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 36, No 1 | a849 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v36i1.849 | © 2010 Marius W. Stander, Sebastiaan Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2009 | Published: 28 May 2010

About the author(s)

Marius W. Stander, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark Campus, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann, North-West University - Vanderbijlpark Campus, South Africa

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Orientation: The psychological empowerment of employees might affect their engagement. However, psychological empowerment and employee engagement might also be influenced by job insecurity.

Research purposes: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between psychological empowerment, job insecurity and employee engagement.

Motivation for the study: Employee engagement results in positive individual and organisational outcomes and research information about the antecedents will provide valuable information for the purposes of diagnosis and intervention.

Research design, approach and method: A correlational design was used. Survey design was conducted among 442 employees in a government and a manufacturing organisation. The measuring instruments included the Psychological Empowerment Questionnaire, the Job Insecurity Inventory, and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale.

Main findings: Statistically significant relationships were found between psychological empowerment, job insecurity and employee engagement. A multivariate analysis of variance showed that affective job insecurity had a main effect on three dimensions of psychological empowerment (viz. competence, meaning and impact) and on employee engagement. Affective job insecurity moderated the effect of psychological empowerment on employee engagement.

Practical implications: The implication of the results is that interventions that focus on the psychological empowerment of employees (viz. meaningfulness, competence, self-determination and impact) will contribute to the engagement (vigour, dedication and absorption) of employees. If job insecurity is high, it is crucial to attend to the psychological empowerment of employees.

Contribution: This study contributes to knowledge about the conditions that precede employee engagement, and shows that the dimensions of psychological empowerment (namely experienced meaningfulness, competence, impact and self-determination) play an important role in this regard.


engagement; insecurity; well-being; empowerment; affective job insecurity


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