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Work engagement: antecedents, the mediating role of learning goal orientation and job performance

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Purpose ‐ The present paper aims to explore the effects of state (trust in supervisor) and trait (trust propensity) trust on employees' work engagement. Furthermore, it seeks to investigate the mediating role of learning goal orientation in the relationship between work engagement and two forms of performance: in-role job performance and innovative work behaviour. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data for this cross sectional survey study were collected from 168 research scientists drawn from six Irish science research centres. Structural equation modelling was used to test the research hypotheses. Findings ‐ The results suggest that both trust in supervisor and trust propensity were positively and significantly related to work engagement. Additionally, results indicate that learning goal orientation partially mediated the effects of work engagement on in-role job performance and innovative work behaviour. Research limitations/implications ‐ This research was limited by two main factors: the cross-sectional research design, and use of self-reported questionnaire data. Limitations aside, this study provides evidence that a climate of trust can fuel work engagement, which in turn, is likely to promote learning, innovation and performance. Originality/value ‐ This paper extends the developing engagement literature in two ways. First, it empirically establishes an association between two facets of trust and work engagement. Second, it highlights the role of learning goal orientation in explaining the linkage between work engagement and job performance.

Keywords: Job commitment; Job performance; Job satisfaction; Learning goal orientation; Trust; Trust in supervisor; Trust propensity; Work engagement; Work psychology

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-11-29

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