Job crafting in a rapidly changing global economy might be an important ingredient for organizational performance.
Who conducted the study?
Paraskevas Petrou – Assistant Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Evangelia Demerouti – Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, and Wilmar B. Schaufeli – Professor of Work and Organizational Psychology at Utrecht University and University of Leuven.
The authors investigated the interaction between job crafting, job demands, and resources. Job crafting refers any time someone actively manipulates their job responsibilities weather it be cognitively, relationships, or boundaries.
There were three specific types of job crafting included in this study. Reducing demands – avoiding work, reducing work load. Seeking resources – asking questions, trying to learn more, speaking with more qualified person. Seeking challenges- asking for more tasks when one is completed
What did they find?
Basically they found that willingness and openness to change predicted adaptability to changes within the work place. People who engaged in seeking resource and seeking challenges reported less exhaustion. Employees who searched for resources had better task performance. Demand reduction tended to cause more stress because they would avoid their work load, and thus become more exhausted and burn-out was a higher tendency. Work performance actually suffered for those who engaged in demand reduction. So avoiding work would cause lower levels of work performance. Level of performance was unrelated to seeking challenges, therefore seeking more challenges would not necessarily impact job performance in any way.
How did they find these results?
- 2 wave survey of police officers in the Netherlands
- There was a year gap between both surveys
- 1,780 email invitations were sent for the first survey and only 950 police officers responded (response rate of 53%)
- 1,854 email surveys were sent out for the second survey collection and only 810 employees responded (response rate of 44%)
- Only 580 police officers completed both survey one and two
- Of the respondents used 380 (66%) were men and 200(34%) were women.
- Mean age was 43 years
Limitations of study:
- Sampled only one type of job, low response rate which both limits generalizability
- Data relied on self-report which could have common method bias
- Two wave study does not completely address the mediating relationship (3 wave would have been better)
- Used single item measure which may have inflated the measurement error
- The implementation of change had begun before the survey was administered so it would be hard to see the baseline and control measure of job crafting.
Why are these findings important?
Providing resources for employees to utilize during change is very important. Providing learning resources, career support, and technological support to encourage innovation. Mentorships, for example, may be helpful in growing and changing companies because the employees would have someone who can help to access social and technological resources.
Finding a good mentorship program within the company where employees can talk to and check in with others would allow there to be a more active approach to solving these issues.
It seems that avoidance behavior raises stress levels because the employee knows the tasks they need to accomplish but are actively avoiding them. These high stress levels then increase likelihood of burnout.
Where can these results be applied?
These results can be applied multiple aspects of the human resource management function. Thus, the need for adaptability is high for any business. Finding employees that have high willingness and openness to change would be a great trait to look for during the interview process. Fostering a willingness to change is an option as well. Companies will undergo change – it is inevitable. Enabling employee willingness to change is, according to this study, important for job crafting and performance. Likewise, this study suggests that creating space for job crafting – seeking out demands and resources – is an important path toward greater performance.
With the rate of organizational change increasing and the growing proportion of millennials in the workforce, this article is particularly relevant. A recent article in the Financial Times claims,
“Factors such as management style, job design and workplace environment are becoming increasingly important for engagement, with the availability of development opportunities being particularly crucial”
With a generation of restless employees traditional development programs may not be enough – enabling job crafting in the shifting global economy might be an important ingredient for managing this new workforce.
Petrou, P., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2015). Job crafting in changing organizations: Antecedents and implications for exhaustion and performance. Journal Of Occupational Health Psychology, 20(4), 470-480.