Engagement Through the Lens of the Job-Demands Resource Model

As I’ve explored in more detail in an earlier post, employee engagement is being conceptualized various ways by researchers and survey providers.

In this short post, I’m going to take a quick look at the Job Demands Resources (JD-R) model, which is emerging as a frontrunner for understanding and managing engagement.

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One of the JD-R model’s obvious strengths is that it presents engagement as just one element in an process that also includes job demands, job resources, and that results in outcomes–in other words, it’s a representation of work that anyone would find familiar.

Another interesting component of the model is that it includes a representation of a stress process, where a misalignment of job demands and resources adds up to burnout. While the focus of my work is on engagement, publication of research on negative states such as burnout outpaces research on positive psychological states 17-1 (1). The JD-R model asks us to consider the relationship between positive and negative states and their antecedents together.

The basis for engagement are personal resources such as ability, self-efficacy and resiliency and also on-the-job resources such as leadership, social support, job control, professional development, etc. In subsequent iterations of the model, leadership has been pulled out as a separate variable, but I’ll save that discussion for another post.  The results of engagement are positive outcomes such as high performance, empathy, and commitment.

This model has been tested in various countries and in longitudinal studies with findings validating the assumption of causation between resources and engagement and engagement and positive outcomes. The model is also being used as HR management tool in more than 130 organizations (2).

1. Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2003). UWES–Utrecht work engagement scale: test manual. Unpublished Manuscript: Department of Psychology, Utrecht University8.

2. Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2007). The job demands-resources model: State of the art. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22(3), 309-328. doi:http://dx.doi.org.turing.library.northwestern.edu/10.1108/02683940710733115

 

3 thoughts on “Engagement Through the Lens of the Job-Demands Resource Model

  1. I wonder exactly how HR managers are using the model? Wouldn’t it be great if they could use it proactively, say, before a change initiative. Understanding where demands are being added, they could then prescribe the right mix of resources needed to balance the equation.

  2. That’s a good question! I’m going to look into it more. Because, yes it seems like weighing those considerations actively would be smart.

  3. I really love your statement, “The basis for engagement are personal resources such as ability, self-efficacy and resiliency and also on-the-job resources such as leadership, social support, job control, professional development, etc. Really a great call-out and one I will ensure I don’t forget!

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