Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 30: Work Engagement from a Cultural Perspective
Akihito Shimazu, Daisuke Miyanaka and Wilmar B. Schaufeli Introduction In accordance with the expanding global economy, researchers in occupational health psychology have begun to conduct cross-cultural studies. This chapter focuses on work engagement from a cultural perspective and addresses basic measurement issues in cross-cultural research on work engagement. Brief introduction of work engagement Psychology has recently been criticized as being primarily dedicated to addressing mental illness rather than mental “wellness”. Since the beginning of this century, however, increased attention is paid to what has been coined “positive psychology”: the scientific study of human strengths and optimal functioning (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). This advocated positive turn is also relevant for occupational health psychology. It has been proposed that rather than focus on employees’ poor functioning as a result of stress and burnout, what will be more beneficial for our understanding of individuals and organizations is to look at the role of a more positive state of mind, which is called “work engagement” (Schaufeli, 2004). Work engagement is a psychological state assumed to be negatively related to burnout. While burnout is usually defined as a syndrome of exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy (Maslach et al., 2001), engagement is defined as a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption (Schaufeli et al., 2002b). That means that engaged employees have a sense of energetic and effective connection with their work activities. Vigor is characterized by high levels of energy and mental resilience while working. Dedication refers to...
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