Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 32: Feeling Good and Performing Well? Psychological Engagement and Positive Behaviors at Work
Uta K. Bindl and Sharon K. Parker Introduction In spite of its popularity in the practitioner and scientific literature, we know little about how feelings of engagement affect the way individuals perform at work. The aim of our chapter is to draw on theory, as well as empirical studies, to better understand the relationship between psychological engagement and positive behaviors at work. While there have been many definitions of employee engagement, we focus here on psychological engagement and, more specifically, the feelings of activated positive affect. Schaufeli et al. (2002) identified vigor as one of the key elements of engagement, along with dedication and absorption, and Macey and Schneider (2008) identified feelings of energy, enthusiasm, alertness and pride as central to psychological engagement. Each of these feelings is characterized not only by their positive focus, but also by their high level of activation. As noted by Macey and Schneider, activated positive emotional states better capture the construct of engagement than low-activation emotional states, such as contentment and satisfaction. In this chapter, we elaborate on how and why such activated positive emotional states might influence three different types of work role performance: proficiency, adaptivity, and proactivity (see Griffin et al., 2007). We conclude our chapter with suggestions for further research and practical implications to organizations. To set the foundation for our discussion, we first define affect and work performance. Affect at work Affect at work is usually distinguished into two related concepts: moods reflect the way employees temporarily feel when at...
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