Job involvement as a key component of work motivation: search for predictors.

AuthorSharma, Baldev R.


There is a long-standing interest in studies on the subject of job involvement because it has been found to result in several positive consequences. Earlier, it used to be studied as an aspect of work motivation but in more recent times it is studied as an integral component of employee engagement construct. Job involvement has been found to be linked to turnover (Baba & Jamal, 1991; McElroy et al., 1999); absenteeism (Diefendorff et al., 2002); performance (Freund, 2005; Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004); and employee's readiness for change (Madsen, Miller & John, 2005). Pfeffer (1994) has considered job involvement as a fundamental basis for establishing competitive advantage in business markets and has asserted that increasing job involvement can enhance organizational productivity and effectiveness.

Dimitriades (2007) has demonstrated the effect of service climate and job involvement on customer-oriented organizational citizenship behavior OCB of frontline employees of Greek service organizations. Emery & barker (2007) have found that job involvement of customer-contact personnel is significantly correlated with customer satisfaction, profit and productivity. In a study of 131 professors and clerical employees of a private Japanese University, Ueda (2011) found that job involvement had a significant positive relationship with civic virtue and helping behavior of employees.

What is Job Involvement?

Job involvement has been defined and described variously by different scholars. Some of these versions are listed below:

* It involves the internalization of values and importance of work in the life of an individual employee. It is manifested in the following ways in the response of an employee with high job involvement:

(a) the extent to which the employee's expectations about work are met;

(b) the way in which an employee expresses job involvement varies from person to person;

(c) feeling a high sense of duty; and

(d) avoiding being absent from work and feeling guilty about unfinished work.

--Lodahl & Kejner (1965)

* Job involvement refers to an employee's identification to his/her job in terms of the degree to which one is cognitively preoccupied with, engaged in, and concerned with the job in hand.


People with high job involvement focus most of their attention on their job.

--Hackett et al. (2001)

* Job involvement refers to the extent to which individuals are preoccupied with and immersed in or absorbed by their work activity.

--Diendorff, Brown, Kamin & Lord (2002)

* Job involvement refers to the degree to which an employee psychologically relates to his or her job and the work performed therein.

--Cooper-Hakim & Visweswaran (2005)

* Individuals who identify most strongly with their jobs focus their thoughts on work and interpret more situations as opportunities to perform work role activities.

--Kreiner et al. (2006)

* Job involvement refers to the extent to which individuals identified the importance of the job to their total self-image and self-esteem.

--Chughtai (2008)

Implicit in the foregoing definitions of job involvement are two basic principles, namely, (a) internalization of a positive work ethics that is reflected in a high sense of duty towards one's work; and (b) the job is so designed that it satisfies the intrinsic needs of the worker. When these two conditions are met, the worker is likely to identify himself with the job both cognitively and emotionally. The job performance of such workers contributes not only to the growth of the organization but also to the enhancement of their level of satisfaction, sense the pride, and self-esteem. The 5-item questionnaire used in the present study incorporates the basic ingredients of the construct described in this section.

Overlap with Other Constructs

The preceding definitions/descriptions of job involvement will indicate its similarity or overlap with some other components of work motivation. Some empirical studies too have found this overlap. Govender & Parumasur (2010), in a cross-sectional study of 145 employees, found significant inter-correlations among most of the dimensions and subdimensions of employee motivation and job involvement. Diefendorff et al. (2002) investigated the relationship between job involvement and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and found that job involvement has a significant positive association between the two constructs.

Biswas (2009) has argued that there is a positive causal link emanating from affective commitment leading to job involvement. Leong et al. (2003) have found a positive relationship between job involvement and professional commitment. MeClroy et al. (1999) found job involvement to be positively related to job satisfaction. According to Salanova et al. (2005), job involvement is seen in contemporary definitions of employee engagement as a facet or component of engagement but not its equivalent. Job involvement and work alienation are viewed by some as opposites of each other. Whereas job involvement refers to a positive and relatively complete state of engagement of the core aspect of one's self in the job, alienation implies a loss of individuality and separation of the self from the work environment (Brown, 1996). Hafer & Martin (2006) have found that having low job involvement contributes to employees' feelings of alienation.

Job involvement is one of the several manifestations of employee motivation, others being job satisfaction, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The negative manifestations of motivation are alienation and burnout. All of them being different facets or dimensions of the same construct, it is quite natural to find that these are correlated with one another. The empirical evidence presented in this section confirms this view. Work motivation is an umbrella term that incorporates the various dimensions mentioned in this section. Another umbrella term referring to the same phenomenon that is covered by "motivation" is employee engagement," which has become popular among the practitioners and academicians alike.

Predictors of Job Involvement

Carmeli (2005) explored the determinants of job involvement among senior managers of public-sector organizations in Israel and found that both situational and personal factors 4predicted job involvement. Brown (1996), based on his mata-analysis of a large number of studies, concluded that job involvement was influenced by both personality and situational variables. These findings are consistent with the well-known theorem according to which behavior is a function of certain attributes of the person plus characteristics of the situation [B = f(P+S)]. According to Hackman & Oldham (1975), job characteristics influence job involvement as they inspire an employee's internal motivation.

In a study of several manufacturing industries in Lagos, Nigeria, Mogaji (2002) found that structure and responsibility had a significant positive relationship with job involvement. Mishra & Shyam (2005) studied the relationship between social support and job involvement among 200 prison officers from different jails in Uttar Pradesh. They found that social support, both overall as well as its individual dimensions, had a significant positive relationship with job involvement. In a study of 363 bank employees in Taiwan, Ouyang (2009) found that job instability had a negative influence on job involvement of employees.

Turning to the personal attributes, researchers have often studied the role of demographic variables in influencing job involvement. For example, Chughtai (2008) has indicated an association between job involvement and gender as well as level of education. In a study of 281 scientists and engineers, Dailey & Morgan (1978) found age as one of the significant determinants of job...

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