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How Challenging Was Your Work Today
Can autonomous motivation for work can explain the distinctive associations between hindrance and challenge demands and work-related well-being (i.e., positive affect and work engagement) on a within-person level? Autonomous work motivation represents the degree to which motivation for putting effort in work is intrinsic (i.e., with a sense of volition and personal choice) or has been internalized (i.e., without feelings of internal or external pressure). . On days when employees experienced more challenges, they also experienced more positive affect and more engagement in their work on the same day, and this relationship could be explained by (higher) autonomous work motivation on that day. In contrast, on days when they experienced more hindrance demands, they experienced less positive affect and less work engagement, and this process was explained by (reduced) autonomous work motivation that day. It is evident that daily autonomous motivation as a motivational process can explain why daily challenge and hindrance demands are differential related to positive well-being at work.
How exactly can daily challenge demands foster daily work-related well-being, and how can daily hindrance demands thwart it? Can job demands be distinguished on a within-person level?
Autonomous work motivation represents the degree to which putting effort in work is performed out of genuine interest and choice rather than out of external pressure.
Employees who perceive their work as aligned with their interests and values are happier and more satisfied than those who put effort in work mostly for external reasons, such as getting paid or achieving high status.
It is clear that daily challenge demands foster daily autonomous work motivation because challenge demands can enhance employees’ felt sense that the work they do is fun, interesting, and meaningful. This, in turn, can boost their work engagement and positive affect at work on a daily basis.
This is important because maintaining high levels of employee well-being has proven to be beneficial not only for employees themselves, but also for the people they work and live with .Conversely, employees might have difficulties finding the sense of satisfaction, meaning, and value (i.e., autonomous work motivation) on days when they have to deal with high hindrance job demands. For instance, when teachers have a large amount of daily bureaucratic tasks, they may not only lose their valuable energy, but they may have difficulties to find fun, interest, and meaning in them. This, in turn, can lead to lower work engagement and reduced positive affect on days like that. This means that daily hindrance demands reduce the opportunities for engagement and positive affect by lowering employees ‘autonomous work motivation. Hindrance demands may be difficult to internalize because it is hard for employees to see their meaning or value.
Positive affect at work refers to transient positive emotions and moods (e.g., inspired, happy, satisfied) that are felt by employees in different degrees during different working days, whilst work engagement refers to a stimulating, energetic and meaningful work-related experience characterized by vigour, dedication, and absorption .Positive affect and work engagement have been shown to fluctuate substantially on a within-person level and to predict optimal employee functioning.
Autonomous work motivation is considered to lead to well-being because it fosters putting effort, and fulfillment of basic psychological needs, particularly competence and autonomy (. Between-person studies demonstrate that employees with generally high levels of autonomous work motivation are more committed to their work organizations, and also report less hassles at work. Their profession is more central to their identity, which helps them to find the meaning and value in the demands that are challenging.
How content are you in your work today???
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