Well-being and empowerment perceptions in a sudden shift to working from home

Jackson, Duncan, Jones, Amanda, Michaelides, George ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4224-7728 and Dewberry, Chris (2024) Well-being and empowerment perceptions in a sudden shift to working from home. Journal of Vocational Behavior. ISSN 0001-8791

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Abstract

In the literature on the antecedents and mediators of employee well-being, there is little or no acknowledgement of sudden changes in the social and environmental context in which perceptions of well-being are formed. Contextual influences are rarely so impactful and unexpected as those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue operating within lockdown restrictions, many organizations, apart from those unable or unwilling to initiate such changes, abruptly adopted a work from home (WFH) or hybrid working pattern. These circumstances raise novel questions about the influence of impactful, unanticipated contextual factors on employee well-being outcomes. To address these questions in the context of a shift to WFH, we tested a model adapted from aspects of Event Systems Theory (EST) and the Psychology of Working Theory (PWT). Central to our theoretical adaptation was a unique perspective on PWT “decent work” perceptions based on principles of empowerment. In a study of 337 employees during the lockdown period, we applied a Bayesian multilevel model to investigate the contrast between in-lockdown perceptions relative to current pre-lockdown perceptions. Results suggested the contextual shift to WFH related negatively to relative perceptions of well-being, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Empowerment significantly mediated all well-being outcomes. Organizational support, neuroticism, and home readiness related directly to empowerment and indirectly to well-being outcomes via empowerment. We discuss how sudden contextual changes interacted with relationships observed in our model, and how our findings progress a context-responsive adaptation of EST and PWT in the new world of WFH.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: contextual impact,working from home,well-being,empowerment,4* ,/dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/REFrank/4_
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Employment Systems and Institutions
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 14 May 2024 10:31
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 09:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/95148
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2024.104000

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