Antecedents of job engagement:
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The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that influence job engagement, with a specific focus on the roles of psychological conditions that promote job engagement. This study aimed to contribute to the knowledgebase about how to foster job engagement based on a rigorous framework consisting of Kahn’s (1990) theory of engagement and relevant motivational theories using a sample of 486 employees recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk working in for-profit organizations in the United States. The results of structural equation modeling revealed that financial rewards had a weak, positive relationship with job engagement (research question 1). Job autonomy and financial rewards were shown to have positive relationships with psychological meaningfulness, while learning culture and procedural justice were found to have positive relationships with psychological safety (research question 2). The results also showed that psychological meaningfulness strongly predicted job engagement (research question 3). In addition, psychological meaningfulness was found to mediate the relationships between job autonomy and job engagement and between financial rewards and job engagement (research question 4). This study offers three distinct contributions. First, Kahn’s (1990) theory of engagement at work has been further empirically supported, further evidencing the mediating role of psychological meaningfulness in the relationships between job elements and job engagement and evidencing the effects of job elements on psychological meaningfulness and the effect of work context on psychological safety. Second, psychological meaningfulness substantially predicted job engagement. Lastly, the findings indicate that the effects of rewards may depend more on how strongly they satisfy psychological needs rather than whether the rewards are intrinsic or extrinsic. Implications for theory, future research, and practice are discussed.