A Path to Passion: Connecting Personality, Psychological Conditions, and Emotional Engagement

Authors

  • Cristina de Mello e Souza Wildermuth EdD,

    1. Drake University
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    • Cristina de Mello e Souza Wildermuth, EdD, is an assistant professor of education at Drake University. Her current research interests include employee engagement, the five factors of personality, and the case-in-point method for teaching adaptive leadership. She may be reached at cris.wildermuth@drake.edu.

  • Amy Grace Vaughan PhD,

    1. Drake University
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    • Amy Grace Vaughan, PhD, is an assistant professor of statistics at Drake University. Her current research interests include spatial statistics, nonparametrics, and structural equation modeling. She may be reached at amy.vaughan@drake.edu.

  • Elizabeth Anne Christo-Baker EdD

    1. Purdue University North Central in Indiana
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    • Elizabeth Anne Christo-Baker, EdD, is an assistant professor of organizational behavior and leadership at Purdue University North Central in Indiana. Her current research interests are in the areas of personality and diversity. She may be reached at ehchrist@pnc.edu.


Abstract

The focus of this study was emotional engagement, or a strong emotional attachment to one's work (Kahn, 1990). The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship among five factors of personality (need for stability, extraversion, originality, accommodation, and consolidation); psychological conditions of engagement; person–work fit, and the emotional engagement of human resource senior leaders, managers, and generalists. Structural equation modeling was completed separately for each of the three job categories. The results supported significant direct relationships among personality factors and emotional engagement but suggested that meaningfulness, availability, and person–work fit also moderate these relationships. This study makes three main contributions to the literature on the topic. First, although previous research (May, Gilson, & Harter, 2004; Rothmann & Rothmann, 2010) investigated engagement in general, this study spotlighted emotional engagement. Second, this study drew a path leading from personality to emotional engagement, moderated by psychological engagement conditions. Third, this study focused on human resource professionals, who hitherto had received scant coverage in the literature. This study proposes an emotional engagement formula that accounts for a large portion of the variability in emotional engagement (58% for managers, 61% for generalists, and 62% for senior leaders).

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