Scand J Caring Sci; 2011; 25; 754–761
Work engagement, work commitment and their association with well-being in health care
The aim was to examine whether work engagement and work commitment can be empirically discriminated and how they are associated with well-being. The terminology used in literature and in practice is confused by the interchangeable use of these terms. Only few studies, like Hallberg and Schaufeli’s study, have examined the relationships between work engagement and work commitment systematically by using empirical data. In this study, the data were gathered via self-reported questionnaire from the healthcare staff working in 14 health centres and four hospitals in Finland. The data consisted of 435 responses. The material was analysed by using structural equation modelling (SEM) and correlations. The items of work engagement and work commitment dimensions (identification with organization, willingness to exert in organization’s favour, occupational commitment and job involvement) loaded on their own latent variables in SEM analysis, so the data supported this five-factor model. Work engagement and work commitment dimensions were positively related, sharing between 2 and 33% of their variances. These constructs also displayed different correlations with some indicators of well-being measured as personal accomplishment, psychological well-being, mental resources, internal work motivation and willingness to stay on at work. Work engagement had moderate positive correlation to personal accomplishment (r = 0.68, p < 0.001). Identification with organization (r = 0.40, p < 0.001), willingness to exert in organization’s favour (r =0.44, p < 0.001) and occupational commitment (r =0.37, p < 0.001) had low correlations to personal accomplishment. The results support the notion that work engagement can be empirically discriminated from work commitment. They are distinct, yet related constructs that complement each other, describing different aspects of positive attitudes towards work. The results can be utilized in interventions aimed at quality of working life in health care as well as in studies investigating discriminant and construct validity.