Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Study of Work-Related Subjective Well-Being at a Professional Service Firm: Antecedents, Outcomes, Correlations
by Juszko, Lidia, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 273; 13903166
Abstract (Summary)

Engagement and happiness influence business results and individuals’ well-being. Yet in spite of significant academic research and heavy investments into surveying employees and introducing Human Resources policies designed to raise engagement levels, actual levels of happiness and engagement in organizations have remained unchanged and low in the last decade. The purpose of this study was to better understand the relationship between engagement and happiness at work and what influences individuals’ work-related subjective well-being most significantly. This mixed methods study conducted at a professional service firm combined cross-sectional statistical engagement survey data from 6,500 professionals with the thematic analysis of 19 in-depth interviews with professionals of the firm. This study found a strong positive relationship between engagement and happiness at work and a directional link from engagement to happiness. In some limited cases, over-engagement at work was seen to diminish happiness in life, and when that happens, happiness at work diminishes too. This study found four job resources as essential ingredients of work-related subjective well-being in a professional service firm: the challenge and growth afforded by the job characteristics, a sense of community, an outlook or path, and the meaning of one’s work. A related finding was the significant role played by managers and leaders in creating the conditions by which individuals could access those four job resources. The study confirmed that workload was the most significant job demand in the professional service firm. However, the influence of workload on engagement, as it increases the four job resources, could be positive up to a point before turning negative. A related finding was that psychological safety is another significant job demand. Finally, the study found that hope is a significant personal resource and contributes positively to individuals’ experience of happiness at work. This study establishes the link between engagement and happiness in a professional service firm and contributes to an understanding of how job resources, job demands and personal resources influence engagement and happiness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McKee, Annie
Commitee: Gray, Abigail, Wiens, Kandi
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Labor economics, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Engagement, Happiness, Professional service firm, Subjective well-being, Job resources, Job demands, Personal resources, Hope
Publication Number: 13903166
ISBN: 9781088320792
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