How can personal development lead to increased engagement? The roles of meaningfulness and perceived line manager relations

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There is an increasing need to understand the psychological processes that link personal development with employee engagement, particularly the boundary conditions at which these occur. The current study sought to meet this need by testing whether perceived opportunities for development are positively associated with job engagement indirectly through the experience of meaningfulness, and whether this indirect relationship is conditional on the level of perceived line manager relations. Questionnaire data was collected from 152 UK workers from a range of occupations and organizations. The results found support for all the hypotheses. In particular, the positive effects of perceived opportunities for development on job engagement (measured one month later) via meaningfulness were only significant for those who perceived that they had a good relationship with their line manager. Thus, there is a need for line managers to develop high quality relationships with their direct reports in order for development practices to translate into positive psychological outcomes. Engagement theory could be advanced by further understanding broaden-and-build and social exchange processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1226
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2019


  • Engagement
  • line management
  • meaningfulness
  • moderated mediation
  • personal development

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