Do self-leading healthcare professionals sustain their own employability?

Pauline van Dorssen, C.V. van Vuuren, Monique Veld

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Do self-leading healthcare professionals sustain their own employability? Purpose Nowadays, sustainable employability is more relevant than ever before. Sustainable employability denotes the degree to which employees are willing, able and have the opportunity to carry out their current and future work (Le Blanc, Van der Heijden & Van Vuuren, 2017). In order to sustain employability both employers and employees are hold responsible. Employers are responsible for an optimal work environment, while employees are responsible for their own behavior, motivation and attitude. Employees are expected to take care for their own functioning in a self-responsible way. Actually they are encouraged to self-leadership in order to strengthen their sustainable employability. Self-leadership is generally defined as the self-influencing process leading to optimal self-motivation and self-direction, which both are necessary for optimal performance (Stewart, Courtright & Manz, 2011; Manz, 1986). A specific set of conscious strategies are prescribed, as these are assumed to be helpful in this self-influencing process. Behavior focused strategies (e.g. goalsetting, self-reward) are especially helpful when confronted with difficult, boring, or otherwise challenging tasks. Constructive thought pattern strategies help to construe positive and helpful thoughts. Natural rewards strategies aims to influence the job environment in such way that this job becomes intrinsic, or naturally motivating (Neck and Houghton, 2006). Self-leadership not only refers to a set of specific self-influencing strategies, but also to actual independent behavior (Yun, Cox, and Sims, 2006). Self-leading individuals take responsibility for their own functioning, take initiative at work, and solve their problems independently. Current study investigated whether self-leadership is positive related to sustainable employability of healthcare professionals. Design / Methodology Employees from two Dutch healthcare organisations (N=224 and N=113) completed a questionnaire containing three existing self-leadership scales (natural rewards strategies, self-influencing self-leadership strategies, and independent action), and their ability (health), motivation (work engagement) and opportunity (perceived employability) to continue working measured with existing scales. The hypothesized model was tested in SEM with AMOS. Results Both the ability and the motivation to continue working are related with natural rewards self-leadership strategies, while the opportunity to continue working is related with independent action. Self-influencing behavior focused and constructive thought pattern strategies were not related to the ability, motivation and/or opportunity to continue working. Limitations The data have been collected among employees within one specific sector. Another limitation of our research is that the employees were the sole source of information and a third limitation is the cross-sectional design of our study, which precludes causal conclusions from our results. Research/ practical implications For improving the sustainable employability of healthcare professionals, focus is needed on development of both natural rewards self-leadership strategies and independent action. Originality/Value In spite of increasing demands within healthcare organisations, research on the potential effects of self-leadership is scarce. Current research shed light on different aspects of the self-leadership process in relation to sustainable employability of healthcare professionals. Literature Le Blanc P.M., Van der Heijden B.I.J.M, Van Vuuren T. (2017).“I WILL SURVIVE” A Construct Validation Study on the Measurement of Sustainable Employability Using Different Age Conceptualizations. Frontiers in Psychology;8:1690. http://doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01690 . Manz, C. (1986). Toward an Expanded Theory of Self-Influence Processes in Organizations. Academy of Management Review, 11(3), 585–600. Neck, C. P., & Houghton, J. D. (2006). Two decades of self-leadership theory and research: Past developments, present trends, and future possibilities. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), 270–295. Stewart, G. L.;Courtright, S. H.; Manz, C. C. (2011). Self-Leadership: A Multilevel Review. Journal of Management, 37(1), 185–222. Yun, S., Cox, J., & Sims Jr, H. P. (2006). The forgotten follower: a contingency model of leadership and follower self-leadership. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), 374–388.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventEAWOP Small Group Meeting New Frontiers in Employability Research (EAWOP): New Frontiers in Employability Research: How to build a sustainable workforce - Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Duration: 28 Jun 201829 Jun 2018


SeminarEAWOP Small Group Meeting New Frontiers in Employability Research (EAWOP)
Internet address


  • Employability, Self-leadership, healthcare professionals


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