Predictors of work alienation: differences between hierarchical levels

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The current study is aimed at analyzing whether and how organizational constraints (i.e. lack of autonomy) and individual characteristics (i.e. psychological capital) are related to work alienation in subordinates and supervisors, and whether the often hypothesized relationship between autonomy and work alienation is moderated in a three-way interaction (autonomy × psychological capital × hierarchical level). The hypotheses are developed by drawing on the tenets of the job demands-resources model.

The study is based on two-wave survey data from 294 Dutch employees (subordinates and supervisors).

The paper finds that autonomy is more negatively related to work alienation for subordinates with low psychological capital than for subordinates with high psychological capital. Autonomy is negatively related to work alienation for leaders, independent of their level of psychological capital.

Antecedents of work alienation have received substantial attention from researchers. The authors aim to better understand these antecedents by highlighting differences between supervisors and subordinates.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalCareer Development International
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Aug 2021


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