ARE YOUR WORK ATTITUDES AFFECTED BY THOSE OF YOUR COWORKERS? EXAMINING THE CROSSOVER OF ENGAGEMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
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In this study, I examined the role of potential moderators and mediators of the crossover or ‘contagion’ of engagement between employees. I hypothesized that coworker support and positive coworker communication would mediate the transfer of engagement between coworkers and focal individuals. In addition, I hypothesized that individual differences (susceptibility to emotional contagion, self-construal, and agreeableness) and coworker characteristics (emotional expressiveness and organizational hierarchical status) would moderate the transfer of engagement between coworkers and focal individuals. Using a web-based survey methodology, I collected self-reported data from 1142 employees belonging to a total of 153 work teams in a multinational, engineering and construction firm. Using hierarchical linear modeling, I tested the above hypotheses while controlling for shared job resources. Evidence for engagement crossover was demonstrated by the significant relationship between individuals’ and their coworkers’ engagement scores. In addition, positive coworker communication about work-related matters was found to partially mediate the crossover of engagement between individuals and their coworkers. Third, individuals, who construed themselves as interdependent with others, had engagement scores that were more convergent with those of their coworkers. Finally, the non-significant relationship between focal individuals’ and their supervisors’ engagement scores indicated the absence of engagement crossover between employees who had different organizational (hierarchical) statuses. Theoretical and practical implications of the study’s findings are discussed.