Crafting Task and Cognitive Job Boundaries to Enhance Self-Determination, Impact, Meaning and Competence at Work

Behav Sci (Basel). 2019 Dec 3;9(12):136. doi: 10.3390/bs9120136.


Job crafting refers to physical and cognitive changes in task or relational work boundaries, enacted by individuals to recreate their work experience in a more motivating and rewarding way, and to realize self-actualization, growth, and meaning at work. This study tests a model of individual, interpersonal, and organizational antecedents and motivational outcomes of situation-directed task and self-directed cognitive job crafting. Employee survey data (N = 1196) from a Chinese telecommunications company permitted confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Antecedents were each measured with three-item versions of established scales, a two-dimensional scale on task and cognitive job crafting was newly developed, and a four-dimensional model of psychological empowerment captured motivational effects. Structural modeling confirmed a partial mediating role of job crafting between antecedents and empowerment. Individual growth requires strength and intellectual stimulation from one's leader that is positively related to both tasks and cognitive crafting, while exposure to organizational constraints triggered task crafting only. Confirming differential motivational effects, task crafting predicted control-oriented empowerment dimensions of self-determination and impact, whereas cognitive crafting affected person-oriented dimensions of meaning and competence. Interpreted as a micro-emancipatory form of self-management, job crafting offers some new insights into leadership, coping, work design, work orientations, and motivation. Practical and research implications of this are discussed.

Keywords: growth need strength; intellectual stimulation; job crafting; proactive work behavior; psychological empowerment; situational constraints; structural equation modeling; survey research.