The role of savoring on the relationship between HRM and positive employee outcomes | Researchers: Filipa Castanheira and Joana Story
Research conducted by Nova SBE’s Professors Filipa Castanheira and Joana Story studied 117 sales managers’ perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices, and the mediating and moderating processes through which these practices are linked with affective organizational commitment. Specifically, they tested whether work engagement mediated the relationship between perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices and affective commitment, and whether the strength of the hypothesized indirect effects were conditional on the use of savoring strategies. Results supported the mediation effect of work engagement, and savoring strategies were found to moderate the relationship between perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices and work engagement, so that the highest levels of work engagement were found in individuals who reported high perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices and high use of savoring strategies. Finally, results support a conditional indirect effect of performance-oriented HR practices on predicting affective commitment via work engagement when levels of savoring strategies were moderate to high, but not when their use was low. Altogether, these results demonstrated that work engagement and savoring strategies represent key elements in explaining how perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices are associated with affective commitment.
HRM and Organizational Commitment
Affective organizational commitment is an attitude that represents the emotional bond between the employee and the organization and may be cultivated through investment made in human resource (HR) practices.
In this study, the researchers analyze sales managers’ perceptions of whether HR practices are relevant for their performance (performance-oriented HR practices), and they consider two processes that explain the relationship between these perceptions and their affective organizational commitment: one direct, through social exchange theory, and another indirect, through work engagement.
The mediating role of engagement
Work engagement is defined as a persistent and positive affective-motivational state of fulfillment in employees. A sales manager is usually very involved in motivating and empowering others, for example, by putting up sales contests and rewarding employees. In order to motivate others, they need to be motivated themselves.
Performance-oriented HR practices can foster engagement by providing sales managers with available job resources, which stimulate personal development and work motivation.
Conditional indirect effect: The importance of savoring
Filipa Castanheira and Joana Story further propose that sales managers’ ability to sustain work motivation (engagement) is contingent on how they deal with the up-regulation of positive emotion- i.e. the strategies that they use to create, maintain, and enhance emotions such as joy, happiness, and pride. These strategies are known as savoring strategies.
The ability to savor the moment is critical for manager’s morale: If sales managers are capable of up-regulating positive emotions while celebrating, they may initiate an ‘upward spiral’ boosting the positive effect of HRM on work engagement.
First, HRM is related to affective organizational commitment. The authors found a direct effect, and an indirect effect of perceived performance-oriented HR practices on affective commitment through work engagement.
Second, they found that the association between perceived performance-oriented HR practices and work engagement is higher in individuals with high savoring strategies.
Third, results supported a conditional indirect effect of perceived performance-oriented HR practices on predicting affective commitment via work engagement when supervisors reported the use of savoring strategies. The indirect effect was present when levels of savoring strategies were moderate to high, but not when their use was low.
• Perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices relate to how engaged managers feel and how they reciprocate with affective commitment.
»» Findings support the idea that managers choose to engage themselves in their work to various degrees and in response to the resources received by the organization (perceived HRM).
• Work engagement is as a mechanism through which job resources (perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices) nurture higher feelings of affective organizational commitment.
»» Sales managers usually work in stressful conditions, leading and guiding a team of salespeople and delivering results upward to the executive team. In these situations, effective HRM systems can make a difference: recognizing that there is a system of performance-oriented HR practices that was designed to develop the skills necessary to perform the job, evaluate the contributions, and reward the achievements of workers has an influence on the joy of achieving work goals and how committed these managers feel to the organization and its goals.
• Managers’ capacity to savor positive events is an amplifier of the strength of the relationship between perceptions of performance-oriented HR practices and work engagement.
»» Based on the interaction effects we can assume that the worker acknowledges that the positive experience they are living (accomplishment of performance targets and celebration) is possible in part due to an effective HRM system that developed the skills and guided his/her behaviors as sales manager. Hence, savoring the moment (celebration of goals accomplishment) may increase the perceived value of the achievement and, furthermore, establish a contingency- link between the resources provided by the HRM system and the delivery of results.
»» Managers seem to trigger a ‘‘upward spiral”, through the cultivation of positive emotions, booting the positive effect of performance-oriented HR practices on work engagement, enhancing well-being in the long-term.
»» Therefore, the active effort of savoring those positive events strengthens the relationship between performance-oriented HR practices and motivation at work.
• The strategies that managers use to create, maintain, and enhance emotions such as joy and pride during celebrations play an important role in the HRM-affective commitment relationship.
• Savoring strategies are a sort of perceived control over positive emotions, namely the perceived capacity to find it, to regulate it, and to maintain it, therefore; they can be target for intervention.
This article was based on the paper by Filipa Castanheira and Joana Story “Making good things last longer: The role of savoring on the relationship between HRM and positive employee outcomes” published in 2015 in Human Resource Management. DOI:10.1002/hrm.21704.