Examining the Interactive Effects of Core Self-Evaluations and Perceived Support on Employees’ Engagement and Performance in the Australian Mining Sector

Student thesis: DBA


Variations in levels of employee engagement, employee performance, and perceptions of support at Global Mining Conglomerate observed on several internal surveys triggered inquisition into understanding their potential causation. Employee engagement is a state of mind widely associated with positive organisational outcomes such as employee performance. While extant literature has widely identified antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement, this study enhances knowledge by examining the mechanisms that leads to its manifestation. More specifically, the study investigates the interactive influence of employees’ higher order personality trait of Core Self-Evaluations on engagement and performance’s relationships with support at work comprising of perceived organisational support, perceived supervisory support, and perceived co-worker support in the Australian mining context.
This research was grounded on several sound theories. Core to the research were two higher order theoretical perspectives of organisational support theory and Core self-evaluations theory. These two theoretical perspectives were encapsulated in the broader theory of person-situation interactionism. Organisational support theory is a social exchange evaluation by employees of the care and appreciation they get in exchange for the efforts at work they give. Core self-evaluations theory posits that higher order traits of self-esteem, generalised self-efficacy, emotional stability, and locus of control influence subconscious behaviours such as engagement and performance. Based on person-situation theory the study conceptualises that the interaction of core self-evaluations on situational factors at work can influence engagement and performance of employees in the Australian mining sector.
The research was based on a deductive positivist approach. It utilised a cross-sectional quantitative research methodology to administer survey questions. Self-administered questionnaires comprising of six measurement instruments (perceived organisational support scale, perceived supervisory support scale, perceived co-worker support scale, Utrecht Work Engagement scale, employee performance scale, and core-self-evaluation scale) utilising 7- point Likert scale statements, and demographics questions assessing gender, tenure and experience were used to extract data from employees at a mine in Australia. Additionally, Marlowe-Crowne social desirability scale was used to assess for potential common method v bias from self-report questionnaires used in the research. SmartPLS3 software was used to analyse Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) data. The research makes several contributions to knowledge, literature, and practice. The first contribution relates to the theme of the research. The research contributes new knowledge to literature in that employees’ subconscious evaluation of their worthy, and capabilities were found to impact their proclivity to engage and perform at work. Employees with high levels of core self-evaluations were found to be more inclined to engage and perform than those with lower levels of core self-evaluations. Secondly, core self-evaluations were found to have a buffering effect on lower levels of support. When support levels were low, employees with high levels of core self-evaluations were more engaged than those with low levels of core self-evaluations. Thirdly, the research makes contribution to practice by identifying core self-evaluation as a psychometric factor that can be used to onboard candidates who are predisposed to engage and perform at work. The research findings corroborate extant literature and extend to the Australian mining sector the direct relationships between (1), organisational support and engagement, (2), supervisory support and engagement, (3), co-worker support and engagement, (4), engagement and performance, (5), organisational support and performance, (6), supervisory support and performance, and (7), co-worker support and performance. These findings extend organisational support theory to the sector in that, employees in the Australian mining sector also form global perceptions about the appreciation, support, and care they get from the organisations they work for, their supervisors, and their co-workers. In exchange for the appreciation, support, and care, they invoke the norms of social exchange theory by enhancing their physical, cognitive, and psychological attachment to work. The final contribution relates to the partial mediation role of employee engagement on the relationships between support variables at work and performance. These findings extend employee engagement’s complimentary mediating effects to the mining sector of Australia.
Date of Award13 Oct 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Australian Institute of Business
SupervisorDiane Kalendra (Supervisor), Syed Mohyuddin (Supervisor) & Mohtsham Saeed (Supervisor)

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