Engaging employees: can job differentiation do the trick? A qualitative study on job differentiation and its impact on work engagement

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Different ongoing trends challenge organizations to think ahead to remain viable in the future: the ageing issue, the increased complexity of the demands on healthcare and the threatening shortages on the labour market. Organizations are looking for both effective ways and efficiency improvements to respond to these trends. Job differentiation is one way in which organizations try to respond to these trends adequately. The goal of this study is to gather insight in the concept of job differentiation, its impact on jobs in terms of job demands and job resources and its impact on work engagement. Understanding the relationship between job differentiation and work engagement is important, because the employee outcome can lead to the achievement of organizational goals as well. In view of the lack of a clear, complete and delineated conceptualization of job differentiation, this study has an explorative character. The study took place in one healthcare organization, where eight employees have been interviewed whose jobs have been differentiated. The most important results refer to insight in the concept of job differentiation, an overview of job demands and resources that have been impacted the most by job differentiation, and the most important job demands and resources in relation to work engagement. The JD-R model therefore can be seen as an useful framework to gather insight in the relation between job differentiation and work engagement. However, the study also reveals different job demands and resources, and the importance of context-dependent factors such as personal character and employer-related factors. This study serves as a fruitful basis and enables future research to use these findings for the further delineation of the concept of job differentiation and test the findings more quantitatively.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen