Self-efficacy and work engagement : test of a chain model

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

International Journal of Manpower

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



Emerald Publishing Limited


Work engagement, Work-life balance, Work psychology, Human resource management, Self-efficacy, Role demands


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mediating roles of work and family demands and work-life balance on the relationship between self-efficacy (to regulate work and life) and work engagement. Specifically, it seeks to explain how self-efficacy influences employees’ thought patterns and emotional reactions, which in turn enable them to cope with work and family demands, and ultimately achieve work-life balance and work engagement.

Design/methodology/approach: Structural equation modelling (SEM) of survey data obtained from a heterogeneous sample of 1,010 Australian employees is used to test the hypothesised chain mediation model.

Findings: The SEM results support the hypothesised model. Self-efficacy was significantly and negatively related to work and family demands, which in turn were negatively associated with work-life balance. Work-life balance, in turn, enabled employees to be engaged in their work.

Research limitations/implications: The findings support the key tenets of social cognitive theory and conservation of resources (COR) theory and demonstrate how self-efficacy can lead to work-life balance and engagement despite the presence of role demands. Study limitations (e.g. cross-sectional research design) and future research directions are discussed.

Originality/value: This study incorporates COR theory with social cognitive theory to improve understanding of how self-efficacy enhances work-life balance and work engagement through a self-fulfilling cycle in which employees achieve what they believe they can accomplish, and in the process, build other skills and personal resources to manage work and family challenges.



Print ISSN




Funding Information

Data collection for this research was supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project under Grant DP0770109. {DP0770109}

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Emerald Publishing Limited 2017. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Chan, X. W., Kalliath, T., Brough, P., O’Driscoll, M., Siu, O.-L. & Timms, C. (2017). Self-efficacy and work engagement: test of a chain model. International Journal of Manpower, 38(6), 819-834. doi: 10.1108/IJM-11-2015-0189