Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal With Supervisor (RISCS): Scale Development and Conditional Model of Meaningfulness at Work

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Abstract

The experience of meaning and meaningfulness at work is associated with important individual and organizational outcomes. Relationships, particularly with higher status role partners, are a pathway through which employees construct meaningful experience. Relationship with one’s supervisor is often cited as 1 of the most important job characteristics with regard to individual attitudes and performance. In Study 1 a brief measure of Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal With Supervisor (RISCS) is produced. Utilizing RISCS, Study 2 draws on social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) to construct a conditional model involving communication with one’s supervisor, RISCS, general social status, and meaningfulness at work. Results show that communication with one’s supervisor serves as a form of social support in that it has a direct positive effect on relational identification and meaningfulness. Relational identification also acts as a mediator of the relationship between communication and reported meaningfulness. The first and second stage mediation effect is moderated by general social status, such that the mediating effect of relational identification is only present when subordinate general social status is low. In combination, these results suggest that employees of lower general social status utilize relational identification with a higher work status individual (i.e., supervisor) to experience a higher level of meaningfulness at work. These results explicate previous equivocal findings on social support, and, offer practical implications for supervisor training.

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