School of Psychology, University of Waikato
A meta-analysis of authenticity, well-being and engagement
Well-being and engagement are outcomes of increasing interest and importance in a variety of fields, valued both as ends in themselves as well as for their positive impact on organisational outcomes. Authenticity, long considered a key contributor to these concepts in philosophy, has recently seen a resurgence of interest in the psychological literature. A meta-analysis of the relationship between authenticity and well-being / engagement is therefore timely, providing researchers with an overview of the state of the art and identifying avenues for future research. A search of the psychological and management literature identified 75 independent samples (10 for engagement and 65 for well-being), with a total N of 37,012. Results indicate that authenticity has a significant positive effect on both well-being and engagement. Moderator analysis revealed a significant effect of individualism-collectivism but not gender, age or sample type on these relationships. A variety of measures of the key variables were identified and this study makes recommendations for future researchers in choosing appropriate measures. The findings confirm the important role of authenticity in contributing towards increased well-being and engagement, both in workplace samples and the general community. The study also indicates that efforts aimed at encouraging employee authenticity could provide a valuable opportunity to improve these key outcomes in work organisations.
Dr Anna Sutton is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Psychology at the University of Waikato. Her research focuses on authenticity, self-awareness and well-being at work. Recent projects have investigated individual differences in personality consistency, how different people experience authenticity and what kind of impact these differences have on well-being, as well as the extent to which self-awareness can be developed and its influence on well-being. She is also the author of two popular university textbooks, Work Psychology in Action and People, Management and Organizations.