Research Article: Understanding well-being at work: Development and validation of the eudaimonic workplace well-being scale

Date Published: April 25, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Amy L. Bartels, Suzanne J. Peterson, Christopher S. Reina, Angel Blanch.


Given the amount of time and effort individuals pour into work, scholars and practitioners alike have spent considerable time and resources trying to understand well-being in the workplace. Unfortunately, much of the current research and measurement focuses on workplace well-being from only one perspective (i.e. hedonic well-being rather than eudaimonic well-being) or by generalizing between workplace well-being and general well-being. In this study, we sought to integrate the workplace context into the current eudaimonic perspective to develop an 8-item measure of eudaimonic workplace well-being. Using multi-wave data, we developed and validated a reliable, two-dimensional eudaimonic workplace well-being scale (EWWS). The measure replicated over seven samples and across 1346 participants and showed strong convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity. Furthermore, we combined EWWS with an existing measure of hedonic workplace well-being and the resulting model of overall workplace well-being explained a significant amount of variance in key organizational constructs over and above existing hedonic well-being measures. Overall, the present study suggests that the EWWS is a valuable and valid measure and, when taken together with hedonic workplace well-being, captures what it means to have a holistic sense of well-being at work.

Partial Text

In today’s modern world, work life consumes a significant part of most individuals’ lives. A recent report by Gallup showed that the average workweek for full-time employees in the United States has risen to 46.7 hours, which adds up to almost a full extra day of work [1] and 34% of Americans admit to working additional hours on the weekends [2]. These additional work hours take a toll on workers, leading to burnout and work overload in 68% of full-time workers [3]. Therefore, it is not surprising that organizational researchers have invested considerable attention trying to better understand the role that work plays in an individual’s well-being [4–7].

We sought to create and validate the Eudaimonic Workplace Well-being Scale (EWWS) to allow scholars to isolate and study an employee’s workplace well-being specifically from the eudaimonic perspective. To begin, we created the EWWS by generating and refining the final items included in the scale. Next, we validated the new scale by assessing the psychometric properties of the scale including reliabilities and factor structure, and demonstrated convergent and discriminant validity. We also examined the scale’s predictive validity to begin mapping the nomological network of eudaimonic workplace well-being. Finally, we tested whether eudaimonic workplace well-being could be combined with the hedonic perspective to reflect overall workplace well-being and tested the scale’s predictive ability. All data was collected in compliance with the Institutional Review Board at Arizona State University (IRB: STUDY00001649). None of the samples listed below included any minors and/or special populations and the data was analyzed anonymously. Therefore, the need for consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board during the review process.

The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to have well-being at work. Although scholars have long discussed what it means to have a “good life” in general [9], the workplace represents a unique context and well-being in one context does not always translate to another. To address this issue, we developed a domain-specific conceptualization and measure of eudaimonic well-being at work (EWWS). Our study included seven separate samples, 1346 participants, and multi-wave data to lend empirical support for both the EWWS and a new overall model of workplace well-being. Our results generally support our hypotheses. Specifically, we demonstrate that the EWWS can be used as a standalone scale that is distinct from general eudaimonic well-being and other similar constucts such as job engagement, life satisfaction, or leader-member exchange (Hyptheses 2, 3). Furthermore, the EWWS predicts key organizational constructs such as creativity and turnover intentions (Hypothesis 4). Importantly, our data suggest that the most complete picture of workplace well-being involves a combination of eudaimonic and hedonic perspectives (Hypothesis 5). Said simply, our work supports that well-being at work is best achieved when employees feel a two dimensional sense of meaning and purpose (intrapersonal well-being) and experience positive social interactions (interpersonal well-being; Hypotheis 1) combined with a sense of positive affect (job sastifaction) toward their roles. Finally, this overall construct of workplace well-being is significantly related to key organizational constructs such as organizational citizenship behaviors and employee popularity (Hypothesis 6).

DIRECTIONS: This portion of the survey consists of a number of statements that may describe how you feel within your workplace.




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