Facilitating interns’ performance: The role of job resources, basic need satisfaction and work engagement
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report a study in which central propositions from the job demands-resources (JD-R) theory and self-determination theory (SDT) are used to examine the antecedents of performance during practical internships. The central hypothesis of this study was that job resources foster performance through basic need satisfaction and work engagement (sequential mediation). Design/methodology/approach: An empirical multi-source study among Dutch interns and their supervisors in various occupational sectors. The interns reported their level of resources, basic needs satisfaction and work engagement, whereas supervisors rated interns’ task performance (n=1,188 unique supervisor–intern dyads). Findings: This study integrates insights of the JD-R theory – by examining the relations between job resources, work engagement and performance – with a central premise of the SDT – which maintains that basic need satisfaction is the fundamental process through which employees’ optimal functioning can be understood. The outcomes of the path analyses revealed that satisfaction of needs indeed accounted for the relationship between job resources and work engagement as supposed in the SDT (Deci and Ryan, 2000). Further, the sequential mediated relation between job resources and performance through basic need satisfaction and work engagement corroborates the JD-R theory (Bakker and Demerouti, 2014). Originality/value: As far as the authors know, this is the first study that examined the sequential mediation from job resources to performance via basic need satisfaction and work engagement, among a large sample of intern–supervisor dyads, including the objective performance rating of their (internship) supervisors.