The Role of Co-worker and Supervisor Support in the Relationship Between Job Autonomy and Work Engagement Among Portuguese Nurses: A Multilevel Study

Research paper by María Vera, Isabel M. Martínez, Laura Lorente, Mª José Chambel

Indexed on: 09 Mar '16Published on: 07 Mar '15Published in: Social Indicators Research


The objective is to analyze the relationship between job resources (i.e., job autonomy and social support) and work engagement in nurses. Hypotheses have been tested through hierarchical linear modeling using data from 313 Portuguese nurses (individual level) nested in 33 work teams (team level), after aggregating individual perceptions to the group level and testing the agreement among these perceptions using the rwg(j) and the intraclass correlations indices. Results confirmed first, that individual job autonomy and team-level social support (from the supervisor as well as from co-workers) are positively related to individual work engagement and second, that team-level social support has a moderating effect on the relationship between individual job autonomy and individual work engagement (but not in the case of co-workers’ support). This study provides evidence that nurses’ work engagement results from individual job autonomy and collective social support. Accordingly, fostering job autonomy and social support in order to promote work engagement among nurses can be useful for both hospital managers and practitioners.