The impact of organizational support for employees’ health on organizational commitment, intent to remain and job performance

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/EBHRM-10-2018-0062
Publication Date02 Dec 2019
Pages281-299
AuthorLin Xiu,Kim Nichols Dauner,Christopher Richard McIntosh
SubjectHr & organizational behaviour
The impact of organizational
support for employeeshealth on
organizational commitment, intent
to remain and job performance
Lin Xiu
Department of Management Studies,
University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Kim Nichols Dauner
Department of Healthcare Management,
University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA, and
Christopher Richard McIntosh
Department of Economics,
University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between employeesperceptions of
organizational support for employee health (OSEH) and employeesturnover intention and job performance,
with a focus on the possible mediating roles of affective commitment and wellness program participation in
these relationships.
Design/methodology/approach Data were collected from surveys of employees at a public university
that provides employees with a variety of wellness program options. Conditional procedural analysis was
conducted to test the model.
Findings Results showed that employeesperceptions of OSEH positively related to both turnover
intention and job performance and that affective commitment fully mediated the relationships between OSEH
perceptions and both dependent variables.
Research limitations/implications Cross-sectional data were collected on OSEH, affective commitment,
employeesintent to remain in the organization and job performance. Future studies based on panel data
would be helpful to establish the causal relationships in the model.
Practical implications Our findings show that employeesperceptions of OSEH are likely to affect
behavioral outcomes through affective commitment, suggesting that managers should ensurethat employees
are aware of organizational support for health promotion. Our findings also suggest that organizations move
beyond a focus on design of wellness programs to include an emphasis on the overall OSEH.
Originality/value This research study is the first empirical examination on the two possible channels
through which organizational health support may influence employeesintent to remain and job performance
participation in wellness programs and affective organizational commitment. The results are of value to
researchers, human resource management managers, employees and executives who are seeking to develop
practices that promote employee health at the workplace.
Keywords Well-being at work, Human resource management, Employee turnover,
Work performance and productivity, Work engagement and commitment
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Workplace health promotion programs have traditionally been viewed as part of employee
benefits, largely aimed at reducing the rising costs of healthcare coverage and absenteeism
due to employeeshealth-related issues. Based on a meta-analysis of the literature on costs
and savings associated with wellness programs, Baicker et al. (2010) showed that medical
costs fall by about $3.27, and absenteeism costs fall about $2.73, for every dollar spent on
wellness programs.
Evidence-based HRM: a Global
Forum for Empirical Scholarship
Vol. 7 No. 3, 2019
pp. 281-299
© Emerald PublishingLimited
2049-3983
DOI 10.1108/EBHRM-10-2018-0062
Received 8 October 2018
Revised 16 January 2019
12 February 2019
Accepted 13 February 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/2049-3983.htm
281
Organizational
support for
employees
health
More recently, some argue that organizational support for health promotion may also
contribute to an organizations bottom line by attracting and retaining talent, as well as
increasing employeesmorale, satisfaction and performance (Mujtaba and Cavico, 2013;
Bolnick et al., 2013; Beck et al., 2016). The mechanisms through which organizationshealth
promotion impacts human resources (HR) outcomes, however, remain unclear. We argue
that organizational support for employee health (OSEH) is an important aspect of
organizationsstrategic human resources management (HRM) practices, which help
organizations receive a higher return on its human capital investment (Hayton, 2003). In this
paper, we seek to examine the HR outcomes of OSEH from a strategic HRM perspective,
particularly through the lens of its impact on employeesattitudes and behaviors. Data were
collected from surveys of employees at a four-year public university located in the Midwest
USA that provides employees with a variety of wellness program options. The model was
tested with PROCESS mediation analysis. Results showed that employeesperceptions of
OSEH are positively related to both turnover intention and job performance and that
affective commitment fully mediates the relationships between OSEH perceptions and both
dependent variables. Wellness program participation, however, is not a significant predictor
of either intent to remain or job performance, nor does it mediate the relationship between
OSEH perceptions and the dependent variables.
The contribution of this study is threefold. First, we contribute to the literature
by examining the mechanisms through which OSEH impacts HR outcomes, particularly
intent to remain in the organization and job performance. Second, we examine whether
employeesperceptions of organizational health support affect employeesattitudes and
behaviors at work. As argued by Kehoe and Wright (2013), because employees
perceptions of HR practices necessarily follow managersHR practice implementation,
employeesHR practices perceptions are temporally closer to, and consequently likely to
be more predictive of, their attitudinal and behavioral outcomes than are HR practice
ratings as provided by managers(Kehoe and Wright, 2013, p. 369). Such an investigation
allows us to better understand whether employeessubjective experience with
organizational health support impacts their attitudinal and behavioral outcomes; and if
so, through what mechanisms? Third, relying on an integrative model using conditional
process analysis, we compared the two possible channels through which organizational
health support may influence employeesintent to remain and job performance
participation in wellness programs and affective organizational commitment, and
examined alternative explanations for the positive impact of organizational health
support on HR outcomes.
2. Background and hypotheses
2.1 Organizational support for employee health
Organizational support has drawn considerable attention in the management and social
psychology literature (Cropanzano et al., 2017; Eisenberger et al., 1986; Joo and Lee, 2017;
Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2002) and has been seen as one of the key constructs that
underline the application of social exchange theory in employment relationships (see review,
Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2002). Employees develop global beliefs concerning the extent to
which the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being(pg. 500,
Eisenberger et al., 1986). The traditional way to think of OSEH has primarily focused on
providing health-related employee benefits such as health insurance, and, more recently, a
series of wellness programs such as fitness classes and nutrition training. This narrow focus
ignores an important aspect of health promotion the interaction of behavioral and
environmental factors (ODonnell, 2009). Recognizing the important influence of
environmental factors, some have argued that supportive social and physical
environments should be considered essential aspects of comprehensive worksite health
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