Effects of Demographics on the Relationship between Optimism and Work Engagement among Employees of State Agencies in Kenya

Richard Kipter Rotich, Thomas Kimeli Cheruiyot, Michael Kirwa Korir


Organizations desire highly engaged employees for higher productivity. Both personal and organizational factors drive work engagement. Work engagement in the public sector is low globally. In a survey of 389 managerial employees in 32 state agencies in Kenya, the study explored whether optimism and demographic factors influence the level of work engagement.325 returned questionnaires were analyzed to derive descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS version 21. The reliability and the validity of the questionnaire items were checked. Work engagement levels was high (mean 4.14), Optimism was moderate (mean 3.44).Work engagement positively and significantly correlated with optimism (r=0.257, p< 0.01).Age positively and significantly correlated with work engagement (r=0.153, p<0.01).Optimism and demographics predicted 6.6% and 3.5% of work engagement respectively. The study demonstrated evidence that optimism influence work engagement more than demographic factors. Employees can exhibit high levels of work engagement when they are psychologically positive about their future.

Keywords: Optimism, Work engagement, Positive organizational behaviour, Public sector.

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