A mixed methods study of affective well-being among SME employees in Malaysia

Yap, Wai Meng (2024) A mixed methods study of affective well-being among SME employees in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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It is essential for organisations to prioritise the affective well-being of their employees, considering the interplay between affective well-being, mental health, and positive organisational outcomes. Yet, the literature on affective well-being has been minimal and in need of more focused research. Similarly, meaning at work, an important construct in employees' well-being research, faces a dearth of research, especially meaning at work in SMEs. Given that previous studies have advocated for research focused on SMEs, as findings based on large organisations are not transferrable to smaller organisations (Heneman et al., 2000), this research focuses on SMEs. The minimal research on affective well-being among SMEs in Malaysia has formed the basis for a qualitative research design to be adopted, which is the empirical study 1. This study seeks to explore the affective well-being of SME employees. The absence of research on the meaning at work among SMEs, has formed the background for the conceptualisation ofstudy 2. The study examines how participants define meaning at work, and how their respective organisations allow or does not allow them to have meaning at work. From the findings of empirical study 1 and study 1, a conceptual framework was devised, and the corresponding variables were tested in a quantitative design which is the empirical study 3.

For study 1, it aimed to explore and understand what about an organization that enables SMEs employees to feel positive and negative emotions in the workplace. In study 1, it was found that participants who experienced virtuousness in their organizations had more instances of experiencing positive affect at work. Conversely, participants who did not experienced virtuousness in their organization or a lack thereof, were more likely to experience negative affect at work. Specifically, participants who experienced virtues such as trust, a compassionate and caring environment, altruism, integrity, forgiveness, and optimism had experienced more affective wellbeing at work. For study 2, this second qualitative study explored on what makes SME employees derive meaning at work. It sought to understand and explore what do employees perceive as meaning at work and how does an organization enables (or hinders) employees from achieving meaning at work. In this study, participants discussed on what and how do they perceive meaning at work. Participants spoke on this through sub themes such as fulfilment & personal development, being aligned to personal values, impact to organization and impact to society. Besides, participants also discussed on the association between experiencing meaning at work with affective wellbeing. Further, study 2 had found that instances of virtuousness allowed SME employees to experience meaning at work. Specifically, this is from the perspective of four themes namely; trust and altruism at work, doing “Good” work, doing “Good” in society and care and compassion. Lastly, in study 3, this quantitative study had found that all four hypothesis of this study is supported. Specifically, the hypothesis that 1) Organization virtuousness (OV) will significantly and positively predict job related affective wellbeing (JAWS), 2) OV will significantly and positively predict meaning at work (MW), 3) MW will significantly and positively predict JAWS and 4) MW will fully mediate the relationship between OV and JAWS are all supported. This quantitative study is essential as it confirms the conceptual framework derived from the first two qualitative studies of this thesis. In a nutshell, the mixed methods study of this 9 9 research has allowed the context of affective well-being among SME employees in Malaysia to be understood further, with its respective, practical, and theoretical implications.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ramos, Hazel Melanie
Badri, Siti Khadijah Zainal
Mustafa, Michael
Keywords: SME employees, working environment, work culture, wellbeing, staff healthcare
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Division of Organisational and Applied Psychology
Item ID: 76907
Depositing User: Yap, Wai Meng
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2024 04:40
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2024 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/76907

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