ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 888-905.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.00888

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Job crafting embedded in social contexts

LIN Xinyue1,2, MENG Liang1,2()   

  1. 1School of Business and Management, Shanghai International Studies University
    2Institute of Organizational Behavior and Organizational Neuroscience, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai 200083, China
  • Received:2021-08-31 Online:2022-04-15 Published:2022-02-22
  • Contact: MENG Liang


Most employees do not work in isolation. Thus, social contexts shape and influence one’s attitudes and behaviors at work, including whether to perform job crafting behaviors or not. Till now, a growing number of studies have incorporated the broader social context when studying job crafting. Based on the existing research findings, four research perspectives on the intricate relationships between job crafting and social contexts are systematically summarized (i.e., social contexts as targets of job crafting, social contexts being involved in job crafting, social contexts as antecedents of individual job crafting, and social contexts as moderators of job crafting). In addition, mechanisms underlying the effects of varied social context factors on job crafting, interactions of social contexts and individual characteristics on job crafting, as well as the effectiveness of job crafting in specific contexts are proposed and discussed. Illuminated by existing research on other constructs related to job crafting (e.g., proactive behavior, and proactive motivation), prospects for future research on job crafting embedded in social contexts are proposed. First, as employees are embedded in a broader social context beyond themselves, it is highly likely that one’s job crafting would influence other individuals (e.g., coworkers) in the workplace. Thus, researchers may systematically examine the influence of one’s job crafting on others in future studies, including how others would perceive and respond to one’s job crafting, and when and how one’s job crafting would promote others’ crafting behaviors (i.e., the crossover effect of individual job crafting). Second, team job crafting has gained increasing research attention as work teams have become the basic work unit of organizations and are fundamental to organizational performance. Given that team job crafting is not the simple addition of individual job crafting, individuals’ crafting behaviors embedded in teams are inevitably influenced by team job crafting. Future research can explore the multiple paths through which team job crafting drives individual job crafting, and determine potential mediators based on the three commonly identified mechanisms of emotional contagion, social learning, and social norms. Third, based on the proactive motivation model proposed by Parker and colleagues, the three motivational states (i.e., can do, reason to, and energized to) through which social contexts factors influence individual job crafting are identified. Future research endeavors may examine the underlying mechanisms based on these three states and search for potential mediators. Moreover, based on the interactionist perspective of organizational behavior, social contexts would make an even stronger impact on one’s behaviors when individual characteristics fit the specific social context. Thus, it is fruitful to have an in-depth exploration of interactions of social context factors and individual characteristics on job crafting. Last but not least, it is worth noting that job crafting was originally proposed in western managerial contexts by western researchers. As a self-oriented proactive behavior which mainly serves personal well-being, job crafting may be riskier in the Chinese sociocultural context where collectivism is highly valued. On the one hand, one’s job crafting may have an unintended negative influence on coworkers. On the other hand, direct managers vary in their perceptions of job crafting behaviors initiated by their employees. Thus, taking task and strategic contexts, social and relational contexts, and one’s own self-regulation into account are crucial for the effectiveness of job crafting. To sum up, future studies may pay close attention to the manners in which social context factors can better serve job crafting. It is widely known that supportive work environment facilitates individual job crafting. Researchers can take one step further to reflect on the social context factors that influence one’s job crafting, and then find the specific forms of supportive work environment that better facilitate job crafting. As a result, managers may pay attention to the supportive work environment that promotes employees’ job crafting behaviors, and adopt effective strategies to facilitate individual proactive behaviors.

Key words: social context, job crafting, team job crafting, proactive motivation, proactive behavior

CLC Number: