Selection, optimization, and compensation strategies : interactive effects on daily work engagement

H. Zacher, F. Chan, A.B. Bakker, E. Demerouti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The theory of selective optimization with compensation (SOC) proposes that the "orchestrated" use of three distinct action regulation strategies (selection, optimization, and compensation) leads to positive employee outcomes. Previous research examined overall scores and additive models (i.e., main effects) of SOC strategies instead of interaction models in which SOC strategies mutually enhance each other's effects. Thus, a central assumption of SOC theory remains untested. In addition, most research on SOC strategies has been cross-sectional, assuming that employees' use of SOC strategies is stable over time. We conducted a quantitative diary study across nine work days (N = 77; 514 daily entries) to investigate interactive effects of daily SOC strategies on daily work engagement. Results showed that optimization and compensation, but not selection, had positive main effects on work engagement. Moreover, a significant three-way interaction effect indicated that the relationship between selection and work engagement was positive only when both optimization and compensation were high, whereas the relationship was negative when optimization was low and compensation was high. We discuss implications for future research and practice regarding the use of SOC strategies at work
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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