Do we need autonomy and development opportunities to stay vital, employable and workable?

  • Christiane de Lange (Speaker)
  • Tinka van Vuuren (Speaker)
  • Oldenhuis, H. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Purpose –The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships between ‘autonomy’, and the self-reported levels of ‘vitality’, ‘workability’ and ‘employability’.
Research Question: Does autonomy increase the sustainability of workers?
1. Autonomy increases the levels of vitality, employability, and workability (direct influence).
2. Fulfillment of the need for autonomy mediates this relationship.
3. Development opportunities also mediate the influence of autonomy on vitality, employability, and workability.
Contribution As relatively little is known about the relationship (and it’s structure) of autonomy, and development opportunities with vitality, workability, and employability, this study provides new insights on how job-resources can be effective when managing an aging population.
Design -883 employees of high schools in The Netherlands completed a questionnaire containing (amongst others) the Work Ability Index, a job control scale, the work-related basic need satisfaction scale, an employability scale and the work engagement scale.
Results – Hierarchical multiple regression analysis, and mediation analysis using the steps of Baron and Kenny (1986) supported our mediation model. Significant relationships between ‘autonomy’, ‘self-perceived development opportunities’, the ‘fulfillment of the need for autonomy’, the ‘fulfillment of the need for competence’, and the self-reported levels of ‘vitality’, ‘workability’ and ‘employability’, were found. There effect of autonomy was mediated by the mediators. However, the mediation was partial, not full.
Limitations – Future research is needed to assess whether the model is consistent in different environments.
Research/practical implications –Human Resource Management needs to address and satisfy the need for autonomy of their employees, if they want to increase the sustainability of their workforce.
Held atOpen Universiteit, Netherlands


  • labour participation
  • sustainability
  • autonomy