Examining the outcomes of having a calling: Does context matter?

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The purpose of this study was to examine the cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes of calling. Further, the study examined the conditions under which individuals with a calling thrive, specifically focusing on the moderating role of work discretion and participative decision making. Data were collected using surveys from 298 teachers and aides working in 68 child care centers. The study results demonstrate that having a strong work calling is beneficial for both individuals and organizations. Results show that individuals who have a strong work calling are more committed to their organizations, have less emotional exhaustion and exhibit higher levels of contextual performance. Thus, in order to reap positive outcomes from their work individuals should engage in work that enables them to pursue their calling. Also, organizations will have increased work outcomes by hiring individuals who have a strong work calling. Further, organizations will benefit greatly by creating conditions that enable individuals to pursue their calling. Findings indicate that individuals with a high calling thrive in organizations that have more participative decision-making practices and which offer high work discretion. The study significantly contributes to the scant literature on calling by examining the affective, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes of calling. The study also responds to calls for research on the conditions under which calling leads to positive individual and work outcomes and identifies the conditions under which workers with a strong calling thrive.