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Psychologia. Avances de la Disciplina

On-line version ISSN 1900-2386

Psychol. av. discip. vol.12 no.1 Bogotá Jan./June 2018 

Artículos de investigación

Core self-evaluations and work-family enrichment: the mediating role of distributive justice perceptions

Núcleo de autoevaluaciones y enriquecimiento trabajo-familia: el rol mediador de las percepciones de justicia distributiva

Alicia Omar1  *  , Solana Salessi2  , Juan Diego Vaamonde3  , Florencia Urteaga4 

1 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Instituto de Investigaciones de la Facultad de Humanidades y Artes. Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario - Argentina.

2 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Instituto de Investigaciones de la Facultad de Humanidades y Artes. Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario - Argentina Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales del Rosario, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, Rosario - Argentina.

3 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas Instituto de Investigaciones de la Facultad de Humanidades y Artes, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario - Argentina.

4 Facultad Ciencias de la Gestión, Universidad Autónoma de Entre Ríos Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos, Paraná - Argentina.


The aim of this study was twofold: to analyze the possible relationships between employees' personality (as measured by core self-evaluations or CSE) and their feelings of work-family enrichment (WFE); and to examine whether distributive justice perceptions act as a mediator in such relationships. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to collect data from 386 employees in public and private organizations located in Argentina. Structural equation modelling was used to examine two integrative models that combined CSE, distributive justice, and WFE. Results reveal a good fit of the full mediation model (S-Bx2 = 3.18, GFI= .99, CFI= .99, RMSEA= .03), in which distributive justice perceptions fully mediated the relations between CSE and WFE (y = .13, IC= [-.03; .27]) and between CSE and FEW (y = .09, IC= [-.08; .25]). Findings are discussed in the light of its theoretical and practical implications. The study provides valuable information for organizational authorities and HR managers to focus their efforts on both the development of CSE traits and the creation of fair and equitable work environments.

Key words: core self-evaluations; work-family enrichment; distributive justice; organizational justice


El objetivo de este estudio fue doble: analizar las relaciones entre la personalidad de los empleados (operacionalizada como núcleo de autoevaluaciones, NAE) y el enriquecimiento trabajo-familia (ETF); y examinar si las percepciones de justicia distributiva desempeñan un rol mediador en tales relaciones. Se realizó una verificación empírica de corte transversal sobre 386 empleados de organizaciones públicas y privadas localizadas en Argentina. Análisis de ecuaciones estructurales indicaros un adecuado ajuste para un modelo de mediación total (S-Bx2 = 3.18, GFI= .99, CFI = .99, RMSEA= .03), en el que las percepciones de justicia distributiva median las relaciones del NAE con ETF (y = .13, IC= [-.03; .27]) y con EFT (y = .09, IC= [-.08; .25]). Se discuten los resultados a la luz de sus implicaciones prácticas. Este estudio proporciona información valiosa para que directivos organizacionales y gerentes de recursos humanos focalicen sus esfuerzos tanto en el desarrollo de los rasgos del NAE, como en la creación de ambientes de trabajo justos.

Palabras-clave: núcleo de autoevaluación; enriquecimiento trabajo-familia; justicia distributiva; justicia organizacional


Work and family are usually mentioned by adults as the most important aspects of their lives. However, the dual participation in work and family roles often have a differential impact on people's health, generating tension and conflict (conflict perspective), or favoring well-being and satisfaction (enrichment perspective). While the work-family conflict perspective has been dominant in scientific research, the enrichment perspective is only now capturing the attention of scholars (Greenhaus & Powell, 2017).

The concept of work-family enrichment (WFE) is defined as the degree to which experience in one role improves the quality of life in another role (Greenhaus & Powell, 2017). The construct is rooted in three major theoretical underpinnings: the theory of resource expansion (Marks, 1977), the job demands-resources theory (Bakker & Demerouti, 2017), and the theory of social identity (Hogg, 2016). While the theory of resource expansion states that people can generate enough energy to perform multiple roles, resulting in less tension and greater subjective well-being, the job demands-resources theory posits that the resources from one role (work, family, etc.) have the motivational potential to lead to positive results in another role. The theory of social identity, for its part, postulates that the performance of each role reinforces self-identity and adds meaning to life.

Based on these theoretical contributions, Greenhaus and Powell (2017) defined WFE as a two-dimensional concept, since the resources earned at work contribute to improving the quality of family life (enrichment in the work-family direction or W→FE), and the resources obtained within the family sphere improves job performance (enrichment in the family-work direction or F→WE). They defined resources as assets that can be disposed when there is a need to solve a problem or to face a challenging situation (Greenhaus & Powell, 2017), such as skills, physical and psychological capacities, social capital, and material resources (money, gifts, and the like). The transference of resources from one role to the other can occur in either a direct (instrumental) or an indirect (emotional) way. The instrumental path implies that resources can be directly transferred from one role to promote high performance in another role. The affective path indicates that resources generated in one role can promote positive affect within the same role, and then, due to spillover, in another role.

Being an emerging area of research, to date there is no consensus among experts about the antecedents of WFE. Accumulated evidence indicates that while the impact of situational or organizational variables on WFE has been studied, the analysis of the effects of dispositional variables has been neglected (Ma, Shen, Yang, Tang, & Xie, 2014; Mauno, & Rantanen, 2013), and vice versa (Qing & Zhou, 2017; Wayne, Casper, Matthews, & Allen, 2013). So there still remains a considerable lack of knowledge about their possible interactions. In fact, to date there are no studies that have simultaneously considered the impact of both types of variables on the development of WFE in its two directions (work-family enrichment: W→FE, and family-work enrichment: F→WE). In view of this situation, and in an attempt to fill this gap, the objective of the present paper was to explore the impact of a dispositional variable and a situational variable on WFE in a large sample of Argentinian workers. More specifically, we analyzed whether a dispositional characteristic (CSE) is related to enrichment in its two directions, and if a situational variable (organizational justice perceptions) emerges as a significant mediator in such relationships.

CSE and its relationship with W→FE / F→WE

CSE have been defined as the assessments that people make about their worthiness, competence, and capabilities (Judge, Locke, & Durham, 1997). CSE is a stable higher-order personality trait composed of four basic personality dimensions: self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, neuroticism, and locus of control. Self-esteem refers to the value that one attributes to oneself as a person. Generalized self-efficacy is an assessment of how well one can handle life challenges. Neuroticism is the tendency to have a negative outlook on life and to concentrate on the negative aspects of the self. Locus of control refers to beliefs about the causes of events that occur in life.

From the analysis of the relationships between these four traits, Judge and Bono (2001) observed they were the most widely studied personality factors in psychology, having been the subject of more than 50,000 studies. In spite of this relevance, only a handful of studies had considered more than one of them simultaneously. In 2002, Judge, Erez, Bono, and Thoresen analyzed the correlations between the four traits and found that a common self-evaluation factor could be extracted, which they called CSE. They also observed that these four traits showed similar patterns of associations with other variables, and add no incremental validity beyond the common core factor (Judge, Bono, Erez, & Locke, 2016). The fact that each trait does not individually add any incremental validity to the common basic factor provides support for the construct validity of CSE, suggesting that the variance attributed to each individual trait is less important than the variance shared by the four traits combined in this higher-order construct.

Further evidence regarding the validity of the concept of CSE has been provided by other authors (e.g. Mãkikangas, Kinnunen, Mauno, & Selenko, 2016). It has been communicated that high levels of CSE are associated with job satisfaction, job performance, and organizational commitment (Kim, Liden, Kim, & Lee, 2015). Also, employees with high scores in CSE seek more challenges, acquire new skills, face setbacks more effectively, take better advantage of opportunities (Judge et al., 2016), show positive moods and perspectives, and achieve a healthier balance between work and family (Moazami-Goodarzi, Nurmi, Mauno, & Rantanen, 2015).

Concerning the interplay between CSE and WFE, to date the available evidence appears scarce and, in many cases, refers to the relationship between WFE and some of the components of the CSE. For example, Michel and Clark (2013) found significant relationships between neuroticism (one of the central dimensions of CSE) and WFE; Rantanen, Kinnunen and Pulkkinen (2013) reported significant relationships between emotional stability and WFE, while Boyar and Mosley (2007) showed that high CSE increase individuals' coping skills which, in turn, promotes WFE. Only recently a few studies have reported relationships between WFE and CSE as a whole. In this sense, Baral and Bhargava (2011) in their cross-sectional study with Indian managers, showed that high CSE were associated with a high WFE, and Karatepe and Demir (2014) showed that Turkish employees with positive CSE are capable of integrating their work and family roles successfully.

As can be seen, the available evidence is not yet conclusive, although it could be assumed that CSE is an appropriate predictor of both W→FE and F→WE. Such assumption is supported by arguments from the theory of the job demands-resources and the theory of social identity. From the perspective of the job demands-resources theory, it has been argued that it is possible for the same resources to have differential effects on work-family results, depending on how people evaluate themselves, i.e. depending on their level of CSE (Boyar & Mosley, 2007). So, greater (and better) self-evaluations would allow to apply the resources gained in one domain to successfully carry out responsibilities in another domain.

From the perspective of social identity theory, it has been proposed that, in addition to resources and demands, work-family interface is likely to be permeable to influences of individual self-evaluations (in terms of self-efficacy, locus of control, self-esteem, and emotional stability). So it could be assumed that CSE have some impact on the development of W→FE and F→WE. For example, it could be argued that since people with low CSE tend to be very sensitive to stressors and are more likely to experience stress (Judge et al., 2016), it is possible that they transmit negative feelings and attitudes from one domain to another, decreasing their level of W→FE and F→WE.

In this same line, one could argue that as people with high CSE are characterized by their predisposition to take new challenges and their ability to solve difficult tasks (Judge et al., 2016), this would allow them to acquire new skills, experience positive moods, and obtain greater rewards on a domain (e.g., the workplace), all of which could be used in other domains (e.g., the family), resulting in higher enrichment. That is to say, as there is evidence that people with high CSE are more sensitive to positive stimuli (Chang, Ferris, Johnson, Rosen, & Tan, 2012), they are likely to experience more positive moods, achieving a better fit with their environment (Jiang et al., 2017). Therefore, and although there is no solid body of evidence to allow a conclusive position on the relationship between CSE and WFE, in the light of the available knowledge and the theoretical framework of the construct, we could hypothesize that:

Hypothesis 1. CSE will be positively correlated with W→FE (and with F→WE).

Perceptions of organizational justice as mediators between CSE and W→FE / F→WE

More recent publications are recommending that researchers focus on understanding the role of CSE in processes and situational factors that are relevant to person-environment adjustment, such as perceptions of justice. Organizational justice is concerned with employee perception of fair or just treatment on the job (Omar, 2017). Colquitt et al. (2013) have shown that positive feelings are experienced when the results of the organization are perceived as fair, that is, when distributive justice is perceived. Distributive justice has to do with the workers' perceptions that their efforts are rewarded with equity through salary, recognition and promotion opportunities.

While in recent years there have been repeated demands from specialists to expand research on justice beyond its direct effects (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007), only a few studies have attempted to explore the indirect effects of distributive justice. Indeed, the literature review reveals further evidence in relation to the other dimensions of organizational justice. For example, Omar (2009) reported that perceptions of interpersonal justice moderated the relationships between personality and prosocial voice and prosocial silence in employees of public and private Argentinian organizations. Lee, Murrmann, Murrmann, and Kim (2010) found that procedural justice perceptions mediated the relationship between the leader-member exchange and turnover intentions among employees of American hotels. Lv, Shen, Cao, Su, and Chen (2012) showed that general organizational justice perceptions emerged as a mediating variable in the relationship between conscientiousness (one of the Big Five major personality traits) and organizational citizenship behaviors among Chinese physicians and nurses. More recently, Sahin (2013) reported that procedural and interactional justice perceptions mediated the commitment-organizational learning relationship among teachers of Turkish elementary schools.

Although there are no published antecedents, taking into account the above evidence, it would be reasonable to assume that distributive justice will also intervene in relations between CSE and W→FE / F→WE. On the one hand, this presumption is based on the own characteristics of people with high CSE. In this sense, as people with high CSE are more likely to perceive contextual conditions as opportunities that have the potential to lead to positive outcomes (Chang et al., 2012), so it would be possible to respond with positive reactions to the demonstrations of distributive justice (such as promotions, rewards, fair pay, and similar issues; Colquitt et al., 2013). On the other hand, it relies on the conclusive the conclusive results reported by Carlson, Kacmar, Wayne and Grzywacz (2006). These authors show that promotions at work contribute to improve employees' mood, and this positive affect is likely to help to boost the quality of their job and family performances. Consequently, and considering such arguments, the second objective of this research was to examine whether distributive justice perceptions mediate the relationship between CSE and W→FE / F→WE. Operationally, this objective was translated into the following working hypothesis:

Hypothesis 2. The positive relationship between CSE and W→FE (and F→WE) will be mediated by distributive justice perceptions.


Participants and Procedure

This study employed a non-probability convenience sampling method. Since the research focus was WFE, on this occasion the inclusion criterion was that workers had dependent children or relatives. Following the recommendations of Tabachnick and Fidell (2013) to have a minimum of 200 cases to assure the verification of the assumptions of structural equation modelling, the final sample comprised 386 workers (218 men and 168 women), who were employed in public and private companies based in the city of Rosario, Argentina. Their mean age was 34 years (SD = 9.65) and their mean tenure was 5 years (SD = 7.48). Fifty-four per cent had higher education (tertiary or university level) and, with regard to the activity of their organizations, 35% belonged to trade/business, 23% to health, 18% to education, 14% to public administration, and the remaining 10% to telecommunications. All participants were contacted at their workplaces and, after informing them of the objectives of the study, they were invited to answer a booklet composed of a sheet of informed consent and a selection of instruments developed to measure the constructs described below. The implementation of this research was conducted in full accordance with the ethical guidelines recommended not only by the American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2017), but also by the CONICET for the Social Sciences and Humanities (CONICET, 2006).


Work-Family Enrichment. It was explored through the Argentinian adaptation (Omar, Urteaga, & Salessi, 2015) of the homonymous scale (Carlson et al., 2006). This 5-point Likert-type instrument measures W→FE (e.g., "My involvement in my work helps me to understand different viewpoints and this helps me be a better family member"; α = .81), and F→WE (e.g., "My involvement in my family helps me acquire skills and this helps me be a better worker"; α = .78), using six indicators for each scale.

Core Self-Evaluations (CSE). It was examined through the scale developed by Judge, Erez, Bono, and Thoresen (2003), which was translated and validated for use with Argentinian samples. This measure consists of 12 items (e.g., "I am capable of coping with most of my problems"; "overall, I am satisfied with myself"; "sometimes I feel depressed") with a Likert-type response scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). In order to examine the construct validity of the instrument, we performed confirmatory factor analyses of the scale to test different alternative models. The results showed that, although a four-factor model presented an acceptable fit (one that corresponded to each of the components of the CSE construct, i.e. self-esteem, self-efficacy, emotional stability, and locus of control), the one-factor model yielded the best fit to the data (S-Bx2 (127) = 238.27, p < .001; CFI = .934; RMSEA = .05, IC 90% [0.04, 0.06]), with a satisfactory internal consistency index (α = .84).

Distributive Justice. It was measured with the homonymous sub-scale of the Organizational Justice Scale developed by Colquitt (2001). This sub-scale consists of four items (e.g., "Does your outcome reflect the effort you have put into your work?") with a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always). The items were translated from English into Spanish by two expert judges. The different versions were revised until reaching consensus, with special emphasis on linguistic and cultural aspects. The Spanish version used in this study presented adequate composite reliability (CR = .80) and satisfactory internal consistency (α = .84). The average variance extracted (AVE = .79) indicated that the four observable indicators adequately explained the variance of the construct.

Control variables. To perform the planned analyses, the effects of some variables were controlled; specifically, variables that, according to previous research, play an important role in the work-family articulation. In this regard, the effect of gender (1 = male; 2 = female) was controlled, as there is some evidence that women experience greater W→FE and F→WE than men, perhaps because they attribute a different psychological significance to the integration of family and work roles (Powell & Greenhaus, 2010). The possible influence of the job position held by employees (1 = low-level employee; 2 = mid-level employee; 3 = manager, director or senior employee) was also controlled, considering that Grzywacz and Butler (2005) found that the higher the position, the greater the levels of WFE (in both directions). Finally, Fulcher y Coyle (2011) because reported that female workers who are sole breadwinners of their household experienced more WFE than those who are not, the effect of this variable was controlled in the current study (1 = sole breadwinner; 2 = not sole breadwinner).

Data Analysis

Before the empirical testing of the working hypotheses, preliminary analyses were performed in order to examine the quality and reliability of the data. The data matrix was examined in order to detect missing values. The joint distribution of the variables was analyzed through the calculation of the standardized multivariate kurtosis coefficient (Bentler, 2006). Confirmatory factorial analysis (CFA) was performed to determine the fit of the measurement model used. That is, a model conformed by the factors of CSE, distributive justice, W→FE, F→WE, their respective items as observable indicators, and their respective error terms.

In line with the specialized literature (Bagozzi & Yi, 2012; Henseler, Ringle, & Sarstedt, 2015), reliability was examined from the Composite Reliability (CR). The convergent validity, that is, the common variance between the indicators and their construct, was determined through AVE (Average Variance Extracted). Values greater than .50 are considered evidence of adequate convergent validity, since they indicate that more than 50% of the variance of the construct is due to its indicators. The discriminate validity was analyzed based on the square root of the AVE. If the value obtained for each latent variable is greater than the correlation between it and the other variables of the model, it can be assumed that each factor shares more variance with its indicators than with the others. Finally, the presence of potential biases due to the common method was assessed from the Harman single factor test (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Podsakoff, 2012).

After these preliminary analyses, descriptive statistics were computed for each variable of interest, together with product-moment correlations between all pairs of variables. Mean difference tests were calculated considering not only gender and the condition of being sole breadwinner (using t-tests), but also job position (using simple ANOVA). Then, structural equation modelling was used for the empirical verification of the proposed hypotheses. The strategy of rival models was adopted, contrasting a full mediation model (in which the direct effects of CSE on enrichment in its two directions are restricted to zero), and a partial mediation model (which included CSE direct residual effects on enrichment). For model estimation, the maximum likelihood method with Satorra-Bentler's robust correction (S-B; Bentler, 2006) was used. To evaluate the goodness of fit, the corrected chi-square index was analyzed considering that it should not be significant (S-Bx2) and that the chi-square/degrees of freedom ratio (S-Bx2/df) should be less than 3. Moreover, it was assessed that the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI) and the Comparative Fit Index (CFI) were equal to or greater than .90, and that the value of the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) was less than .05 (Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson, & Tatham, 2010). In order to determine the significance of the indirect effects of CSE on enrichment through justice perceptions, an analysis with bootstrapping method was performed, selecting 5000 random samples of the database and estimating 95% confidence intervals (Lee, Lei, & Brody, 2015). The analyses were performed with SPSS 22.0 and EQS 6.0.


Preliminary Analyses

In total, the proportion of missing values was less than 5%, so the EM (expectation-maximization) algorithm was applied to mathematically replace them (Hair et al., 2010). The standardized multivariate kurtosis coefficient was 6.64, falling outside the recommended range -3 +3 to assume multinormality (Bentler, 2006). This result warranted the use of robust estimators to calculate the parameters of both the measurement model and the structural model. The measurement model adequately adjusted to the empirical data (S-Bx2/df = 2.95, GFI = .93, CFI = .92, RMSEA = .03). The items yielded loadings between .65 and .91 (p < .001) in their respective factors (Hair et al., 2010). Harman's test showed that the percentage of explained variance by a single factor was 21%, indicating that common method bias had not affected the study data (Podsakoff et al., 2012). For each construct, composite reliability exceeded the minimum of .70, the AVE index was greater than .50, and the AVE square root was higher than the correlations coefficients (Bagozzi & Yi, 2012; Henseler et al., 2015). Taken together, these results demonstrated the reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity of the study variables. Table 1 presents descriptive statistics, CR coefficients, AVE indices, square roots of AVE, and bivariate correlations between the variables of interest.

Table 1 Descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, and reliability and validity indices for the variables under study 

Variables Descriptive statistics Correlation coefficients Reliability and validity indices of scales
CSE 3.63 0.53 (.83) .79 .70
W→FE 3.40 0.82 22** (.82) .81 .67
F→WE 3.32 0.86 .27* .58** (.79) .78 .62
DJ 3.41 0.99 .53** .41** .37** (.84) .80 .71

Note. * p < .05; ** p < .01. CSE = core self-evaluations; W→FE = work-family enrichment; F→WE.

= family-work enrichment; DJ = distributive justice. Square roots of AVE are informed in parentheses across the diagonal.

Correlation analysis revealed positive and statistically significant relations between CSE and both types of enrichment (W→FE and F→WE), thus confirming Hypothesis 1. To examine possible differences due to so-ciodemographic variables, Student t-tests were computed for both gender and the condition of being sole breadwinner. Men exhibited higher levels of CSE, although such gender difference was not statistically significant (M = 3.83, SD = 0.67; t = 0.78, p = .52). Women had higher levels or W→FE (M = 3.65, SD = 0.80), but the size of the mean differences was small (Cohen's d = .16). No gender differences were found in F→WE or distributive justice perceptions. People who reported being sole breadwinners had higher levels of CSE (M = 3.72, SD = 0.75; t = 0.24, p < .05) and F→WE (M = 3.46, SD = 0.97; t = 0.78, p < .05), although these differences were not statistically significant. Finally, a simple ANOVA was performed to explore the differences between participants' job positions (1 = low-level employee; 2 = mid-level employee; 3 = manager, director or senior employee). Despite differences between managers and low-level employees in CSE (F (2, 383) = 1.71, p < .05), and between managers and mid-level employees in both W→FE (F(2 383) = 2.05, p < .05) and distributive justice perceptions (F (2, 383) = 1.12, p < .05), Bonferroni post-hoc comparisons indicated that means did not differ significantly (p = .08). The lack of differences attributable to the sociodemographic variables studied led to their exclusion from the subsequent analyses.

Model Verification

Hypothesis 2 (which posited the mediating role of distributive justice perceptions in the relations between CSE and enrichment in its two directions, W→FE and to their exclusion from the subsequent analyses. F→WE) was analyzed using structural equations. Table 2 presents the model fit indices for the two models examined.

Table 2 Model fit indices for the hypothesized structural models 

Model S-BX2 df S-BX2 /df GFI CFI RMSEA
Full mediation model 3.18 3 1.06 .99 .99 .03
Partial mediation model 5.60* 1 5.60 .87 .88 .10

Note. * p < .05

The indices obtained reveal that, while the partial mediation model showed an inadequate fit, the full mediation model presented an excellent fit to the empirical data. In line with these results, the test for the difference between the statistics S-BX 2 was not significant (ΔS-BX2(386;2) = 2.42, p = .30), indicating that the CSE residual effects added to the partial mediation model do not make any additional contribution for a better model fit. In this regard, the bootstrap analysis (Table 3) shows that the effects of CSE on both W→FE and the F→WE through distributive justice are statistically significant, while their direct effects are not.

Table 3 Standardized coefficients and confidence intervals corresponding to direct and indirect effects of CSE on the two directions of enrichment. 

Note. ** p < .01. CSE = core self-evaluations; W→FE = work-family enrichment; F→WE = family-work enrichment; DJ = distributive justice.

Table 3 shows that the confidence intervals (CIs) for the effects of CSE on both W→FE and F→WE through distributive justice, did not include zero, while the CIs for the direct effect of CSE on both types of enrichment did include that figure. These results support the total mediation hypothesis and highlight the mediating role of distributive justice perceptions in the relationships between self-perceptions and enrichment. Figure 1 graphically displays the interplay between CSE, distributive justice, and enrichment, as well as the standardized coefficients and the proportions of explained variance for each endogenous variable.

Note. *** p < .001; ns = non-significant. CSE = core self-evaluations; W→FE = work-family enrichment; F→WE = family-work enrichment. The dashed lines indicate residual direct effects of CSE on enrichment.

Figure 1 Estimated coefficients and proportion of explained variance for the full mediation model. 

The figure shows that the direct effect of CSE on both types of enrichment (Table 1) loses statistical significance in the presence of distributive justice. In this regard, Figure 1 clearly reveals that perceptions of distributive justice make personality (as measured by CSE) exert its effects on feelings of enrichment (W→FE and F→WE).


The aim of this study was twofold: to analyze the possible relationships between CSE and WFE (in its two directions), and to explore whether distributive justice acts as a mediator variable in such relationships. Regarding the first objective, the results indicated that CSE are positively and significantly related to both W→FE and F→WE, although the relationship is slightly higher in the work-family direction. This finding is consistent with those reported by previous studies (Shen et al., 2014; Moazami-Goodarzi et al., 2015) that showed that personality influences behaviours, attitudes, feelings, and perceptions, and can play an important role in explaining WFE.

Undoubtedly, these results fall within the guidelines of one of the main branches of the job demands-resources theory (Bakker & Demerouti, 2016), the domain-specific theory (Byron, 2005), which postulates that predictors from the origin domain lead to consequences in the receptor domain. In other words, while the resources generated at work increase the quality of family life, promote positive affect, and contribute to personal well-being (W→FE; Brummelhuis & Bakker, 2012), the resources gained in the family sphere help to increase performance, commitment, and job satisfaction (F→WE; Kossek, Baltes, & Matthews, 2011). Such finding reinforces the assumption that the positive assessment of one's personality (as measured by CSE) has implications for evaluation in different social areas, particularly in the work domain. People with high CSE might experience greater control over the demands and the resources gained at work and might tend to use them more effectively in the family domain.

As for the second objective, our results support the full mediating role of distributive justice perceptions, given that no direct CSE residual effects were found when such paths were added to the proposed model. In this regard, distributive justice emerged as a solid bridge that links personality traits with feelings of enrichment produced by the simultaneous performance in two main areas: work and family. These results show that when employees perceive distributive justice in the workplace, i.e. when they perceive an equitable distribution of resources, recognition, and rewards (Colquitt et al., 2013), their personality traits associated with CSE are more likely to translate into feelings of enrichment between their work and their family, and vice versa. These aspects of the personality exert a spillover effect on the domains of work and family through perceptions of justice.

The theory of social identity (Hogg, 2016) can shed light on these findings, since personality characteristics (linked to CSE) can improve the identity and quality of work and family life through the mediation of an in-group comparison process about the fairness of distributions, rewards, recognitions, and similar distributive justice perceptions at work. In other words, our results suggest that the higher the employees' CSE, the greater their perceptions of distributive justice will be and, therefore, the greater their feelings of WFE, and vice versa.

Practical Implications

The present study suggests that the generation of fair work environments promotes higher levels of WFE among those workers who favourably assess their worthiness, competence, and capabilities. At the theoretical level, our findings fill a conceptual gap in the literature on WFE, since almost no research has been conducted on the mediating role of organizational justice perceptions. At the organizational level, our findings reveal the importance of taking fair and equitable measures and decisions at work, as such practice promotes that personality traits linked with CSE are translated into increases in enrichment between the two most important life areas for any adult: work and family. The positive impact of justice perceptions at work has implications for both managers and family members, because organizational justice not only improves the evaluation of events in the workplace, but also has a beneficial influence on the family environment. That is to say, the promotion of justice within organizations entails a positive impact that goes beyond the workplace, permeating the deepest layers of family relationships and translating into feelings of enrichment through the simultaneous exercise of both roles.

Organizational specialists and human resource managers should bear these findings in mind when it comes to allocating resources, benefits, and rewards, knowing that this mode of distribution increases feelings of positive articulation between work and family, especially among those employees with high levels of self-evaluation. In this sense, they should strive to generate work environments characterized by distributive justice in order to improve feelings of enrichment in both domains (work and family) among employees. For this purpose, workshops and discussion groups could be organized to identify (in)justice within organizations, so as to help employees live enrichment experiences through the simultaneous execution of both roles.

Organizations could also make efforts to stimulate WFE experiences by designing jobs that provide more autonomy, variety, meaning, feedback, and better social interactions, as well as by training supervisors to consider family issues not as obstacle but as a contributing factor to achieve organizational goals. In this regard, if human resources specialists are interested in ensuring employees harmoniously articulate work and family, they should pay more attention to the personality traits linked to CSE to benefit from their positive impact on both domains. So it would be wise to consider personal characteristics such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, emotional stability, and locus of control at the time of personnel selection, in order to recruit employees with less conflict between work and family. Furthermore, since these components of CSE are liable to be developed, directors and managers could implement programmes that help increase them (Morganson, Litano, & O'Neill, 2014) among its employees, in order to reach higher levels of WFE. In line with this tendency, Zheng, Molineux, Mirshekary, and Scarparo (2015) have recently pointed out that the availability and usage of organizational work-life balance programmes help employees improve their wellbeing and perceived health, all of which contribute to building an organizational culture of caring and concern for employee and family needs.

Strengths and Limitations

Like any empirical work, this study has a number of strengths and weaknesses. Among the latter, it must be first noted that, given that the sampling method was non-random, generalization of the results to the population of Argentinian workers should be done with prudence and caution. In order to minimize this limitation, efforts were made to include employees of companies and institutions characterized by different areas and levels of organizational complexity. A second drawback of the study could be linked to the self-descriptive nature of the instruments used for data collection. To overcome this weakness, future research should include other sources of exploration, such as case studies, focus groups, and/or opinions of supervisors, colleagues, and family members. A third limitation of the study could be the possible contamination of answers with social desirability (i.e., the tendency to show an improved self-image), even though participants were guaranteed anonymity during data collection. To address this limitation, future studies could include one of the many available measures of social desirability in the data collection survey. In relation to the strengths of this research, it should be stressed that it constitutes a genuine contribution to the knowledge of the synergy between distributive justice perceptions, WFE, and CSE. Possibly, the greatest strength of this work has been the inclusion of a distal antecedent (CSE) and a proximal antecedent (distributive justice) in an explanatory model of WFE.

Therefore, despite the need for further refinements, our research represents a contribution of organizational psychology applied to understanding the impact of organizational justice perceptions on the relationships between personality traits and WFE. Last but not least, the findings of this study provide elements for organizational authorities and managers to focus their efforts to create fair and equitable work environments, with the conviction that such actions will result in benefits not only for organizations as a whole, but also for employees and their families.


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Para citar este artículo: Omar, A., Salessi, S., Vaamonde, JD., & Urteaga, F. (2018). Core self-evaluations and work-family enrichment: the mediating role of distributive justice perceptions. Psychologia, 12(1), 45-58 doi: 10.21500/19002386.3182.

Received: August 05, 2017; Accepted: November 24, 2017

* Autor de contacto: Italia 1365 1° A, (2000) Rosario, Argentina. Tel: +54-341-4480314. Email:

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