Impact of envy on job engagement: A study of academic staff members in the private higher education sector in Sri Lanka


  • W.A.M.I. Abeyratna University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • B.J.H. Arachchige University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka


Employees are emotional beings. At work, however, employees are supposed to intentionally suppress their emotions, even though this is a difficult task. Negative emotions in the workplace are neglected, even though positive emotions tend to be reinforced with ease. As emotions are a factor which affects job engagement, people who are driven by enthusiasm are often involved in their work and motivated by the work itself, bringing more positive results for the organisations. This study examines envy, one of the rampant negative emotions in the workplace, and its impact on job engagement. The study was conducted on a sample of 162 academic staff members working as full-time academics in private higher educational institutes in the Colombo District of Sri Lanka. Data were collected through a standard and validated questionnaire survey. The results showed that there is a significant impact on emotional and cognitive engagement when an individual feels envied by others or feels envious of others. However, there is no impact from feeling envied by others and feeling envious of others on physical engagement. The study illustrated that feeling envied by others and feeling envious of others is negatively associated with emotional engagement, whereas feeling envied by others and feeling envious of others is positively associated with cognitive engagement. Accordingly, the study proposes that managing employee envy is worthwhile, because it leads workers to better engage themselves in their work roles physically, emotionally and cognitively.
Keywords: Envy, job engagement, physical engagement, emotional engagement, cognitive
engagement, Sri Lanka