Bottom-Up Interventions Effective in Promoting Work Engagement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Janina M Björk*, Pernilla Bolander, Anna K Forsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Promoting work engagement is of interest to organizations across sectors due to the associated positive outcomes. This interest warrants research on the evidence of work engagement interventions. Intervention research increasingly advocates a bottom-up approach, highlighting the role of employees themselves. These workplace interventions often encourage employees to identify, develop, and make use of workplace resources. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to investigate the effectiveness and potential underlying mechanisms of these bottom-up, resource-developing interventions. Method: Systematic searches were conducted in the online databases Web of Science, Academic Search Complete, Business Source Ultimate, PsycInfo, PsycArticles, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar. Publication year range was 2000–2020. Eligibility criteria were defined using PICOS. To be eligible for the systematic review, the intervention study identified had to aim at promoting working individuals’ work engagement by developing workplace resources from bottom-up. Work engagement had to be measured using the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale. The systematic review included one-, two-, or multiple-armed – randomized or non-randomized – intervention studies with various study designs. Further, a meta-analysis was conducted on a sub-set of the studies included in the systematic review. To be eligible for the meta-analysis, the studies had to be two- or multiple-armed and provide the information necessary to compute effect sizes. Results: Thirty-one studies were included in the systematic review. The majority reported that overall work engagement increased as an effect of the intervention. The evidence regarding the sub-components of work engagement was scattered. Potential underlying mechanisms explored were intervention foci, approach, and format. Dimensions of satisfaction and performance were identified as secondary outcomes. Participant experiences were generally described as positive in most of the studies applying mixed methods. The meta-analysis showed a small but promising intervention effect on work engagement (24 studies, SMD: −0.22, 95% CI: −0.34 to −0.11, with I 2=53%, indicating moderate inconsistency in the evidence). Conclusion: The synthesized evidence suggests that bottom-up, resource-developing interventions are effective in the promotion of work engagement. The meta-analysis suggests that focusing on strengths use or mobilizing ego resources and adopting a universal approach increase intervention effectiveness.

Translated title of the contributionInterventioner genomförda nerifrån och upp främjar effektivt arbetsengagemang: en systematisk översikt och meta-analys: Interventioner genomförda nerifrån och upp för att främja arbetsengagemang
Original languageEnglish
Article number730421
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue number730421
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


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