Employee Engagement Essay Example

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Employee engagement: Literature review

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Employee engagement: Literature review

It is worth noting that the definition of employee engagement is marred with extensive ambiguity among both practitioners and researchers (Macey & Schneider, 2008, p. 3). Even among some researchers who have attempted to define it, for instance, Schmidt and Hayes (cited in Little & Little, 2006, p. 112) who defined it as the involvement and satisfaction of an individual with as well as enthusiasm for work, a definition has loopholes in the sense that it fails to expound whether employee engagement is an attitude or a behavior, and more so whether it occurs only at the individual level as opposed to a group level.

Additionally, much of the research on employee engagement has predominantly focused on large organizations, best exemplified by Gallup studies which compared results from business units in large companies and proceeded to compare different big companies (Attridge, 2009, p. 389). Nonetheless, most if not all of these studies have failed to capture the applicability of employee engagement among small companies which are predominant in modern economies.

It is also imperative to note that different studies, for instance, Winston (2010, p. 5) and (Sarangi & Srivastava, 2012, p. 18) among others have noted immense benefits of employees engagement to an organization, for instance, by the highly engaged employees being key drivers of more profits through being more focused on their goals, productive, enjoying their work and staying with the company. However, there has been limited research on whether this positive energy emanating from highly engaged employees can have any detrimental impacts on the company.

In regard to the strategies of improving employees engagement in workplaces, diverse literature has highlighted effective organizational leadership as being central to enhancing the level of employees’ engagement either through open and effective communication strategies (Welch, 2011, p. 339) or through improving employees’ personal resources, structuring motivating and meaningful work, support of supportive and rewarding coworker relations as well as supporting and coaching the employees (Serrano & Reichard, 2011, p. 176).

Nonetheless, very limited studies have shown how organizational leadership in any given organization can contribute to either passive or active disengagement as expounded by Pater and Lewis (2012, p. 32) as well as which remedies can be used to ensure leaders promotes employees’ engagement as opposed to inhibiting it and generating disengagement.

Another strategy which has been forwarded as being appropriate in assessing and promoting employee engagement has been embracing contemporary technology. This is evidenced by Gary (2010, p. 40) who noted the imperative role of feedback technology in capturing, analyzing and reporting employee engagement and consumer satisfaction. Nonetheless, there is still very limited insight into the correlation between technology and employee engagement and whether it can result in disengagement.

On the other hand, the increased commitment of companies to CSR has also been cited as being another strategy in promoting employee engagement with diverse studies revealing this strong linkage (Mirvis, 2012, p. 95). However, this only applies to large organizations like banks which extensively engage in CSR which tend to alienate the small organizations which rarely engage in CSR practices, for instance, those engaged in consulting services.


The preceding literature has shown that despite the availability of a wide alley of literature, diverse definitions and ambiguity exist in the definition of employee engagement. Additionally, there is inadequacy of research in the academic research which is focused on enhancing engagement among small organizations which provide consulting services. This is founded on the fact that a lot of the research by academicians is predominantly dedicated to large organizations, banks or hospitality industry.


Attridge, M., 2009, ‘Measuring and Managing Employee Work
Engagement: A Review of the

and Business Literature’, Journal of Workplace BehavioralHealth, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 383-398.

Gary, S., 2010, ‘Marrying employee engagement with customer satisfaction’, Strategic HR

Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 40.

Little, B. & Little, P., 2006, ‘Employee engagement: Conceptual issues’, Journal of

Organizational Culture, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 111-120.

Macey, WH., & Schneider, B., 2008, ‘The Meaning of Employee Engagement’, Industrial and

Organizational Psychology, Vol.1, pp. 3–30.

Mirvis, P., 2012, ‘Employee Engagement and CSR: Transactional, relational, and developmental

approaches’, California Management Review, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 93-117.

Pater, R. & Lewis, C., 2012, ‘Strategies for Leading engagement’, Professional Safety, pp. 32-

Sarangi, S., & Srivastava, RK., 2012, ‘Impacts of organizational culture and communication on

employees engagement: An investigation of Indian Private banks’, South Asian Journal of Management, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 18-33.

Serrano, SA., & Reichard, RJ., 2011, ‘Leadership strategies for an engaged workforce’,

Consulting Psychology Journal, Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 176–189.

Winston, S., 2010, ‘Using technology to connect with people on employee engagement’,

Strategic HR review, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 5-10.

Welch, M., 2011, ‘The evolution of the employee engagement concept: communication

implications’, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 328-346.

Employee Engagement