Employee Engagement Within Academic Literature Essay

Employee Engagement Within Academic Literature Essay

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Employee engagement emerged in academic literature in two primary families. The first derived from Kahn’s (1990) personal engagement construct and emphasized the individual’s perception of the workplace to manifest one’s “preferred self.” Kahn (1990) developed and May, Gilson, & Harter (2004) validated a framework in which engagement correlated to three antecedent psychological attributes: meaningfulness, safety, and availability. Kahn (1990) theorized an underlying theme between these attributes and engagement. The second, frequently termed the burnout family, is based on Maslach and Leiter (1997) and Schaufeli et al. (2002). It conceptualizes “work engagement” as the positive opposite of psychological burnout. This line of research defines engagement as “a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption” (p. 74). Both these families conceived engagement as focused on the individual’s work tasks. Practitioner literature that emerged concurrent with the burnout family offered further conceptualizations of employee engagement, including engagement as:
• a level of involvement and enthusiasm (Gallup, 2013);

• a willingness to help the company to succeed and the application of discretionary effort
(Perrin, 2003);

• a hierarchy of relationship with their organization similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Bedarkar & Pandita, 2014; Kompaso and Sridevi, 2010), and

• extra-role behaviors (Robinson et al., 2004).

Current engagement literature, informed by the original families and subsequent practitioner conceptualizations, incorporates both an organizational focus and an individual focus to employee engagement. For example, some studies characterize the construct by inte...

... middle of paper ...

...tive state or a strong feeling of involvement. Absorption, not a direct opposite of a burnout dimension, is “being fully concentrated, happy, and deeply engrossed in one’s work whereby time passes quickly,” and “difficulty detaching oneself from work” (p. 75). Absorption, which is conceived as relatively stable, is distinguished from the similar but more complicated concept of flow, which is an optimal, short-term peak experience comprising a state of focused attention, clear mind, effortless concentration, control, loss of self-consciousness, distortion of time, and intrinsic enjoyment, (Schaufeli et al. 2002; Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Researchers in the burnout family have developed an instrument to measure vigor, dedication and absorption called the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), further discussed below (Schaufeli and Bakker, 2003).
Practitioner Literature

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