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Employee Engagement : A Literature Review

by Sandeep Kular, Mark Gatenby, Chris Rees, Emma Soane, Katie Truss
Business ()

Abstract

This working paper reports the findings of a literature review dissertation undertaken by Sandeep Kular in 2007, which formed part of her MA Human Resource Management degree at Kingston University. The dissertation contributed towards the development of a conceptual framework for the establishment of the Kingston Business School Employee Engagement Consortium, a research partnership aimed at developing knowledge and understanding of employee engagement, its drivers, and its consequences. Our interest in employee engagement began in 2006, when we were approached by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to undertake a survey of levels of engagement in the UK workforce. Our findings were published in the CIPD report Working Life: Employee Attitudes and Engagement (Truss et al 2006). We found that levels of engagement nationally were low, but that high levels of engagement were associated with a host of positive outcomes for individuals and their employers. Our study revealed the value of engagement, but we wanted to know more about how engagement levels vary across different sectors and contexts. Sandeeps work formed part of the next steps in developing this further research process. The Consortium is now moving ahead with sharing knowledge and developing new insights into the nature of employee engagement and its impact on organisations. Five key areas are being explored: What does employee engagement mean?; How can engagement be managed?; What are the consequences of engagement for organisations?; How does engagement relate to other individual characteristics?; How is engagement related to employee voice and representation? Sandeeps dissertation involved exploring some of the relevant literature around each of these issues. Specifically she focused on three key questions: 1. How has employee engagement been conceptualised? 2. How do individual differences relate to employee engagement? 3. How does employee involvement relate to employee engagement? This working paper summarises a broad range of academic literature under each of these headings. We found it a useful contribution to our subsequent work, and we are grateful to Sandeep for pursuing her dissertation research with such depth and rigour. I trust it will be of interest to anyone wishing to know more about this increasingly important area of management practice.

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