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Title: What is follower engagement and what are the leader behaviours that promote it? : a mixed methods study in a large multinational
Author: O'Donovan, Ines
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Employee engagement is a topic that is currently widely discussed. Organizations want their employees to contribute to their sustained success by putting energy and effort into their daily work. The challenge is the wide variety of engagement definitions in academia and practice that are rooted in either well-being or performance logics. The consequence is that researchers and practitioners often talk at cross purposes following different goals and addressing different engagement aspects. The purpose of this study was therefore to identify what engagement means. It also looks at leader behaviours as antecedents to understand what behaviours are effective for creating and maintaining high engagement. In the research a mixed methods design was applied. Drawing from the analysis of a Multinational's survey of 77,723 employees, the validity of the way the company communicates and measures engagement was evaluated. A series of 32 focused interviews with senior and middle managers and some of their followers served a better understanding of the employees' engagement construct. The different engagement constructs were compared to each other and to Schaufeli et al.'s engagement construct. The results show that the Multinational rather measured organizational commitment than employee engagement. Based on the interviews and extant literature a new framework for engagement was developed that resolves the two engagement views, bringing performance and well-being logics together, resulting in a model of sustainable engagement. In a second step it was primarily the 32 interviews that were used to identify 18 leader behaviours that employees perceived to be highly engaging, led by communication, support and mentoring/coaching. Researchers and practitioners can profit from the findings as they provide a model of sustainable engagement that can be tested in different contexts. It can be applied by organizations to assess current engagement approaches and to conduct focused interventions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available