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The IUP Journal of Law Review :
Antecedents and Consequences of Employee Engagement: A Literature Review
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The concept of employee engagement in human resources management has gained significant attention in recent years. To improve employees’ and organizational performance, it is essential to understand the employee engagement concept better. This concept is popular among business practitioners and in academic literature. There is significant literature review supporting the importance of employee engagement, but so far only a few empirical researches on the antecedents and consequences of employee engagement have been done. The purpose of this study is to undertake systematic literature review of employee engagement. The review focuses on the antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. The findings of this review will be a roadmap for future research in employee engagement. This study reviewed 65 empirical papers. The practical implication of this review paper is that it would be looked at as directions for organizations to understand why an employee is moving slow and which is the fastest. It would also serve as an indication to know which factor contributes industry-wise and country-wise.

 
 
 

Kahn (1990) coined the term ‘personal engagement’ and ‘personal disengagement’ in his grounded theoretical framework of ‘self in-role’ where people bring themselves into or withdraw from specific task behaviors. He defined personal engagement “as the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively and emotionally during role performances” (p. 694). Personal disengagement is opposite of personal engagement. It is “the uncoupling of selves from work roles; in disengagement, people withdraw and defend themselves physically, cognitively, or emotionally during role performances”

(p. 694). This is the first of its kind defining engagement in terms of behavior of people during work role performance. Kahn‘s way of defining engagement is known as behavioral approach. In 2001, by extending Kahn’s (1990) work Rothbard defined engagement “as one psychological presence in or focus on role activities” (p. 656). The author forwarded two vital components, first attention and second absorption. Attention means “cognitive availability and the amount of time one spends thinking about a role” (p. 656) and “invisible… resources that a person can allocate in multiple ways” (p. 657). Adsorption is explained as “being engrossed in a role and refers to the intensity of one’s focus on a role” (p. 656).

The second approach is given by burnout researchers who explained engagement as opposite of burnout (Maslach and Leiter, 1997; Maslach et al., 2001; and Gonzalez et al., 2006). Maslach et al. defined employee engagement as “a persistent, positive affective-motivational state of fulfilment in employees” (2001, p. 417). Therefore, this approach of defining engagement is known as burnout approach .

Harter et al. (2002) were the first to introduce employee engagement at the business unit level. They defined engagement as “an individual’s involvement and satisfaction with as well as enthusiasm for work” (Harter et al., 2002, p. 269). Results suggested a positive relationship between employee engagement and satisfaction. Luthans and Peterson (2002) extended Harter et al.’s (2002) work by inspecting the relationship between employee engagement, managerial self-efficacy and the perception of management practices. This relationship of employee engagement with business outcome is called as engagement-satisfaction approach.

A multidimensional approach was given by Saks (2006) who differentiated employee engagement into two parts, job engagement and organizational engagement. Job engagement is related to performing one’s own job or role at work and organizational engagement means performing one’s own job as an employee of the organization. Saks (2006) defined employee engagement as “a distinct and unique construct consisting of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components that are associated with individual role performance” (p. 602).

All the above approaches in defining employee engagement indicate that there is no agreement on defining it which could be referred to as ‘Conceptual Bleeding’ (Gibbons, 2007, p. 2). The above-mentioned definitions conclude that there is no agreement on the definition of engagement. Putting together all the above approaches, employee engagement has been related to many different aspects: (1) performing work roles (behavioral) at work; (2) antithesis of burnout; (3) its association with attitude of an employee; (4) its relations to cognitive-satisfying approach; and (5) its multidimensional nature for individual as well as to the organization.

Employee engagement is one of the most recognized tools which is navigated by management professionals, HR managers, business leaders today (Kaur, 2016, p. 471). Employee engagement driving factors vary from industry to industry. Therefore, the main aim of the present study is to explore the current antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement from a hypothetical point of view.

In the light of the above, the present study is carried out to synthesize comprehensive literature review on antecedents and consequences of employee engagement.

 
 
 

Law Review Journal,Antecedents , Consequences, Employee Engagement, Literature Review.