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Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences Aarhus University

Importance of Employee Engagement in Business Environment:
Measuring the engagement level of administrative personnel in VUC Aarhus and detecting factors requiring improvement

By: Maryana Sakovska Supervisor: Frances Jørgensen Department of Management

June 2012

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Abstract
The term employee engagement has gained popularity over the past twenty years. Advocated positive outcomes of employee engagement make organizations develop the culture of engagement at work as a priority for organization. Although much is written on the subject of employee engagement, little is known about the engagement of administrative workers at the educational organizations. For educational organizations, it is important to engage administrative workers, as they are the ones who have a significant influence on the tone, manner and style of the entire institution and quality of their day-to-day performance contributes to the quality of the relationships with faculties, students and the public (Scott, 1978 as referenced in Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Different professions have their own specifics, which need to be addressed during the engagement building process. For example, for hospital workers, safety issue is of a high importance as they deal with different kinds of sicknesses, whereas for teachers or counselors, the issue of stress and emotional exhaustion maybe of more important. One can argue that common tools for employee engagement can be used for all types of employees. However, in this paper it is argued that in order to engage administrative personnel at the educational institutions it is important to know the specifics of their work prior to developing tools for their engagement. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to find out the specifics of work of administrative staff, their moral, factors that influence their engagement and to investigate the current engagement level of the administrative workers and what can be done to improve it. The aim is to analyze findings in light of the existing theory on engagement. The knowledge gained from the theoretical part of this paper, together with the results of the research, can be used by a top management of an educational institution, as well as HR professionals, to address issues regarding the engagement of administrative personnel at educational organizations. The research was conducted at the VUC Aarhus, an educational institution for adults based in Aarhus. The research was based on a questionnaire distributed to 25 administrative workers, who support VUC Aarhus. All respondents were asked to rank 12 factors that according to Gallup Q12 (Gallup, 2010) to determine the level of engagement. The administrative workers had to evaluate factors according to their own

experience. Results show that there are no deeply disengaged administrative workers in VUC Aarhus. On average employees’ engagement level is “non engaging” with a tendency towards engagement. Therefore, according to the result of the questionnaire, top management should address issues related to safety at work, in order to improve engagement level. Key words: Employee engagement, administrative workers, educational organizations

...................4 Factors influencing the engagement of administrative staff .................................................................. Specifics of administration employees’ work-life in educational organizations .......40 3.............. 9 2..................................................5.............1................ Results ....... Data collection ...................Recommendations .....34 2.............5...............1 Organizational outcomes ..................... Methodology ....4.......4.............37 2....................................... 8 2... Bibliography ....................................................................................................................................................47 4.................................. 53 6...............3 Why do engaged employees perform better ...........................................14 2................................................................................1...20 2..42 3...................................3 Antecedents of engagement .............................................39 3.................... 6 2............ 6 2...............................................1 Specifics of work ............................1.................................................................19 2................................3 Structure of the paper ..............................1 Organizational support of employee engagement ... Introduction .......Further research .................3 Administrative workers moral .....................................................2..........................2 HR support of employee engagement ........................Limitations ..................................................4.................... Data analysis ..................................2.....2 Employee outcomes .............22 2......................... 57 8....28 2..................................1 Defining Engagement ............................... 3 1...............3................2 Information gathering ..........................................2 Relevance of thesis topic and the applicability of the results .....................5...............................3 Employee engagement models and theory....1 Problem statement and research question ........... 4 1.......................................................37 2........2 Similarity and distinction from other organizational constructs ................................. 59 ..................... 5 2............................................................Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 40 3................................................................. 57 9......4 Implication for organization ........................ 6 2...............28 2...................................................................................... 56 7.....................14 2..Table of Contents 1... 1 1.......................... 47 5.....2.............1 Concept of employee engagement ................................38 2.............................................................................................................1 Research methods ....36 2...................................................................... Theoretical background ....................2 Issues affecting the quality of administrators work lives ............................................2 Importance of engagement .......................5.........................................5.....................................45 3.........................

The disposition of mean values of antecedents of engagement belonging to “availability” ……………………………………………………………...List of figures: Figure 1. Relationship between engagement and intent to leave the company ……. 49 Figure 6.. Ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees ………………………...… 17 Figure 3.. 53 . 48 Figure 5.. 16 Figure 2. 49 Figure 7. 50 Figure 8. Characteristics of engaged employees ……………………………….……. Impact of formal performance review on employee performance …………. Mean values and the disposition of ranks of antecedents of engagement . Values of individual employee engagement ……………………………….. 29 Figure 4. The disposition of mean value of antecedents of engagement belonging to “meaningfulness” ………………………………………………………….. 51 Figure 9. The disposition of mean value of antecedents of engagement belonging to “safety” ……………………………………………………………………..

strive for high quality and performance. the business environment is global and competitive and simply satisfied and stable employees are not enough to bring necessary business results. the construct of employee engagement has been an area of interest among many researchers and consultancy firms. content with their work experience. Therefore. 2012). be energetic and dedicated to what they do – in other words companies want their employees be engaged (Bakker and Leiter. Some of the points presented by the researchers are complementary and they agree that engagement creates the prospect for employees to attach closely with their managers. 1 . Introduction Managers agree that modern business demands higher productivity and more efficiency. it is already a hot managerial topic and it is rare to find an HR or managerial related article that does not mention employee engagement. In order to compete effectively. modern organizations expect their employees to be full of enthusiasm and show initiative at work. was a good formula for success. Other researchers state that employee engagement is the best tool in the company’s efforts to gain competitive advantages and stay competitive (Rashid et al. as a satisfied employee. co-workers and organization in general and the engaging environment is the environment where employees have positive attitude toward their job and are willing to do high-quality job. who wanted to stay with a company. But those times have changed. and received its recognition in the management literature and among practitioners (Ologbo and Saudah. 2010). At some point. than in previous times. 2011). 2009). the notion of engagement is relatively new. if they do not. contributed to the workforce stability and productivity (Sanchez and McCauley. 2010). employers need to go beyond satisfaction . satisfied employees. Companies are trying to increase their performance in order to place their company ahead of the competitors. HR consulting firms and academic researchers are presenting their own interpretations of the meaning of the construct. but this will not lead to higher performance (Abraham. Nowadays. 2006).. The relative novelty of the concept has caused a situation. 2011).1. Though.employers must do their best to inspire their employees to apply their full potential and capabilities to their work. where there is still no one clear and agreed definition of engagement (Robertson-Smith and Markwick. they want them to take responsibility for their own development. Satisfied employees may just meet the work demands. Therefore. part of the valuable employees’ resources remains unavailable for the company (Bakker and Leiter.

as referenced in Sange and Srivasatava. Saks. is going to be one of the greatest organizational battles of the coming 10 years” (Johnson. 2012). Therefore. 2006). 1990). to make them work with our business. which shows that an engaging environment pays off. 2006). faculty. Maslach et. Engagement of administrative workers in the educational organizations is rarely studied and poorly understood. the concept of engagement is presented by four major approaches: Kahn’s need satisfying approach (Kahn. students.1. The majority of studies have a sample of employees within different occupations and industries (e. and other organizational outcomes. because those perceptions influence how well they perform at work (Rosser.’s burnoutantithesis approach (Maslach et al. a review of the existing literature 2 . In addition. As literature claims that the outcomes of employee engagement are exactly what most organizations are looking for. and Saks’s multidimensional approach (Saks. 1978). theoretical and practical understanding of administrative personnel in educational organizations is needed in order to prioritize and implement engagement building interventions targeted towards improving their employees’ performance. public.al. however all of them contribute to the deeper understanding of employee engagement. 2001). 2002).. They are quite different.’s satisfaction-engagement approach (Harter et al. there is no surprise in corporate executives seeing the development of the engagement of employees as a priority for organization (Ketter. students and the public (Scott. 2003). 2000). The importance of engagement is proven by the literature on engagement. 2010). It is even harder to build engagement within the specific group of employees in the situation..g. However. 2002. satisfaction. even though these employees have a significant influence in the institution and the quality of their performance contributes to the quality of relationships with faculty. when the knowledge about the specifics of their work-life is missing. Salanova et al. p. Hartner et. 2004.In the academic circles.al. Therefore. Studies by a number of researchers prove that employee engagement supports organizational performance and success (Harter et al. as referenced in Shuck and Wollard. CEOs worldwide see employee engagement as one of the top five most important challenges for management (Wah. in his book “The New Rules of Engagement”. understanding the specifics of administrative personnel work-life perceptions is important to educational organizations. Johnson wrote “the ability to engage employees. 2008. 1999).

Firstly. Organizations use different engagement building tools in order to stay competitive and improve performance.regarding engagement of administrative workers in educational organizations was conducted. an educational institution for adults. The aim is to find the current engagement level of employees and to find the factors. as this part of the employees is rarely studied. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the research regarding the engagement of administrative workers within educational institutions. The example of VUC Aarhus. which need to be improved in order to further increase engagement. Thereby. the questionnaire will map out the areas. which need improvement for further engagement building. was taken in the investigation to test engagement theories on the rarely investigated group of people. VUC Aarhus.1 Problem statement and research question During past two decades. these factors will be used to investigate which factors need to be improved in order to increase the employee engagement. The present research will help leaders to highlight the areas for improvement. This paper will apply the engagement theory and engagement measuring methods to measure the existing level of engagement of administrative workers in the educational institution for adults. Engagement literature presents a number of factors that influence employee engagement at work. Secondly. The results of the 3 . the research question for the investigation is the following: What is the existing level of engagement of administrative workers at VUC Aarhus and which areas of work-life needs to be improved in order to increase the level of administrative personnel engagement in VUC Aarhus? The problem statement will be addressed through the quantitative study. It was considered to be interesting to find out the present engagement level of administrative personnel and to find out factors that need to be improved. though their day-to-day performance has a significant influence on the quality of the entire institution performance. employee engagement became a very popular managerial concept. we will see the current level of the employee engagement. with the aim of identifying the current level of administrative workers’ engagement and which work related aspects need to be improved for the purpose of deeper engagement. 1.

According to the survey of 656 chief executive officers in America. regarding which areas they need to pay more attention to in order to improve administrative workers engagement. The same results. which compiled the results from the Gallup organization’s program of research on engagement. In the situation when organizations have a better understanding of the administrative personnel work-life perceptions. Taking into consideration that administrative workers in educational organizations are a rarely studied group of employees. In one of its reports Temkin Group found that employees working at smaller-sized organizaitions are more engaged (Temkin. 2012). break all the rules”. These results show that managers need to realize that the engagement level of their employees might not be as good as they think. Therefore. less than 1 out of 5 employees is actively engaged in their work (Buckingham.2 Relevance of thesis topic and the applicability of the results According to the book “First. this paper will also provide information regarding specifics of administrative workers in the educational organizations work lives. 1999). 1999 as referenced in Attridge 2009). and in order to be a better work place. and this might be due to the reason that they have better relationships with colleagues and experience a greater sense of belonging than their colleagues from larger firms. though they might have limited applicability for other educational organization. Japan and other countries. More specifically. it is easier for them to create appropriate engagement building tools. showing a low rate of engagement. Europe. It was found that the answer to the problem statement will serve to address an important issue for the managers of VUC Aarhus. continued to be presented in many other surveys conducted in the past decade. the empirical research will show the current level of employee engagement and which factors managers can improve to support engagement at work. 1. so they need to stay updated about the present level of employee engagement in order to take appropriate action in time and not to lose productivity. employee engagement is one of the top five most important challenges for management (Wah. 4 . this is a double challenge for the managers at VUC Aarhus.research will help to give specific recommendations to VUC Aarhus. This represents tendency for a crisis in productivity and the workers well-being (Attridge 2009).

related managerial concepts for the reader to understand the complexity of the term. Firstly. This section ends with a discussion of the four main employee engagement models.Furthermore. It is based on the engagement literature presented by academic circles.3 Structure of the paper The structure of this thesis can be divided into four major parts. their moral. and the supportive role of HR in engagement building process. showing the benefits and importance of engagement. Johnsrud and Rosser (1999) also suggest that the smaller the institution. The final theoretical section presents work-life specifics of the administrative personnel in educational institutions. result of this study can be applied only to the educational institutions of the similar size. an introduction presents basic information regarding theoretical foundation of engagement and the importance of the topic of administrative workers engagement in educational organizations. explains why the topic is relevant and suggests to who the results of the research will be useful to. For example. A Global Workforce Survey conducted by Towers Perrin showed that distribution of engaged and disengaged employees differ from country to country (Seijts and Crim. The theoretical foundation of the thesis is presented in 5 parts. Furthermore. results of this study cannot be used for similar organization in other countries. while Japan and Italy have the largest percentages of disengaged employees 1. It also presents research questions and explains the aim of the paper. The third section discusses factors leading to engagement in a workplace. 2006). Therefore. 5 . countries like Mexico and Brazil have the highest percentages of engaged employees. the more positive administrative workers moral and consequentially the higher chances for their engagement. The second section presents the impact employee engagement has on organizational and individual outcomes. analysis of the existing engagement literature and discussion of the area of interest are presented. The first part presents the number of definitions of engagement and how it is different from the earlier. In this section. The second part is the theoretical part of the thesis. The fourth section deals with the discussion of actions organizations can take in order to build engagement. and factors that influence their engagement.

how questionnaires were constructed and how the results were collected. how they "feel" about their employer. which summarizes the work covered during the research and analysis.1. Academic literature presents a couple of definitions of engagement. The presentation of the results is then followed by the recommendations. methodological. and emotionally during role performance (p. 2003) and willingness to go the "extra mile” — some of these components are often used for the employee engagement definition.1 Concept of employee engagement 2. More often than not. Furthermore this section presents the justification of the choice of the employee engagement measuring tool and the choice of factors that predict engagement of employees. The behavioral components measure the willingness to act in certain ways. 2. management and working conditions. Theoretical background 2. company’s values. The paper ends with a conclusion. The emotional components (or beliefs) defines employees positive attitude. definitions of engagement include cognitive. The cognitive aspect of engagement includes employees’ beliefs about the organization. The last section of the paper contains the results of the conducted research.The third part. 1990. cognitively. and the appendix containing the questionnaire.1 Defining Engagement One of the challenges of defining engagement is the lack of a universal definition of employee engagement. as a researchfocus on employees’ work engagement is relatively new. This part presents the chosen methods. The literature processed during writing this paper. 2004). and behavioral components. ways the information was gathered. in engagement. His view concentrates 6 .694)”. skills which employees offer (Towers Perrin. leaders and working conditions (Kahn. people employ and express themselves physically. One of the first and most recognizable definitions of engagement is provided by Kahn (1990) and it suggests that personal engagement is: “the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles. emotional. based on the results of the research. are also included. Towers Perrin. Robinson et al. is based on the empirical research. 2003.

the direct opposite of the three burnout dimensions of exhaustion. dedication. Maslach et al. event.9). brainpower and energy (p.on the personal engagement of workers in order to emphasize performance improvement through employing and expressing themselves on physical. they define work engagement “as a positive. cognitive and emotional levels during their performance.416)”. or behavior” (Schaufeli et al. p. present work engagement as contrastive concept to burnout. Burnout researchers suggest that engagement is the opposite. 7 . engagement means the employees’ psychological presence at work. work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor. a positive antitheses of burnout (Maslach et al. involvement. by putting “discretionary effort into their work. 2004) defines employee engagement as “a positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and its value. 74). Perrin’s Global Workforce Study (Towers Perrin. The organization must work to develop and nurture engagement. and efficacy (p. fulfilling. 2003) definition defines engagement “as employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success”. which requires a two-way relationship between employer and employee” (p. 2002. cynicism. 74)”. individual. Institute of employment studies (Robinson et al. following Kahn (1990). Gallup organization defines employee engagement as the involvement with and enthusiasm for work. and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. Gallup as cited by Dernovsek (2008) likens employee engagement to a positive employees’ emotional attachment and employees’ commitment. Schaufeli et al. 2001).1)”. In his research Harter et al. cognitively or emotionally (Kahn. In summary. and ineffectiveness. (2002). (2002) referred to employee engagement as “the individuals’ involvement and satisfaction with as well as enthusiasm for work” (p. but it is “a more persistent and pervasive affective-cognitive state that is not focused on any particular object. and absorption (p. in the form of extra time.. In the case of disengagement employees withdraw from role performance and try to defend themselves physically. (2001) state that “engagement is characterized by energy. 1990). 269) Three well-known organizations in the human resource area also offer definitions on the term. An engaged employee is aware of business context. They also state that engagement is not a momentary and specific state.

but there are also differences.In addition. Saks (2006) also states that organizational commitment refers only to the employees’ loyalty. and behavioral state directed toward desired organizational outcomes” (Shuck and Wollard. it should be said that employee engagement focuses on more formal role performance actions. whereas OCB relates to the voluntary (Saks. or job involvement. 148). 2006) and informal intentions to help coworkers or the organization on top of what is expected from them (Robinson et al. but none of them reflect the two way nature of engagement – the organization works on engaging the employee.After the process of synthesizing definitions and conceptual frameworks of employee engagement. p. Even thought engagement includes many elements of commitment and OCB. and normative domains (Song and Kim.2 Similarity and distinction from other organizational constructs Engagement is related to. Many researchers suggested that engagement is related to employees’ voluntary behavioral aspects (Bakker and Schaufeli. continuance. which are not voluntary and not extra-role. They propose to define employee engagement as “an individual employee’s cognitive. Job satisfaction has been defined as “the primary affective reactions of an individual to various facets of the job and to job experiences” (Igbaria and Buimaraes. who in respond chooses the level of engagement to offer back (Robinson et al. job satisfaction. commitment focuses on the organization. 2004). 2006). 2010. 2010). Talking about difference between employee engagement and OCB. Shuck and Wollard suggested an emergent definition of the concept (Shuck and Wollard. 2008.. 2009). There clear overlaps with organizational commitment and OCB..1. attitudes and attachment to the organization and this in turn brings the benefit of employment. 2. 2004). 2001). p. while the engagement focuses on the tasks (Maslach et al. 1993. This and other definitions of job satisfaction emphasize the affective nature of the 8 . emotional. organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). it is a degree of how attentive and absorbed employees are in their roles (Saks. while organizational commitment is more attitudinal in nature including affective.103). 2006). Saks. First of all let’s discuss engagement and organizational commitment. but distinct from established organizational behavior constructs such as organizational commitment. But engagement is not an attitude.

According to Kahn employees can be engaged on a physical. which embraces cognitive. one can understand that job involvement tends to depend on the importance of needs and the potential of the job to satisfy the individual needs of the employee (May. and active full role performance (p. It does not encompass employees’ relationship with the work itself (Maslach et al. emotional and cognitive level: these levels are significantly 9 . Saks. 2004). personal presence. because of the opportunity it gives to satisfy a persons’ needs. Therefore. 1990). Furthermore. Lawler and Hall (1970) defined job involvement as the degree to which the employee perceives the job situation as important part of their life. 2012).construct (Song et al. 2. however it is still a distinct and unique construct. 2004).700)”.3 Employee engagement models and theory Kahn’s need satisfying approach The first time employee engagement was mention in an Academy of Management Journal article called “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work” (Kahn. Kahn defined personal engagement as “the simultaneous employment and expression of a person’s “preferred self” in a task behaviors that promote connection to work and to others. and behavioral components that are associatedwith individual role performance. engagement includes the employee’s energy and emotions (May. 2011..1. In contrast to job satisfaction. et al. 2001). by which they feel comfortable or avoid feelings of dissatisfaction. emotional. Job satisfaction is the extent to which employees use work as a source of fulfillment of their needs.. Similarities between job involvement and the involvement aspect of engagement at work can also be found. To summarize the above it can be said that the meaning of engagement can sometimes overlap with other constructs in organizational behavior. Schaufeli and Salanova. as it is concerned more with how the workers employ themselves during job performance. 2007.. 2006). 2007. In his article. engagement is considered a voluntary emotional commitment that can be influenced by peer/supervisor/organizational support. From this. et al. Engagement differs from involvement. involvement is the result of the employees’ perception of the need satisfying abilities of the job. mutual trust and personal enthusiasm (Ologbo and Saudah. Bakker and Demerouti.

2004). The employees experience meaningfulness when they feel useful. while adherence to co-worker norms and selfconsciousness had negative effect. consistent and clear situations at work make employees feel safer in their actions. 1990). emotional and psychological recourses” (Kahn. which also increases the likelihood of engagement. He describes psychological meaningfulness as a feeling the person experiences in return for the psychological. rewarding co-worker and supportive supervisor relations enhanced employees’ safety. 1990) necessary to perform task in this very moment. status or career” (Kahn. Kahn defines meaningfulness as the positive “sense of return on investment of self in role of performance” (Kahn. Furthermore safety was defined as the ability to show one’s self “without fear or negative consequences to self image. Their findings also show that the framework developed by Kahn (1990) built a foundation for the future conceptualization of engagement (Shuck and Wollard. Kahn defined as the “sense of possessing the physical. desired and valued too. show that all three of Kahn’s (1990) psychological conditions were positively related to the development of engagement at work (May et. and resource availability was a positive predictor of psychological availability. p705). valuable and not taken for granted. They also found that meaningfulness was positively influenced by job enrichment and role fit. safety and availability (Kahn. In turn. cognitive and emotional energy invested into task performance.al. The predictable. It measures how ready the employee is.705). and that their work is important. while outside life had a negative effect. 10 . instead of withholding – this indicates the presence of engagement. 1990.affected by three psychological domains: meaningfulness. taking into consideration the distractions they experience. p. 2010). Work meaningfulness means that employees are more likely to dedicate their efforts to specific tasks. Availability. these domains create influence on how employees perceive and perform their roles at work. the third domain. The only study to date to empirically examine Kahn’s (1990) concept of engagement which was conducted by May et al. 1990.

2001. supportive work interactions. fairness and justice.74). Kahn’s (1990) and Maslachs et al’s (2001) works are the first theoretical frameworks. dedication and absorption” (Schaufeli. Absorption happens when the employee is pleasantly occupied with work. (2001). Maslach et al. Vigor refers to the employees’ willingness to invest their efforts into their job.. Taking a look at Kahn’s (1990) concept of engagement and Maslach et al. 2002. 1990). lacks this explanation and instead presents engagement as the physical or emotional absence of burnout. This match can be characterized by a “sustainable workload. In their study they positioned employee engagement as the “positive antithesis” (Maslach et al. fairness. the high levels of energy and their endurance and persistence in the face of difficulties. Many of the contemporary researchers 11 . feelings of choice and control. 2001) to burnout. 2001). 417). appropriate recognition and reward. feelings of choice and control. Accordingly. Dedication refers to the employees’ strong involvement in their work. control. their feelings of enthusiasm and significance. and meaningful tasks and valued work (Maslach et al. and meaningful and valued work” (Maslach et al. community. Burnout or disengagement arises when there is an imbalance between the workers and the six work settings: workload. employee engagement was defined as “a persistent positive affective state of fulfillment in employees. 2001. These include: the amount of physical. which help to understand employee engagement. However. et al. p. According to Maslach et al. contrary to Kahn who explains cognitive engagement processes. the need of recognition as a reward.’s burnout-antithesis approach Kahn’s research was the only published literature on engagement until 2001. when Maslach. emotional and psychological recourses available to the employee and the skills they possess. and Leiter (2001) began their study on the job burnout concept.’s (2001) concept of burnout. engagement is associated with the match between an employees’ profile and the job. characterized by vigor. Schaufeli. reward. it can be said that all of researchers presented a similar setting for that influences engagement or burnout. this can be seen by the employee not keeping the track of time and their inability to separate themselves from the job at hand (Maslach et al. a supportive work community. Kahn. 2001). p.Maslach et al. and values (Maslach et al.

1990. 2002.. feelings of fulfillment. 12 . and safety (r = -0.. profitability (r = 0.25). 2002) to examine the benefits of engagement. Kahn. developed a measure.. emotional.. 2001). Saks defined employee engagement as “a distinct and unique construct consisting of cognitive. perceiving themselves as being significant. Harter et al. This definition embraced previous literature on engagement. In their meta-analysis. consisting of 12 items. 2002. His theory was built on the belief that engagement is developed through a social exchange theory (SET). 2002.30). Maslach et al.’s satisfaction-engagement approach In 2002. and behavioral components (Harter et al. and behavioral components that are associated with individual role performance (p. productivity(r = 0. 2001). Harter et al. Using Kahn’s (1990) framework. they agreed with Kahn’s concept (1990) and saw engagement occurring when the employees are emotionally and cognitively engaged and when they know what is expected of them. They also agreed that engagement was dependent on the employees having the tools necessary to do their tasks. 2010). 269).602)”. presented one of the most widely read and cited works on employee engagement.built their concepts of engagement from Kahn’s (1990) and Maslach et al’s (2001) works (Shuck and Wollard.17). where they used 7939 business units (Harter et al. emotional (Harter et al. Results of the meta-analysis provided the evidence for the positive relationship between employee engagement and several important business outcomes: customer satisfactionloyalty (r = 0. working with others whom they trust and having the chance for improvement and development. and introduced the suggestion that employee engagement was developed from cognitive (Kahn. Employee engagement was defined here as an “individual’s involvement and satisfaction with as well as enthusiasm for work” (Harter et al.33). Harter et al.. which assesses the employees’ perception of their company as a working place. Saks’s multidimensional approach Another approach to employee engagement emerged from the multidimensional perspective of employee engagement presented by Saks (2006). p.32). Maslach et al.. employee turnover (r = -0. 1990).

and intention to quit (r = 20.26. Whereas. Unique variances and the fact that only organization engagement predicts OCBI show that there is a difference between job and organizational engagement. Procedural justice (r = 18) and organizational support (r = 57) were significant predictors of organization engagement (Saks. Salanova et al.Following Kahn’s conceptualization of engagement (1990). – without this.17. than organization engagement (M = 2. Salanova et al. emotional and psychological resources to successfully perform their work. Saks’s findings indicate that even though the two measures of engagement are related.88). the two main roles that most organizational members perform are their own work role and their role as a member of an organization. (2002). employees need the physical. The results of testing engagement antecedents showed that job characteristics (r = 37) and organizational support (r = 36) were significant predictors of job engagement. they are distinct. it was shown that job and organization engagement are predictors of job satisfaction (r = 0.59). 13 . r = 0. employees eventually disengage.20) (Saks.22.06). this reflects the extent to which employees are psychologically present during particular organizational role performances. r = 30). organizational commitment (r = 0. (2002). In general Saks (2006) research suggested that the engagement can be experienced emotionally and cognitively whilst being demonstrated behaviorally. as they all agree that for engagement or absorption to occur. (2002) models. According to Saks (2006).’s (2001) model (Saks. 2006).31) and organizational citizenship behavior directed to the organization (r = 20. Kahn (1990) and Harter et al. Like Schaufeli. This view linked Schaufeli. 2006). 2006). From this we can identify that Saks was the first one to present separate states of engagement: job engagement (psychological presence in one’s job) and organizational engagement (psychological presence in one’s organization) (Saks. as participants showed significantly higher job engagement (M = 3.41). r = 20. Furthermore. 2006). Saks supported the viewed of engagement as an absorption of resources the employee has into the work they performed. Saks’s model was build on the potential antecedents drawn from Kahn’s (1990) and Maslach et al. only organization engagement predicts OCB directed to the individual (r = 0. r = 0.

2006) and safety (Harter et al. 2002). 2003. Salanova et al. employee turnover and safety at work. 2003. One of the most important studies.. 2. Towers Perrin. Studies have shown that employee engagement have a positive influence on the following organizational performance indicators: customer satisfaction (Harter et al. Schmidt and Hayes (2002). profit (Harter et al... which show the importance of engagement on business level was conducted by Harter. 14 . This section will present the current thinking on the organizational and individual outcomes of employee engagement. They connected employee engagement with outcomes. individual health.. Schaufeli et al. productivity. customer satisfaction and employee retention (Bakker and Leiter. and both practitioners and academic literature seems to be more or less consistent regarding the benefits of employee engagement.. productivity. 2010 ). 2004. positive work attitudes. positive consequences on work engagement are also associated with customer satisfaction. employee turnover (Harter et al. 2002. 2003. 2010) In academic circles.‘Work engagement is a positive experience in itself’ (Schaufeli et al..2 Importance of engagement Employee engagement is an important employee performance and organization management topic. employee turnover (Harter et al. profit. Schaufeli and Bakker.. Almost all major consultancy firms state that there is a connection between employee engagement and profitability increase through higher productivity. 2005). as referenced in Sonnentag. Schaufeli. which are directly relevant to most businesses: customer satisfaction. 2007). Markos and Sridevi. 2002.. The importance of this topic is proven by its positive consequences for the organization and employees . extra-role behaviors and performance (Schaufeli and Salanova. productivity (Harter et al. 2002. profit. et al. 2003). Salanova et al. Heintzman and Marson.1 Organizational outcomes Organizational Performance Evidence from a number of studies supports the relation between employee engagement and organizational outcomes. 2002). There are numerous positive outcomes from building employee engagement.. 2002. increased sales.. 2002).2. 2002. 2002. Hallberg and Schaufeli.2.

Employee engagement had a positive influence on all of the mentioned categories. so when the organizational performance indexes are high it evokes positive attitudes among workers. Engaged employees develop new knowledge. (2006) and Hallberg and Schaufeli (2006). can significantly increase the companies’ chances of success in their business. they not only have more energy.32). Other researchers. Hakanen et al. the researchers concluded that increasing employee engagement and building an environment that helps to foster employee engagement. Other researchers agree with this. and engage themselves in mentoring and volunteering. 2002). For example. 15 . In her research of six public organizations. which results a company’s business outcomes But not everyone totally agrees with the idea that employee engagement boosts business results.33) employee turnover (p=. 2007. go the extra mile (Lockwood. In addition.. they have the urge to meet challenging goals. Alternatively they suggest that there is a reverse connection between organizational performance and employees’ attitudes. One of the explanations of the lower magnitude of correlation between engagement and two last outcomes can be explained by the fact that these outcomes are more remote variables. 2007) support the company.525). respond to opportunities. but mostly on customer satisfaction–loyalty (p=. also support Harter et al. 2007). Employee productivity As Kahn (1990) states. as it seems to have the potential to affect employee retention. which are also influenced by other variables and indirectly by employee attitudes (Harter et al. engaged employees are more satisfied with their job and are more committed to the organization (Schaufeli and Salanova. and they have the urge to succeed.25) and profitability (p=. employee loyalty and productivity.’s( 2002) findings and agree that employee engagement could be a predictor of organizational success. such as Salanova et al. (2005). with some link to customer satisfaction. Bakker and Demerouti (2007). In addition. 2002).17) (Harter et al.30) and safety (p=. followed by productivity (p=. Through their study.. engagement affects employee performance. but they also enthusiastically apply their energy at work. Schaufeli and Salanova. Engaged employees do not hold back. Sonnentag (2003) found that a high level of engagement helps employees “in taking initiative and pursuing learning goals” (p. Balain and Sparrow (2009) suggest that the link between employee engagement and organizational performance is not so strong.

(Kahn.. it influences the growth and productivity of the organization. and on the organizational level. 2004. later on Khan (1992) suggested that on the individual level. 2010). that those who are engaged perform better (Salanova et al. (2004) included the outcomes of engagement in their study. Towers Perrin. engagement in the meaningful job increases the perception of benefits from work (Britt et al. The Institute for Employment Studies summarized the ways in which engaged employees behave (see Figure 1) (Robinson et al. engagement influences the quality of an employees’ work and their own experience of doing their work etc. p. the positive attitude of engaged employees stimulates the integrative and creative perspective that adds value to service enterprise (Bakker and Leiter. Characteristics of engaged employees 16 . Salanova. 1990. they start to alienate and detach from their work.. nor May et al. Figure 1. 2005). Agut and Peiro agree with this suggestion. engaged employees see meaningfulness in their work. If employees see no meaningfulness in their job. Furthermore. 2010). in other words they become less committed and motivated at work (Aktouf. they dynamically change and arrange their job in a way in which it fits the changing work environment (Bakker and Leiter. 2003). Furthernore.engaged employees are intensively involved in their work and pay attention to the details (Bakker and Leiter. Maslach et al. In their study. 2010). Engaged employees go beyond the job description.6). 2001. they found the support of this suggestion. 1992). As researchers state. 2001) Even though neither Khan (1990).

will stay with the company. Hallberg and Schaufeli. it does increase the chances that the possibly more attractive employees. Schaufeli and Bakker. who have presented evidence that engagement has an influence on an employees’ intentions to quit.. they are willing to promote the organization as an employer. or believing in and recommending the products and services of the organization.21). as a place to work. Results show that employees working in the public sector are more critical to their organization than their private sector colleagues (CIPD 2006. 2007). The results of their survey showed that around 66% of highly engaged employees had no plans to leave their job versus 36% of moderately engaged and just 12% of the disengaged employees (see Figure 2) (Towers Perrin. Firstly. 2003. Therefore this means that engaged employees are more predisposed to recommending their organization. 2007). Figure 2. 2002.21). as referenced in Scottish Executive. 2006). p. which means that future 17 . in a competitive labor sense. HR consultancy company Towers Perrin has also found that highly engaged employees are a more stable employees (2003. Another interesting result came out of the CIPD's annual employee attitudes and engagement survey. Relationship between engagement and intent to leave the company According to Towers Perrin (2003) though high engagement does not guarantee retention (because a quarter of the employees would still consider the right opportunity). Advocacy of the organization The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2006.Employee retention Besides the number of researches (e. p.i. Harter et al. states that engaged employees may be advocates of their organization. as referenced in Scottish Executive. The same survey also showed that 37% of employees are willing to do two things. 2004.

2004). because it influences the quality of their work and the satisfaction of their clients. According to Penna (2006) this group of employees would actively discourage others from joining their current organization. Schaufeli. is transmitted on their customers. 2002).1993). How employees feel at work is important. Salanova. The study by Salanova et al.. In summary. et al. Secondly. which effects employee performance (appraised by the customer) and employee performance makes customers more satisfied and loyal. 2002. The way an organization treats their employees. (2005) showed that organizational resources and the level of engagement influences the service climate.. 2005). Afterward the exchange is complete. 18 .recruitment costs could be reduced by recommending/introducing new personnel by existing employees. little is known about the consequences of engagement of service workers. contrary to those who are disengaged and can even harm the company. to whom they refer as to “corporate terrorist”. that organizations might have a very disengaged group of employees.. in the organization. 2002. which allows for free marketing and enhances the public awareness of the organization. the company is judged depending on the customers experience (Schneider and Bowen.. clients receive both a personal and psychological experience with the company. they are willing to promote its products and services. and respectively the customer loyalty. Therefore. This happens because the organization-customer relationship is managed through their employees. During this interaction. In addition to these findings. 2003. as they meet face-to-face and work closely together and observe each other. Schaufeli and Bakker. the 'Meaning at work research report’ presented by Penna (2006) notes. engagement is the predictor of the service quality.. Taking a closer look at the specifics of the administrative workers role. and the way an employee feels during their role performance. it can be said that the level of their service highly depends on the climate in the organization and on how the employees feel at work (Salanova et al. these two surveys show that employees who are more engaged are more likely to bring an extra benefit for the company by advocating the organization. and high organizational commitment and performance (Harter et al. Customer loyalty Although research on the consequences of work engagement has shown its relationship with positive outcomes such as low absenteeism and low turnover (Harter et al. et al.

Cartwright and Holmes (2006) state that employers now offer higher salaries and instead of opportunities for skills development. Authors suggest that such a change in the employee-employer relationship has frustrated many employees. two decades ago. as they have lost trust in the organization and they question the meaningfulness of their work. which is a powerful predictor of their behavior and performance. commitment and trust.2. which would lead to job advancement. Authors believe that engagement could help employees in this situation. 2008). and companies expect these efforts be higher than before. providing them with the opportunity to invest themselves in work. now employee-employer relationships have become more transactional. the chance to become more entrepreneurial and manage their own career in exchange for employees’ efforts. job advancement in their existing organization. 19 . and in return expected job security. 2006). When compared to a traditional workplace environment. many employees are trying to find greater fulfillment from their work. They state that engaged employees believe they can make a difference in the organization. because though doing nothing. Graen (2008) suggests that engaged participants of organizational change mayt be important in making organization able to change and adapt to changing environment.Successful organizational change Some authors suggest that employee engagement might play important role in the implementation of organizational change (Graen. compared with only 31 percent of the disengaged. training and development. Other authors suggested self-efficacy as a possible outcome of engagement (Seijts and Crim. 2006) support this idea:  Eighty-four percent of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of their organization’s products. actions taken by top management teams or external consultants brought mixed success. but now this situation has changed. as cited in Seijts and Crim. 2. Results of the Towers Perrin survey (2005.2 Employee outcomes Psychological outcomes Cartwright and Holmes (2006) suggest that the changing workplace environment brings changes in the relationship between workers and their employers. As a result. Before employees offered their organization loyalty.

and 51 per cent reporting a negative effect on their generall well-being. Positive emotions Some researchers describe engagement as “a positive. Happy people may be more open to opportunities at work. 220) and interest. such as happiness. p.295). 2008). p. compared with 54 per cent of disengaged employees reporting a negative effect of their work on their health. According to the broaden-andbuild theory. 2008. broadens resources by creating the desire to explore. cited in Bakker and Demerouti. 2005. positive emotions. Sixty-eight percent of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit. such as joy. interest and contentment. can help people “build their personal resources (ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources)” (Bakker and Demerouti. 2001). versus 27 percent of the disengaged.3 Why do engaged employees perform better Bakker and Demerouti (2008) present four reasons why engaged employees perform better than their non-engaged counterparts.. Gallup organization (Crabtree. joy broadens resources “by creating the urge to play … and be creative” (p. 2.216). 2001. joy and enthusiasm. 2007) reported increased health in engaged employees. Good health 20 . fulfilling. 2002. p. employees more often experience positive emotions. With this state of mind. 2004. Health and well-being Some research has presented an idea that engagement may result in a positive health effect and positive feeling towards the organization and work itself (Mauno et al. cited in Lockwood.  Seventy-two percent of highly engaged employees believe they can positively affect customer service.2. more helpful to others.74. For example. with 62 per cent of engaged employees stating that work positively affects their physical health. Schaufeli and Bakker. compared with just 19 percent of the disengaged. work-related state of mind” (Schaufeli et al. exert more confidence and be generally more optimistic (Cropanzano and Wright.. to learn new information and experiences (Fredrickson. 2007).

they found evidence that work engagement is positively related to self-rated health and work ability. one example of this can be seen through Langelaan et al. Researchers showed that job and personal resources resulted in a higher level of engagement one year later. 2001. Fredrickson and Joiner. Similar results were presented by Llorens et al. but also through their influence on broadened thinking. another research did not find the evidence of the connection between engagement and physiological indicators. (2006). 2001. cardiovascular problems. 22). The Broaden-and-build theory presented by Fredrickson (2001). engagement results in an increase of personal resources (optimism. Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) also found a positive connection between engagement and health. which means that the health condition of engaged employees allows them to perform better than non-engaged employees. and they are better at creating their own resources (Bakker and Demerouti.’s (2009) also supports this idea. autonomy. positive emotions increase the possibility that people will feel good in the future (Fredrickson. ). and feedback) over time. (2007. The results of this study showed that an initial high 21 . There is also evidence for an upward spiral of work engagement and resources presented by Xanthopoulou et al.Some researchers present an idea that engagement positively influences an employees’ health. This means that positive emotions make people feel good in the present. In a study conducted by Hakanen et al. claims that the momentary experience of positive emotions can build enduring psychological resources and. (2007). 2008. they found that engaged workers suffer less from self-reported headaches. In their study among four different service organizations. p. coaching. in addition. (2006) in regards to the stress hormone Ability to mobilize resources Another reason why engaged employees are more productive. self-efficacy and organization-based self-esteem) and job resources (social support from colleagues. At the same time. as referenced in Bakker and Demerouti. as they have a better working environment. 2007). The study by Schaufeli et al. it can “trigger upward spirals toward enhanced emotional well-being” (Fredrickson. self-efficacy and engagement over time. and stomach aches. 2008). However. They presented the “gain spiral” of resources. 2002). could be that engaged employees are also more successful in mobilizing their job resources. and more pleasant colleagues to work with (Bakker and Demerouti.

their team performs better. 2001). compared with non-engaged employees. This section will present the current thinking and evidence of the catalysts for employee engagement. it is possible to assume that the transfer of engagement from one employee to another will increase company performance. the results of these research show that: A positive mood of the leader is transferred to the employees. Therefore. some of the studies in the academic literature contribute to the understanding of what drives employee engagement. 2001) A similar theory was put forward by Bakker et al. as a consequence. 2005) A team members’ positive mood spreads among other team members and results in more cooperation and better task performance (Barsade. All these findings suggest that engaged employees have a positive influence on their colleagues and. (2006. Individual engaged workers spread their optimism.al. Crossover can be defined as the transfer of positive or negative emotions and experiences from one person to another (Westman. this included: social support.3 Antecedents of engagement A lot of the literature on employee engagement comes from practitioner literature and consulting firm. resulting in less effort needed to complete the task and more coordination (Sy et. Some researchers found evidence of emotional transferability. So all these findings show that.. who found that team work engagement was related to individual team members’ engagement. Transfer of engagement Organizational performance is the result of the combined efforts of the individual employees (Bakker and Demerouti. 2008). autonomy. positive attitudes and pro-active behaviors between their co-workers. which supports their future engagement. 2004). 22 . engaged employees are better able to mobilize both job and personal resources. 2008). and performance feedback. Though. as referenced in Bakker and Demerouti. 2. learning opportunities. There is a lack of research on employee engagement in the academic literature (Robinson et al.level of engagement predicted the increase of job resources the next year. creating a positive team climate.

both job and organizational engagement.’s (2001) models of engagement. whereas drivers are more actions or activities. The main purpose for this section is to find out which constructs. Bakker and Demerouti. there is a tendency towards many authors using antecedents and the driver of engagement interchangeably. one can say that antecedents are more or less fixed characteristics of the people. Task Level In their research Saks (2006) and Ologbo and Saudah (2011) have differentiated job engagement from organization engagement and showed that there is a difference between these two types of engagement. Kahn (1992) also states that employees who are involved in jobs. and the level of individual.604). however some factors have found empirical support. regardless of whether it is fixed characteristics or actions. interest will be based in the general engagement of employees at work. For example. Schaufeli and Bakker. Kahn’s view has also been supported by other authors. 2007. 2011. which allows employees to use different skills and gives an opportunity to contribute to the company’s success. task identity. In the 23 . For the purpose of this thesis. are more likely to be engaged. 2006). organization or job. 1990. the level of organization. For the purpose of this thesis. p. 2006). challenging job. Schaufeli and Salanova. autonomy. As the foundation for the possible antecedents of engagement. however it is also possible to argue why these two notions should be used separately. 2004. this section presents the antecedents of both types of engagement. For example. brings employees psychological meaningfulness and a sense of return to their performance-investments (Kahn. depending on their origin: the task level. the organization of work level. such as meaningfulness (Saks 2006. core job characteristics are skill variety. such as providing learning opportunities or social support (Ologbo and Saudah. Results of this study show that job characteristics are positively related to job engagement (Saks. task significance. organization-related antecedents and drivers of engagement have been combined into four groups. 1992). strategies or conditions have a positive influence on employee engagement. which are high on the core job characteristics.While reviewing the academic literature. The literature on the antecedents or drivers of employee engagement does not present a lot of empirical research (Saks. the interpersonal and social relations level. 2007). Saks took Kahn’s (1990) and Maslach et al. According to Hackman and Oldham (1980). and feedback.

the employee and employer are found in a reciprocal relationship and obligations are developed during their interactions (Saks. 2011. 2004). Job burnout literature has also extensively studied social support and has shown that there is a consistent and strong evidence that lack of social support is linked to burnout (Maslach et al. Interpersonal Level Studies also show that social support from colleagues and supervisors are also positively associated with work engagement (Ologbo and Saudah. as they help in achieving work related goals and may stimulate personal development (Schaufeli and Salanova.. Organization of work Level Employee development opportunities were also found to have a positive influence on job engagement (Ologbo and Saudah.al. which in turn positively influences engagement.2006.al. 2007). Bakker and Demerouti. and cause the range of withdrawal reactions (Demerouti et. Following this interpretation. social support stimulates employee engagement either through satisfaction of basic needs or through the achievement of work goals.. Furthermore. when employees receive challenging jobs they feel obligated to show higher level of engagement. This connection may be due to the reason that many employees desire to maintain their jobs inventive and interesting by acquiring new skills and applying new approaches to their daily tasks.study of job resources it was found that feedback and autonomy were positively associated with work engagement (Bakker and Demerouti. 2011). In summary. This goes hand in hand with Kahn’s (1990) viewpoint that the ability to learn and to apply new knowledge increases meaningfulness for employee. Supportive colleagues and proper feedback from supervisors increases the likelihood of being successful in achieving work goals (Bakker and Demerouti. Hakanen et. 2006). At the same time burnout literature sates that the lack of feedback and autonomy are consistently related to burnout (Maslach et al. 2001) 24 . 2007). social support satisfies employees’ need to belong (Schaufeli and Bakker. According to this theory. 2007). 2001). Schaufeli and Salanova. 2007). 2007). The relationship between job characteristics and employees’ engagement can also be explained from the social exchange theory’s point of view. 2001) as they restrain learning and the need for autonomy (Bakker and Demerouti. 2007.

Other antecedents of employee engagement on the organizational level are the rewards and recognition. the level of an employees’ engagement depends on the level of returns on their investments of self into work. resources etc. it was shown that social climate predicts employee engagement. which is concerned with the employees’ perception of fairness of means. This means that the amount of received rewards and recognition may stimulate the employees’ engagement. In the research conducted by Hakanen et al. If the employees perceive an organization to be just and fair. from this we can say that a sufficient amount of rewards and recognition is important for engagement. Organization Level The organizational level antecedents of employee engagement also found its empirical support. who did not find a significant connection between perceived supervisor support and employee engagement. 2006). 2011). Procedural justice. Study by Koyuncu et al. (2006). (2006) support this idea and show that the level of rewards and recognition is an important part of work experience and a strong predictor of 25 . in different organizations. It can be explained from the fairness point of view. 1990). industries and countries. 2006). The sense of return can come not only from meaningfulness but also from an external environment like rewards and recognition. Some literature suggests that many employees like to be distinctively rewarded and recognized for the outstanding work they do (Ologbo and Saudah. These factors may have influenced the difference in the results. The difference of these results and the ones presented later may be due to the fact that studies were conducted between different employee groups. that show the connection between social support and engagement. Following Kahn’s theory (1990). Maslash et al. are in conflict with the study conducted by Saks (2006).Social support from the colleagues and supervisor may also be important from the point of view that both these constructs contribute to the general positive social climate in the organization. (2001) also suggest that the lack of rewards and recognition can lead to burnout. used to determine the amount and distribution of resources among employees (Greenberg. they will also feel it is fair for them to put in more to work by increasing their engagement (Saks. Studies. was proven to have a positive effect on job engagement (Saks. at work. The feeling of safety presented by Kahn (1990) is influenced by the predictability and consistency of the procedures used to assign rewards.

POS refers to the employees’ beliefs that an organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being (Rhoades and Eisenberger. The amount of support and care employees’ perceive to receive from organization influences their psychological safety. It can be seen in a couple of studies that a strong degree of trust and confidence in senior leaders increases the chances that the employee will repay with organizational engagement. 2006). 2011). the higher the level of organizational engagement they show (Ologbo and Saudah.2001). From Rhoades’ et al. the employee and the employer are in a dynamic relationship and employee monitors and responds to the organizations’ actions towards them (Rhoades’ et al. 2006).’s (2001) point of view. The more employees approve the company’s products and services. and states that other factors besides rewards are usually more important for engagement. and enables them to employ their selves without fear of negative consequences (Kahn. 2011). One of the publications showed that the availability of information was positively related to engagement... POS makes employees feel obligated “to care about the organizations welfare and to help the organization reach its objectives” 26 . 2011). where no significant connection between rewards and recognition was found. as trust is an important factor in building relationships (Karsan. (2006) by showing that reward and recognition influences job engagement. these findings contradict the findings of another study (Saks. Individual antecedents Perceived organizational support (POS) was empirically proven to have a positive influence on job and organization engagement (Saks. 2011. 2002). Robinson (2007) agrees with Saks. Leadership also plays a role in the level of an employees’ engagement. this confidence can be built through the reliability of the leadership (Ologbo and Saudah. 2011). as the access to information increases the chances that the task at hand will be completed successfully and that work goals will be achieved (Hakanen et al. However. Many researchers have stated that employees need clarification and communication of a company’s goals and objectives and to have the feeling of being well informed about what is going on in the company (Ologbo and Saudah. Employees need to be confident is their organization. 2006). The study conducted by Ologbo and Saudah (2011) duplicates the result from Koyuncu et al. 1990). The image of the organization was also found to be connected with organizational engagement.engagement. Ologbo and Saudah.

which showed that employees who believe that they can meet the demands in a broader context. 1990). satisfy their needs by participating in roles within the organization and believe that they will experience good outcomes (Xanthopuolou et al. From this. 2007). is important for restoring an employees’ physical. p. He claims that being able to recover in the evening after a working day. organizational-based self-esteem and optimism are those personal resources.. 2006). 1980). emotional and psychological resources necessary for engaging at work (Kahn.. which can influence employees’ engagement (Xanthopuolou et al.al. During his study 27 . 2001.. 2004. 2007) feel more prepared for varying work situations and that they are more able to control their working environment (Luthans et al’s. therefore they use their inner resources. the employees are expected to want to pay back by becoming more engaged and helping organization.. or during weekends. In other words. Sonnentag (2003) agrees with this viewpoint and states that the level of recovery of personal resources has an impact on the employees experience at work.2001). can also be seen as the antecedent to the development of employee engagement (May et. Recognizing the feeling of obligation does not always bring its positive effects – the organization needs to establish a context in which the obligation feels more like a favorable relationship with the organization (Rhoades’ et al. 2007) such as self-efficacy..(Rhoades’ et al. The study by Xanthopuolou et al. at work employees employ themselves physically. self-esteem and optimism. study (2006).as this will support favorable treatment by both the employee and the company in the future.834). As Kahn (1990) stated. one can assume that the level of the employees’ inner resources has an influence on the level of engagement they show at work. An employees’ perception of the work environment as emotionally and physically safe.. This was supported by Luthans et al’s. seeing their work as meaningful and as a result being more engaged (Hackman and Oldham. cognitively and emotionally. Employees’ self-efficacy. Engaged workers posses personal resources (Xanthopuolou et al. These feelings may result in an employee being more confident and proud of their work.. Kahn. 2006). when an employee feels that the organization takes care of them. 1990).. (2007) showed that there is also a connection between personal resources and an employees’ engagement. which help to control and influence their working environment (Luthans et al’s.

al. In conclusion for this section. compared to 23% of moderately engaged and only 4% of disengaged 28 . employee group. it is unlikely that a “one-size fits all” approach will bring its benefits.. Some researchers investigated engaged and disengaged employees regarding this statement.4. as engagement and its drivers depend on the organization. can be derived from a strong mutual relationship between the co-employees. Moreover. increases their engagement level. which according to Attridge (2009) is to change the way of giving feedback to employees regarding their job performance. 2. as referenced at Attridge 2009). as referenced at Attridge 2009) presents that 77% of engaged employees state that their supervisor focuses on positive characteristics while giving feedback.Sonnentag found that the employees who get a sufficient recovery during leisure time show higher level of engagement the next day (Sonnentag. The work by Coley Smith (2006. 2003). the individual and job itself. recovered employees were more engaged and showed more personal initiatives. 2009.1 Organizational support of employee engagement To build employee engagement employers can use different practices. it can be said that engagement. which has a positive effect on the employees’ behavior and attitude. work engagement was found to be the mediator of the effect of recovery on the proactive behaviors the next day. A good point to start at is the individual level. It is also important to remember that employees’ resources. so it is important that they decide how to best allocate their time during the feedback process.4 Implication for organization 2. In other words. not weaknesses. Some managers decide to concentrate more on the employees’ performance or personality strengths while others may pay more attention to performance or personality weaknesses (Corporate Leadership Council. Some studies have found evidence that job related feedback concentrating on an employees’ strengths. and their recovery. their employer and the organization as a whole. 2002). It is understandable that there is a limit to the number of points a manager can address during the performance review. Authors state that actions should be taken on two levels – individual employee and at the larger organizational level (Attridge et. However. play an important role in the employees’ ability to engage. as Robinson (2007) pointed out. it is important to note that.

the choice of emphasizing the positive or negative features in performance reviews has a substantial impact on employee performance. 29 . 2002). and these employees are more likely to feel they are not in the right job (Corporate Leadership Council. who agree with this statement. which analyzed 19000 employees and managers in 34 organizations. 2002). which also have a positive (21. also feel better matched with their job and believe they have the necessary resources to do their job (Corporate Leadership Council.employees. The second bar emphasizes on personality strengths. The authors of the study state that those employees who receive feedback. The survey conducted by The Corporate Leadership Council (2002). Figure 3. with emphasis on performance strengths. More precisely. Impact of formal performance review on employee performance As shown in the figure.3 percent) impact on individual performance.4 percent. also presents some interesting findings (see Figure 3).8 percent. At the same time. the far left-hand side of the figure shows that an emphasis on performance strengths in formal reviews can increase performance by 36. the right-hand side of the figure demonstrates that an emphasis on performance weaknesses can lower employee performance on 26.

it makes more sense for the organization to prevent the situation of the disengagement at the first place (Corporate Leadership Council. 2006). innovative problem solving. Besides training managers to focus on the strength of the employees during performance feedback. 2007. can undermine the goal of the formal review. 2004. at the same time. One of the studies found that. can increase performance and make employees feel more comfortable with their work (Corporate Leadership Council.al. 2005. 2002).. On the organizational level.The message from these studies is a note of caution – organizations should understand that the way in which they conduct formal reviews with employees is critical.al. amongst employees. 1979. without suggestions for improving performance. Authors suggest many practices that can help to advance an organization’s health in this way (Nelson et. and relationships of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organizational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder” (Buchanan.specification of the contents. corporate culture and effective leadership style.55) Researchers state that employee engagement can be improved with the help of a better job design. Giving negative feedback. Researches also associate a low level of engagement with a low level of social support from supervisors and colleagues (Ologbo and Saudah. p. methods. POS is expected to reduce these negative reactions to stressors by signaling the availability of material as well as emotional support when employees face high demands at work (George et. 2011.. employee engagement can be improved if the organization provides employees with more support and job resources. 2007). 2009).al. working conditions.al. which are better matched to their abilities and knowledge (Barling et. 2002). as referenced in Attridge. Schaufeli and Bakker. Though emphasizing performance strengths during the formal reviews and providing employees with suggestions for how they can better perform on the job.. when job demands are high. positive appreciation and 30 . burnout. employees can be placed into the jobs. Bakker and Demerouti. 1993). as specific elements and the job tasks can be designed in a way to benefit from the employees strengths and. Job design was defined as “.. Meta-analysis of 73 prior research studies conducted by Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002). such as supervisor support. resource support. anxious and having headaches.. shows that a higher level of POS can decrease ‘strains’ symptoms. such as feeling fatigued. Hakanen et. effective practices to prevent disengagement include a better job design.

2010) It is also important to change the culture of an organization in order to reduce or avoid organizational factors that lead to employees being stressed at work. and support the employee engagement. 2007). Practices can include removing problematic or unfavorable aspects of the tasks and technical operations. The winner of the Healthy Workplace is determined by the American Psychological Association and is judged according to five criteria that contribute to a healthy workplace culture: worklife balance. 2009). 2005. because supervisor’s support and appreciation puts demands into different perspective. and creating and supporting opportunities for positive social interactions at work (Warr.al. to create the appropriate environment for future engagement. 2007). Positive appreciation helps to maintain an employees’ motivation and shows that employees should continues in a certain direction (Bakker et al. health and safety. why these factors can act as a buffer for the increased strain. organizations should avoid or reduce the main predictors of an employees’ exhaustion and/or burnout.collaborative organizational culture (Bakker et al. Furthermore. 2007). providing more user-friendly workplace equipment. as this maintains their work as both interesting and challenging. recognition and employee involvement (Grawitch et.4). as referenced in Attridge.al.. depending on the kind of work. For example. absenteeism and disengagement (Attridge. such as difficult job demands and stressful working conditions (Xanthopoulou et. Organizational culture and innovativeness also may be highly important to maintaining engagement between employees.. They also provide the reasons. introducing more role clarity and decision making authority of workers. 2006). Work-life balance programs recognize that workers have responsibilities outside work and include not only practices and policies regarding elderly and child care but also other responsibilities in 31 . supervisor support may reduce the negative influence of job demands on strain.al. providing employees with the right job resources can protect them from negative consequences. p. Therefore. Other researchers refined and expanded these practices to the following five categories (Grawitch et. employee growth and development. 2006): 1. Supporting work-life balance. Even Gallup Q12 method of assessment of work engagement includes the question of having a best friend at work (Gallup. Lockwood’s view backs this viewpoint and states that “workplace culture sets the tone for engagement” (2007. 2009).

according to the authors. With employee growth and development programs.employees’ private lives that require flexibility. empowerment. the company needs to capture their hearts and minds. 5. Building a guiding coalition. 3. Principle-based guidelines are preferred for promoting engagement 32 . but they can also include other types of rewards such as honorary ceremonies. leadership development and provision of internal career opportunities. which makes them more committed to the organization and increases the chances for internal career development. 2007): 1. Recognition programs. 2. 4. The goal of employee involvement. eldercare. Encouraging employee health and safety at the workplace. Promoting employee growth and development. Other researchers suggest engagement practices. 3. which can be taken on the managerial level. Such programs might include employee assistance programs for alcohol and drug addiction. Examples of work-life balance programs include flexible scheduling. that facilitate community-building efforts in organization (Gravenkemper. 2. To build a community. Health and safety programs are designed to maximize employees’ physical and mental health. are usually perceived as monetary rewards (bonuses or raises. Employee involvement can be increased with greater employee participation in decision making. personal acknowledgment in companies’ newsletters etc. To successfully engage people. is to allow employees to bring diverse ideas to solving organizational problems and increasing organizational effectiveness. Praise and recognition. it is necessary to create a core leadership team that supports common goals. stress management training. Employee growth and development programs examples include additional on-the-job training. Employee involvement. Communicating a compelling message. Creating principle-based versus compliance-based guidelines for decisions and behaviors. which is perhaps the most popular of all healthy work place practices. childcare. wellness screenings. counseling and safety training. selfmanaged teams and job autonomy. which make employees feel rewarded for their contribution to the organization. and provision of job security. organizations invest in the employees’ skills potential.

transformational leaders communicate the vision of the future. Generating continuous opportunities for dialogue. show real interest in the employees’ needs and intellectually stimulate workers (Tims et. 2007).) 4. the employees’perception of their favorable or unfavorable treatment may contribute to POS (Eisenberger et.Early indicators signal that communitybuilding efforts are acceleration.. One of the indicators might be the “buzz level” in the group. whereby the leader motivates the workers to perform beyond their own expectations” (Yukl. Making people communicate. 2011. 6. (Examples of principle-based guidelines: Treat others the way that you would like to be treated. encouraging higher performance expectations and 33 . Inspirational motivation. Traditionally. al. the most effective leadership style for supporting engagement is “transformational leadership”. As supervisors carry an extra role as being organizational agents.122). inspire and motivate employees. performed by the leader. 2011). 2009). inspires employees to be more engaged and taskcommitted trough sharing the vision. al. which also has influence on engagement (Saks. Bakker and Demerouti. 5. According to occupational health psychology research (Barling 2007. al. p. as referenced in Attridge. Leadership style and support also contributes to employee engagement (Ologbo and Saudah. 2006). Whereas. and it points out the successful initiatives to which extra resources can be allocated. 1989. Communication between leaders increases their commitment and tends to strengthen the ties within the leadership group. Planning assimilation strategies for new members and new leaders. compliance-based guidelines states that not demonstrating the desired behavior will result in negative consequences. Examples of compliance-based guidelines include: Don't walk on the grass.and commitment. because it requires an individual interpretation of messages and gives the opportunity to personalize meaning. Identifying early engagement indicators. 2011. This leadership style was defined as “leadership behavior that transforms the norms and values of the employees. Successful assimilation of new members into the community and managing their transition to leadership roles are two key points of increasing engagement and commitment. are a role model for subordinates. You will be docked an hour's pay if you are late for work. creates buy-in. Be all that you can be. rather than just listen. 1986). as referenced in Tims et.

performance appraisal and safety issues. The HR department is in charge of staffing. potential and performance (Shamir et. training and development.appealing to workers emotions (Hickman.2 HR support of employee engagement In order to get competitive advantages. employees often develop a deeper trust in management and the employees’ sense of self-efficacy improves. 2007). orientation. 2007). HR activities can help other managerial practices when dealing with employees. The HR departments deal with personnel and their relations.4. 1993). 2010. al. al. and how their job contributes to the company’s success.. involving and satisfying. Some researchers found that transformational leaders are able to enhance employees’ feeling of involvement. it is clear that for employee engagement to take place. 2007). As a result.Other important attributes of the transformational leader are authenticity and emotional competence with others (Quick et. al. Emotionally competent leaders are aware of their own feelings and emotions as well as other people feelings and emotions and know how to act in accordance with these emotions. As the HR department works so closely with employees and their issues. create positive psychological environment and are known for having personal integrity. Strategic HR helps to integrate HR policies and practices with the organization’s strategic plans (Porter. Kelly.. these two are the factors which are associated with well-being and productivity (Attridge. Strategic function. 2012). 2010 as referenced in Song et. 2009). 2. 34 .. selection. Workers might see their work as more challenging. organizations are referring to HR departments to set the agenda to creating the culture of engagement at work (Lockwood. 2008). Research shows that the employees’ understanding of how their job is connected to the company’s strategy.al. The authentic leaders are transparent to others. giving the possibility to make the employees’ work more meaningful and related to the strategic direction of the organization. commitment. Its responsibilities often involve standard administrative tasks and assisting other managers by dealing with employees starting from the selection process to the end of their contract. 2011). when they receive sufficient support. is one of the most important drivers of employee engagement (Lockwood. which gradually makes them highly engaged (Tims et. inspiration and coaching from supervisor.

etc) gives employees a sense of being valued and important. It can also be an extrinsic motivator. Research shows that a manager who spends time on setting goals and plans with the employee makes them more able to engage. not mentioning other formal ways (e. new. because if employees are in tune with their jobs then they are psychologically and emotionally present during their task performance. Employees receiving ongoing feedback. they do not block or withdraw from the job. Moreover. 35 . because they also see it as recognition and encouragement. invitation to a senior meeting.Recruitment and selection. and. Learning. because they give employees more tools they can use during their work for achieving their goals (Bakker and Leiter. Team learning and development. Performance management. 5. 1990). The recruitment process tries to ensure that the company has the right people placed in the right jobs. which contributes to engagement. Building trust. Employees have a chance to learn and develop skills. as they support employees’ growth. according to Khan (1990). Communication about performance. which give them more tools to achieve their job goals. Recognition. employees ranked quality of workplace learning opportunities as the first factor influencing their engagement. exciting project. Performance management includes the following activities. and do not perform it mechanically (Khan. Feedback is communication in the company that helps an employees understand how their job contributes to the success of the team and organization. A simple “thank you”. Authors state that one of the key predictors of employee engagement is their ability to trust their manager.g. This is important for further employee engagement. specially positive. which are found to be essential for employee engagement (Mone and London. 4. having necessary tools at work makes employees more able to engage. 2. because setting goals effectively empowers employees to act. on their performance are more engaged. 2010). in the survey conducted by Paradise (2008). 2010): 1. awards. In their book Mone and London (2010) recommends managers to pay more attention to performance management in order to create a more engaged workforce. 3. learning and development. Setting meaningful goals. It can be perceived as an intrinsic motivator. training and development can have two meanings for the employees. Training and development.

Compensation and Benefits. Thought compensation and benefits are not perceived to be the most important, however they still play an important role in employees’ perception of the job (Robinson, 2007). Having a market-related compensation and benefit package, combined with the feeling of being reasonably rewarded (Koyuncu et al., 2006), fairly treated and appreciated, makes employees more willing to engage (Maslach et al. 2001; Kahn, 1990). The reward is not just a pay, it can be a combination of pay, bonuses, financial and nonfinancial rewards such as extra free days, child care etc.

2.5. Specifics of administration employees’ work-life in educational organizations
The engagement of staff members at educational institutions is an important and interesting issue to look at. Firstly, the administrative staff of the university has a significant influence on the tone, manner and style of the entire institution. Secondly, because the tasks and quality of day-to-day performance contributes to the quality of the elationships with faculties, students and the public (Scott, 1978 as referenced in Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Lastly this part of staff of academies and universities has rarely been studied (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Nowadays, educational institutions are increasingly taking into consideration the notion of engagement, as they are starting to realize that engagement helps to create a more efficient and productive workforce (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Understanding the specifics and significance of the work performed by administrative staff in the educational organization may be important prior to creating the culture of engagement. Administrative workers, in educational organizations, are non-academic support personnel. They are not a faculty and, unlike academic staff, they are noncontract employees (Rosser, 2000; Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Administrative staff is the advisors, analysts, counselors, specialists, technicians, and officers on which the faculty and students rely on and trust (Rosser, 2000). They are the unsung professionals in the academic environment: unsung, because their contribution to the educational organization is rarely recognized , despite them making a significant contribution to higher education as a whole (Rosser, 2000).Administrators play an essential role in the educational organizations and they are known to be a loyal, dedicated, committed group

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of managers who work long hours, are highly professional and skilled, with a strong sense of connection to their work and enthusiastic about their tasks (Rosser, 2000)

2.5.1 Specifics of work The specifics of the administrative employees are that, as well as having specific responsibilities, they are also the front line employees of the organization (Rosser, 2000). Every first contact with the educational organizations is done so through them. The quality of this experience may be an important factor for the future students’ integration and development (Rosser, 2000). Administrators are also the ones who interact with the students, faculty, public and private sector and provide public and community service information. Another significant element of their position, is that they are the link between their own superior’s directions and the public, faculty and students, who actually use their support and service (Rosser, 2000; Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). They deal with the external suppliers of resources needed to support the different activities in the educational organizations (Scott, 1976, 1977 as references in Rosser, 2000). As well as interacting with the faculty and students, administrators deal also with the private sector, public sector and government in fund-raising activities and provide the public and community with service information (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999; Rosser, 2000). Furthermore, they monitor and regulate the policies and procedures in the educational organizations. However, the specific with their position, is that they rarely have the authority to participate in administrative policy making: to change, adjust or develop the regulations that they carry out (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999; Rosser, 2000).

2.5.2 Issues affecting the quality of administrators work lives Understanding the significance of administrative staff within educational organizations helps to understand the factors that influence their professional life. Studies have found a couple of factors, which may negatively influence an employees’ job attitudes, and consequentially their engagement: lack of cooperation with supervisors, little involvement with the mission and goals, role ambiguity, position limitations, lack of advancement and opportunities (Moore and Twombly, 1990, as referenced in Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999), and limited resources (Scott, 1976, 1977, as referenced in Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999).
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At the same time, Johnsrud (1996 as referenced in Rosser, 2000) has identified three areas which, as she suggests, are of consistent frustration for administrative workers: the specifics of the midlevel position, lack of recognition for their contributions and the lack of career development opportunities. The first issue, feeling between, is the biggest source of frustration for administrative staff (Rosser, 2000). Their responsibility is to implement and enforce policies developed by the senior administrators. However they rarely have the chance to contribute to the decision-making process, even though they are the ones who defend and explain these policies – when students, faculties or the public question them. Despite being a big part of the educational organizations, administrative workers sometimes feel invisible and unappreciated in the organization (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). However, they want to be recognized for their contribution to reaching educational organizations’ mission. They want to be acknowledged and appreciated for the supportive role they play and for their competencies (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Recognition of their competencies includes: guidance, trust, communication, participation, confidence and performance feedback (Rosser, 2000). Looking for and gaining recognition has become an important aspect of an administrators work life (Rosser, 2000). Recognition is known as one of the basic human needs. Despite this many administrative staff feels that their need is not being met by their organization (Rosser, 2000). Recognition can take many forms: most important element is that administrators must feel valued and appreciated for all the work they do (Johnsrud and Rosser, 1999). Another source of frustration is the lack of career development (Rosser, 2000). Unlike faculty members, who have the chance to remain in the same position while advancing in the ranks (assistant – associate – full professor), administrators lack these advancement opportunities. In most educational organizations mobility is limited or difficult, which is why it is highly important to create possibilities for their professional growth (Rosser, 2000). Administrative staff members are willing to improve on their techniques of completing their current job, as well as gaining new skills and knowledge necessary to complete more challenging assignments, or to gain more experience required for another position (Rosser, 2000).

2.5.3 Administrative workers moral Understanding the specifics of the administrative workers’ perception of their work-life, as expressed in moral for example, is very important to educational organizations,
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They state that significant variables include: working conditions. Another factor.124)”. For a better understanding of the administrative employees’ work life in their study Johnsrud and Rosser (1999) presented the factors that affect an administrative workers’ morale. In their study Johnsrud and Rosser (1999) studied the administrators’ morale and its influence on the employees’ perception of work. Johnsrud and Rosser (1999) has defined morale as “a state of mind regarding one’s job. whichever the form administrators must feel that their abilities and contributions are valued and appreciated in the organization. in one way or another. which also have an influence on morale. Recognition can take many forms. Professional issues. the higher education administrators’ engagement literature is not extensive and does not yet include a lot of studies conducted within higher education. commitment. shows that supervisors play an important role in the development of a positive work environment for their employees. 2. 2008). In summary. job fit. Person-job fit was defined by Edwards (1991. time spent interacting with students. correspond to antecedents of employee engagement. trust as perceived from the supervisor. specially that of the administrative workers within educational institutions.because these perceptions. From the institutional side it is affected by salary. The findings presented by Hermsen and Rosser (2008) shed some light on the factors that influence engagement. moral is connected with the employees’ satisfaction with their work environment.4 Factors influencing the engagement of administrative staff Unfortunately. opportunity for promotions and career development opportunities. may influence the quality of the job the workers complete or how long they decide to stay with organization (Rosser.5. their attitudes to the work environment. sense of teamwork and recognition for their contribution. this means that better working conditions increase the chances that the employee will show a higher level of engagement. 2000). are the degree of trust from the supervisor. loyalty. Furthermore. including satisfaction. and sense of common purpose with respect to ones work (p. As working conditions were found to be a significant and positive factor influencing engagement. as referenced in 39 . role fit. It can be seen that factors influencing moral. building and increasing employee engagement has a positive influence on the workers moral and in turn. and length of employment on campus (Hermsen and Rosser. Wesbrook (1980) argues that on the individual level.

1993. 2009). p. Person-role fit reflects the compatibility between the characteristics of the person and the features of the role within the team. caused by limited prior understanding (Creswell. as referenced in DeRue and Morgeson 2007). qualitative research tends to be flexible. and the role he/she needs to perform. the lower level of engagement they were showing.Kristof.. as team members’ roles include formal tasks as well as informal socially defined tasks (Belbin. the higher the match between a person’s characteristics and those of the job. Employees who spend more time interacting with students also report a higher level of engagement. Job fit also focuses more on the formal aspects of the work. 3. 1996. with an emphasis on gaining insights and constructing theories (Ghauri & Grønhaug. Due to its modest insight. meaning that the longer employees were working within an educational organization. as references in DeRue and Morgeson 2007). 2006). the higher chances for engagement.8) as ”the fit between the abilities of a person and the demands of a job (i. was employment history. In other words. 40 .1 Research methods It is relevant to use qualitative research when the prior knowledge about the area of interest in limited. which come out in teams (Ilgen andHollenbeck 1991 as referenced in DeRue and Morgeson 2007). 2009). A brief introduction of possible research approaches is presented further before explaining how the research information and analysis data were gathered. which was found to have a negative influence on the engagement of administrative workers.The process of research involves emerging questions and the researcher making interpretations of the meaning of the data (Creswell. 3. so compared with job-fit it describes more the employees responsibilities within a team context (Ilgen. The only factor. Data collection and analysis is often continuous.e. demands-abilities) or the desires of a person and the attributes of a job (needssupplies)”. Methodology The following section will cover an approach and a method used for the investigation of the current level of engagement of the administrative workers at VUC and the factors that need to be improved in order to increase engagement. when role-fit includes both established and new tasks.1994.

and can point out the factors driving engagement. 41 . which possess specific characteristics. quantitative research provides results in the form of numbers. group of employees. which need to be improved. 2009). They give the possibility to present findings in the form of graphs and tables.177) In order to measure the engagement level of employees and to find out the specific antecedents of engagement that need to be improved. when the preliminary knowledge regarding the topic has already been developed. p. The numbers. 2008. objective research” (Denscombe. Furthermore. as they can be compared with each other within the category of antecedents of engagement. This questionnaire produces numerical data. which gives the opportunity to measure engagement with a help of the questionnaire. Furthermore. so no prior research was needed for the purpose of this research. Such approach “conveys a sense of solid. such as rituals. However. relationships and the way these are expressed (Denscombe. as little research has been done on this group of employees.Qualitative research “is interested in the perspectives of the participants. 2001. These numbers are the basis for further analysis and recommendations. that are useful for analytical purposes. with questionnaires as the main source collecting data. In this situation. qualitative research is concerned with patterns of behavior. A couple of tools for measuring employee engagement have already been developed. the qualitative approach would be more appropriate for collecting data (Creswell. which is highly applicable for the purpose of this paper. are the attraction of the quantitative research. 2009). then the information regarding this specific group would be limited. traditions. If the purpose of this research was to find out the most important antecedents of engagement for administrative workers in educational organizations. in everyday practices and everyday knowledge referring to the issue under study” (Flick. quantitative research is more appropriate (Creswell. but still important. 2001). 2). the quantitative research. The choice has fallen on a quantitative research for several reasons. p. Moreover. which is a quantitative approach. Qualitative research provides text as empirical material instead of numbers in case of quantitative research. the purpose of this research is to identify which out of the suggested factors as listed in engagement literature need to be improved in order to increase the engagement level of a rarely studied. In this situation. existing researchers’ studies and theories suggest a number of factors influencing the engagement. was chosen.

which was used as the main tool to search books. The reason for this is that brief. in this kind of situation it is appropriate to use questionnaires. which came from Saks (2006). which have been chosen for the investigation.2 Information gathering The theoretical part of the paper is based on findings from the engagement literature and previous research on engagement. p. 3. as a method for research. straightforward. suggestions have been narrowed down to the antecedents and drivers for engagement. standardized information was needed and the social climate was found to be open enough to allow full and honest answers. According to Denscombe (2001). It consists of theoretical analysis of the existing engagement literature and discussing the area of interest. “educational institution”. Karsan (2011). Kahn (1990). (2006.507). Hakanen et al. that provide the framework of what can enhance employee engagement. All twelve questions suggested by Gallup Q12 were used in Part I of the empirical research presented in this paper. (2004).al. Meaningful job 2. It provides access to Business Source Complete. 2010). magazine articles. Furthermore. Robinson et. Part II of the empirical research has been constructed on the basis of several models and theories. as well as their synonyms and combinations. Performance feedback 4. The thirteen factors. Development opportunities 42 . and research papers on the topic of employee engagement. The keywords. (2001). specially to be useful for managers in creating change within an organization (Bakker & Leiter. and Sonnentag (2003). Part I of the empirical research has been constructed based on The Gallup Q12 – a tool for measuring employee engagement. This tool has been tested for several decades in 112 countries. The main source for gathering information was ASB library’s database. The leading principal for the development of The Gallup Q12 is for it to be used as a managerial tool. Maslach et al. are: 1. Autonomy at work 3.Within the quantitative research approach a questionnaire method was found to be the most appropriate. used to find the relevant information were: “employee engagement”. which have been developed within the engagement literature. Ologbo and Saudah (2011). “administrative workers”.

Perceived organizational support 6. Johnsrud and Rosser (1999) showed that. Saks (2006). who did not find support for “supervisory support” to be an antecedent of the engagement. these are lack of feedback and autonomy. Furthermore. His research was based on Kahn’s (1990) and Maslach et. In his article. Therefore. Access to information 12. new research on employee engagement has emerged. Taking this into consideration. factors such as “perceived organizational support” and “perceived procedural justice” were also used in the investigation. Time to restore personal resources The composition of this list has started from the review of the article “Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement” written by Alan M. Nevertheless. Supervisory support 9. because Saks (2006) showed that they strengthen the employees’ feeling of safety.’s (2001) engagement models. (2006) found that “social support from colleagues” and “supervisory support” also have positive influence on engagement. Kahn (1990) states that meaningful job increases psychological meaningfulness for the employee and therefore increases engagement. since the time of Saks’ (2006) paper. Furthermore. Saks (2006) research of antecedents of engagement is limited. in educational organizations. Perceived procedural justice 7.5. Trustworthy leader 11. the factor “meaningful job” has been included in the list. administrative 43 .al. The “development opportunities” factor was taken from the study of Ologbo and Saudah (2011). these two factors were included in the list.’s (2001) models. Learning and development helps employees to maintain their job interest and therefore meaningfulness (Ologbo and Saudah. other factors have also been included in the list. Recent research conducted by Ologbo and Saudah (2011) and Hakanen et. 2011). But these results diverge from the results of the study conducted by Saks (2006). Social climate 10. as it was based solely on Kahn’s (1990) and Maslach et. The burnout literature states that specifically two out of five core job characteristics are consistently related to job burnout.al.al. Saks (2006) showed evidence that the job characteristics increase meaningfulness for the employee and are positively related to job engagement. Therefore. Social support from colleagues 8. which therefore increases their engagement.

“performance feedback” and “development opportunities” as they increase the job meaningfulness for the employee. 2. 2003). Therefore.workers’ moral has an influence on their perception and attitude to the job. According to Sonnentag (2003) it is important that after stressful working days employees have enough time to relax and restore their emotional and psychological resources. Safety: “perceived organizational support”. “autonomy at work”. and psychological availability. Another researcher showed that individuals that feel recovered after the working day show a higher level of engagement the next day (Sonnentag. “supervisory support”. (2006) and Ologbo and Saudah (2011) was not supported by Saks (2006) findings. “perceived procedural justice”. The “reward and recognition” factor suggested by Koyuncu et al. “social support from colleagues” and “supervisory support”.al. The “social climate” factor was taken from Hakanen et. which is necessary for further engagement. Based on this literature. may sometimes experience high levels. 44 . were grouped into three corresponding categories: 1. (2006) research. besides daily tiredness. “social support from colleagues”. relations with colleagues and supervisors. Meaningfulness: “meaningful job”. (2006) for further engagement and therefore was included in the list.al. in order to be ready for high performance the next day. “social climate”. of stress (for example during the exam periods). Kahn (1990) suggested that three psychological conditions serve as antecedents of personal engagement: psychological meaningfulness. in the list. own empirical research has been constructed. it was excluded from the list. The “Trustworthy leader” factor comes from Karsan’s (2011) suggestion that trust is important for building relationships. that presents factors which support engagement. The “access to information” factor was shown to be important by Hakanen et. Administrative workers. which requires more investigation. The same study pointed out that the morale of administrative workers in educational organizations is influenced by a number of factors. which were included in the list. Therefore the factors connected with personal availability were also considered as important for this investigation. it was decided to keep both of the factors. Being a questionable factor. Therefore. such as working atmosphere. psychological safety. Taking this into consideration factors. the “time to restore resources” factor was included in the list. as they showed that it predicts work engagement.

but important part of educational organizations’ staff. 2005). 2005). Low amounts of response can also be caused by the length of a questionnaire (Blumberg et al. specific measures were taken. which respondents read on their own (Blumberg et al. 2005). 3. ability to cover all participants and participants’ privacy and confidentiality is protected (Blumberg et al. To omit the likelihood of this situation. 1975). Availability: sufficient “time to restore personal resources”. To avoid this.. The disadvantage connected with the potential limited access (Blumberg et al. as they may be working under time constrains (Blumberg et al.. as it makes employee more physically. which contained a short introduction to the purpose of the research and the link. An advance notification by e-mail was sent prior to the research to all the respondents by the Head of Administration. 2005). 2005). Data collection The empirical part of this paper is based on the data collected through the survey.. The survey was intended to measure their engagement level and to find factors that need to be addressed in order to improve engagement. Another possible disadvantage of this method is a possible low rate of responses (Blumberg et al.3. It should be mentioned that preliminary notification and follow-ups are successful tools in increasing response rate (Kanuk and Berenson. The method of collecting this data was a self administered questionnaire. 2005) to the Internet was eliminated. where the on-line questionnaire could be found. The aim of the survey is to apply engagement theories on the rarely investigated yet. as all participants have convenient access to the Internet. Therefore the questionnaire was designed to be short and contain only the necessary for 45 .. a follow-up letter was sent reminding participants to complete the questionnaire... Questionnaires were sent via an e-mail.“trustworthy leader” and “access to information”. there is a potential for a respondent to set the questionnaire aside and forget to complete it. as they make employees feel safer at work during their job performance. 3. This tool does not require the presence of the researcher and it includes instructions how to fill in the questionnaire. which demonstrated his approval of the research and foretold that research would be conducted soon. emotionally and psychologically available to work. Due to the nature of their work. The advantages of this kind of survey are: low cost.

The second part of the questionnaire consist of 12 the antecedents and drivers for engagement. Economy and Study Administration departments. consist of two parts. 46 . which was delivered to the participants (enclosed in the Appendix 1). Part two is determined to find out the factors that need to be improved to increase engagement. They were also informed that it would not take a lot of their time to complete the questionnaire. of this 19 responses were received. Although. The questionnaire. which respondents also were required to rate on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. The questionnaire was sent to 25 administrative workers. of which 25 represent the administration. the questionnaire was translated back to English for the comparison and possible corrections. some minor misinterpretations could occur. 2006). The main reason for not including all subjects is that the cost is too high and the time it takes to curry out the research usually is too long (Ghauri & Grønhaug. Part one was based on The Gallup Q12 method for measuring employee engagement and consisted of 12 statements. Salary. in order to find out which of the factors require improvement. which respondents are asked to rate on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. Part one is determined to measure the level of the administrative workers engagement. it was decided to distribute the questionnaire to everyone. in order to get enough valuable and thorough results that describe the precise picture of engagement. Taking into consideration that the number of administrative workers is small. the questionnaire was translated into Danish. VUC Aarhus offers education to adults. According to Denscombe (2001). the questionnaire was translated by a native Danish speaker. The research subjects were administrative workers at the VUC Aarhus. Participants of the questionnaire were ensured that their responses were anonymous and confidential. Taking into consideration the difficulties with the English language among participants. To avoid this. There are currently approximately 270 employees at VUC Aarhus. To avoid double response. The research was conducted among the administrative employees from the Leader Secretary. the questionnaire was designed to allow only one response per computer. both at primary and high school levels.analysis questions. the question of the adequate number of research subjects does not have a straightforward answer and depends on the purpose of the research.

Therefore. engaged. This gave insight into the areas (meaningfulness. The second part will present the factors that need to be addressed in order to improve engagement. and help move their organization forward.4. as they don’t keep their unhappiness to themselves. The first step of the analysis was to calculate the individual engagement level of every employee. Features of Obsurvey. 4.com. Gallup (2006) suggests that all employees can be divided into 3 types: engaged. feel a profound connection to their company. Data analysis For the simplicity of the analysis coding of received answers was used. The factor with the lowest mean value was given the position number one and the following factors were given subsequent numbers. but not energy or passion to their work. Excel was used to conduct further analysis. Actively disengaged employees are the biggest concern for the organization. disengaged or highly disengaged. not engaged. Received responses were coded as following: “strongly disagree” = “1”. “agree” = “4”. Respondents who answered agree or strongly agree to the suggested Q12 questions belong to the engaged group. availability). The next step was to calculate the mean values of the antecedents of engagement. and to view report in a PDF or Excel format.com give the opportunity to download the answers in the form of charts and images. safety. This gave a better picture of the overall engagement level of employees in the organization. This ment calculating how many of employees were highly engaged. Results The results of the investigation will be discussed in two sections. and “strongly agree” = “5”. The first section will present the general level of administrative workers engagement at VUC Aarhus. They dedicate their time. Non-engaged employees are the ones who “sleepwalk” through the working day. not engaged and highly disengaged. 3.The on-line questionnaire was created with the help of obsurvey. “neutral” = “3”. which require the most improvement and specially which of these factors need to be improved in order to increase the employee engagement. “disagree” = “2”. Gallup (2006) describes engaged employees as the ones who work with passion. This tool collects answers and automatically generates a basic report. instead they 47 .

50 4. could be explained by the existence of highly engaged or highly disengaged employees.00 4.25 3.00 1.33 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color.73.50 3.42 3.50 2.83 4.25 3.58 3.33 3.58 3.08 4. which is the middle position of the engagement scale. The results of the questionnaire show that that the overall score of the employee engagement at VUC Aarhus is 3.00 4. The comparison with the world-class organizations and average rates (Gallup.50 1. it can be seen that the disposition of engagement at VUC Aarhus is closer to the average indicators.50 3.50 3.25 4. 2010) can be found on Figure 5.00 2. Values of individual employee engagement Individual employee engagement 5. Through this. The ranks of employee engagement are spread more on the middle part of the figure with only 7 employees reaching a score of 4 or slightly over. “no n engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) The results of the VUC Aarhus administrative workers engagement show that 12 employees were found as “not engaged” and 7 as “engaged”.00 3.58 3.spread it around. This means that improvement to the level of engagement can be applicable to all of the presented employees.67 3. which presents the ranks of the individual level of administrative workers’ engagement. Of course. Figure 4. which means that the employees are generally not engaged. their co-workers accomplished.33 4. undermining the results. 48 .00 3.25 4. the engagement score. However the Figure 4.00 4.17 3. shows that there are no highly engaged or highly disengaged employees.

53 (3) (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color.26 (2) 3.26 (9) 3.5 3 2.74 (5) 3.32 (10) 4. Figure 6.5 4 3.autonomy” and “3.meaningful job”.26 (2) 3.53 (3) 3.84 (7) 3.5 2 1.00 (8) 3.79 (6) 4. “no n engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) 49 . Mean Values and the disposition of ranks of antecedents of engagement Antecedents of Engagement 5 4.05 (1) 3.58 (4) 3.Figure 5. whereas most of the factors lie in the “not engaging” area.development opportunities” lie in the engaging area. Ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 26% 7% 67% 49% 18% 33% 37% Engaged Not Engaged Actively Disengaged 63% 0% On Figure 6 the disposition and ranks of the antecedents of engagement is shown.5 1 4. “2. Only three factors “1.

79).32 4. 2011). The broad disposition of ranks (see Appendix 2. This allows them to improve their knowledge and development new skills. The mean value of “2.79 4.development opportunities” (4.32) means that employees see their work as challenging. performance feedback 4. and when to start and finish the tasks (Salanova et.2 4 3.. 2006). 50 .6 3.development opportunities (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color and “no n engaged” area by yellow) The mean value of the factor “4.2 4. meaningfull job 2. Figure 7 shows the mean values of engaging factors belonging to meaningfulness. The only factor in this category in the “not engaging” zone is “3.feedback” (3.autonomy” (4.8 3. they can utilize their different skills and they have the opportunity to make an important contribution to the overall success of the organizational (Saks.26 3 1. 2005) Figure 7.4 4. The disposition of mean value of antecedents of engagement belonging to “meaningfulness” Meaningfulness 4.meaningful job” (4.4 3.1) shows that the level of feedback may differentiate from department to department. autonomy at work 3.00) means that employees choose which tasks to perform.00 3. depending on the supervisor.26) says that employees have enough access to learning programs.The three categories of antecedents of engagement can be analysed separately for deeper discussion. which helps them apply new methods to their daily tasks (Ologbo and Saudah. The relatively high mean value of the “1.al. the order in which they perform the tasks.

The disposition of mean value of antecedents of engagement belonging to “safety” Safety 3.26 3.perceived procedural justice” received the lowest value out of all antecedent of engagement (see Figure 6). 51 . it can be seen that only 4 employees find the allocation of rewards.3 3.74 3. however there are still some. Individual responses to the “5. Figure 8. Here you can see all of the presented factors lie in the “non-engaging zone”.58 3.9 3.84 3.2). 1990). Such consistency shows that workers generally do not perceive VUC Aarhus as a safe environment and they do not feel comfortable enough to employ their selves without fear of negative consequences for their image.7 2.5 3.74 shows that most of the respondents believe that the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being.7 3. who do not feel that their contribution is valued in the organization.26 3. Looking at the individual responses (see Appendix 2.05 3. resources etc.perceived organizational support” with the mean value of 3.Figure 8 shows the mean values of engaging factors belonging to safety. at work as fair.5 3.9 2.1 2.53 (For the better visualization on this figure the “non engaged” area is presented by yellow color) Factor “6. status or career (Kahn.

5) show that most employees feel positive. Both factor “7.3). Individual responses (see Appendix 2..social support from colleagues” has the higher mean value of 3. it can be said that nearly all employees feel as they are part of the group and can receive help from co-workers if needed.supervisory support” with a mean value of 3. If you take a look at the individual responses (see Appendix 2. “8. As supervisors are seen as organizational agents (Eisenberger et. because they do not see the leadership as being reliable (Ologbo and Saudah. may not be satisfied with the contribution of supervisors to the social climate.26 is the second lowest one out of the list (see Figure 6). Lack of trust in organizational leadership may partially explain the lack of trust in procedural justice. as leader are the ones who decide which tools to use and how to use them. such a difference in responses may be explained by different working styles of department leaders. Consequently. The big difference in responses may be explained by the individual characteristics of respondents. Factor “11. This demonstrates that a percentage of employees do not have confidence in their organization.53 and shows that individual responses were split (see Appendix 2.trust in senior leader” has a mean value of 3.26 (see Figure 6). 52 .supervisory support”.6).7) show the respondents’ opinions differ markedly on this topic. Social support from colleagues” and “8.access to information” has one of the lowest mean values of 3.supervisory support” contribute to factor “9. Individual responses (see Appendix 2. some employees may be less open for contact with others. respondents who places a low value here. The next factor “8.social climate” with an average value of 3. The factor “10. al.4). If we take into consideration the previous factor. 2011). low levels of supervisory support may partially explain the low evaluation of perceived organizational support. Taking a look at the individual responses (see Appendix 2.58.Factor “7.84 in the “Safety” group (see Figure 8). 1986). one can see that opinions are split. however most of the employees do not receive enough support and appreciation from their supervisors. comfortable and relaxed at work.

Therefore. valuable and see the returns on their self investment. Time to restore personal resources (For the better visualization on this figure the “not engaged” area is presented by area by yellow color and “disengaged” by red) The level of personal availability was measured by the time employees have to restore their resources (Figure 9). department 53 . 1999).5 2 1. While giving performance feedback. The mean value of 3. 2010).5 1 11. Instead of criticizing.8). The disposition of mean values of antecedents of engagement belonging to “availability” Availability 3.53 3. useful.5 3 2. according to Rosser (2000) they seek recognition in performance feedback instead. Relatively high scores on factors belonging to employees feeling of meaningfulness. Administrative workers in educational organizations rarely have the chance to contribute to the decision making processes and therefore may feel unrecognized and invisible (Johnsrud and Rosser. Attridge (1999) recommends concentrating on positive sides of the performance. show that workers feel worthwhile. Therefore.Figure 9. point out areas that the HR manager and department leaders of VUC Aarhus should take better care of to improve the existing non-engaging situation. department leaders should pay more attention to this factor. The only non-engaging factor in this category is “3.53 and the disposition of individual responses (see Appendix 2.Recommendations The findings of this investigation. it should be their daily managerial task (Mone & London. how well employee has performed and input in achieving the outcome. 5.performance feedback”. show that not all employees are ready for high performance the next day. as they do not get asufficient amount of rest at home.

while dealing with stressful situation etc. For example. Employees evaluate the support they receive from their organization and decide whether or not to engage in relation to the resources they receive from the organization (Saks. be in the form of a shared e-mail. the results of the investigation show that VUC Aarhus should direct most of its attention towards increasing the employees feeling of safety. Eisenberger et. Rhoades et al.leaders should suggest behaviors that can be changed to improve future performance (Attridge. VUC Aarhus should discover the areas where employees need help. However. either in conversation after an important event or in passing conversation. In the situation when the supervisor does not give direct feedback. which will make them more engaged and improve their performance. 2010).. such as year-end performance appraisal. employees do not always interpret these signals correctly.al. informal feedback. This signals that the department leader and organization as a whole values and appreciates its workers. and Eisenberger. Eisenberger et. Furthermore. 2006. it is the leaders’ task to provide employees with effective feedback. employees are still trying to collect it indirectly through the feeling how the leader treats them and the assignment he/she gives (Mone & London. Therefore. Glen Hallam (1996) suggests measures organizations. supervisory support was found to be the second strongest association with POS after fairness of treatment (Rhoades. According to Mone and London (2010) effective feedback should be easily understood and clear. can take to improve the employees’ perception of support.al. (1986) and Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) agree that employees perceive supervisors as being organizational agents. Furthermore. related to their work life. 2010). with the help of department leaders. for example. Besides formal feedback. This can. 1999. Therefore. the support of department leaders plays an important role in shaping a favorable employees’ perception the organizational support. 2010). 2001). congratulating an employee with his/her accomplishments. supervisors should ensure that employees understand the organizational mission. It should be on a regular basis and it is better to give feedback sooner rather than later. as all factors in this category have non-engaging mean values. they get the required information to do their job successfully and that employees have support. It is also important to document and publicize the success of employees. (1986) have other suggestion on 54 . which can take place at any time. while the issue is still fresh in the minds of both the supervisor and the employee. Mone & London. should be conducted at least quarterly (Mone & London. 2002).

VUC Aarhus should be more accurate and transparent in choosing procedures and policies regarding resource distribution. 2011). for employees to feel more comfortable and trusting. Glen Hallam (1996) has some recommendations regarding the sharing of information. as department leaders are the ones to enact procedures regarding employees. 2011). They also state that more personalized praise is more rewarding than a “one size fits all”. which will help them both to satisfy their need to belong and to achieve work related goals. Leaders should be consistent in what they say and do. This includes clarifications and performance feedback from their supervisor (Ologbo and Saudah. After meetings. Mone and London (2010) recommends steps for supervisors to build employees’ trust. VUC Aarhus and department leaders specifically. Not only organizational trust needs to be improved in VUC Aarhus. Relatively high mean value on “2.autonomy at works”. Department leaders should give employees achievable goals and negotiate the resources they need to achieve those goals. who were not able to attend. Besides facilitating a good working culture. Increasing the employees’ trust of supervisors may also improve their perception of organization fairness. should support employees by helping each other learn new approaches and ways of accomplishing tasks (Ologbo and Saudah. 2006). Employees do not have enough confidence in their department leaders as well. and demonstrate predictable patterns of behavior. 2002). Delivering feedback is a sensitive moment and being constructive. shows that supervisors are confident in their employees. therefore leaders should continue to show that they are comfortable relying on the employees. Procedural justice also contributes to POS (Rhoades and Eisenberger. Employees need to have access to information. which can help them accomplish their tasks successfully (Hakanen et al. department leaders should also support positive social interaction between employees. VUC Aarhus should also provide employees with information about what is going on in the organization. 55 . Therefore.how to improve organizational support. They state that POS could be improved through material and symbolic rewards.. makes employees more comfortable to discuss their performance and therefore to trust their leader. Employees need to know who knows what and who they can contact if they need extra information. minutes should be taken and delivered to all the employees. and using the above stated recommendations regarding feedback.

the questionnaire was translated by a native Danish speaker. Firstly. the empirical part of the research has a limited generalization. Furthermore. 2006). 56 . which should be noted. as the level of engagement varies geographically (Seijts & Crim. Secondly. as the knowledge regarding the specific drivers of engagement for this group of employees is limited. there is a risk that some important drivers were not included in the list. The presented analysis and following recommendations are based solely on responses from 19 out of the 25 employees. It is hard to give recommendations to VUC Aarhus regarding this issue. Therefore. Thirdly. The list of twelve factors was made on the basis of the existing engagement literature with attempt to include factors specially important for administrative workers in educational institutions. the level of engagement employees have shown in this study might not be true for the educational organizations of the similar size in other countries. it cannot influence the employees’ activities and the level of preoccupation outside of work hours. Finally. Although. limitation is related to the list of chosen antecedents of engagement. the 6 missing responses could change the results from the survey and respectively the recommendations. the questionnaire was designed in English and subsequently translated into Danish. because as an organization.Limitations This research has a number of significant limitations. 2012). some minor misinterpretations could occur. a possible limitation is the representativeness of the sample. 6. Strictly speaking.Results also show that not all employees have a sufficient amount of time to restore their inner resources to be ready for high performance at work. the level of engagement that the respondents indicate might not correspond to the engagement level of another educational organization of a different size. The list appears to cover the most important antecedents of engagement. However. it should be noted that the recommendations should be perceived with caution. Therefore. Researchers have shown that the level of engagement depends on the size of the organization (Temkin.

Further research It is recognizable that the sample of employees presented in the study is too small to make generalizations and recommendations for other organizations. Department leaders need to demonstrate a higher level of support in work related situations. Supervisors should also be more accurate and transparent in the decision making regarding employees and provide employees with the necessary work related information. Therefore. department leaders need to increase the level of the employees trust towards them personally and consequentially towards organization. that they have a sufficient amount of autonomy and the opportunity for development. This means that managers need to change the frequency and the manner in which they deliver performance feedback. safety and availability. as organization with the help of department leaders. According to Kahn (1990). Furthermore. In order to increase the employees feeling of safety. being an organizational agent. employee engagement is influenced by three conditions: meaningfulness. results of the investigation identified the areas and specific factors that VUC Aarhus. The amount of organizational support is perceived by employees through organizational leadership. Furthermore.Conclusion The present research has applied engagement theory on the rarely investigated group of employees and examined the engagement of administrative employees in VUC Aarhus. further 57 . Results of the study have shown that administrative employees within the organization are generally not engaged. and to make it part of their daily managerial tasks. The aim was to measure the engagement level of employees and to identify the factors that need to be improved to increase the level of engagement. Results have shown that employees perceive their job as meaningful. 8. Therefore. results show that all of the factors corresponding to the employees’ ability to employ themselves without fear of negative consequences are lying in the “not engaging” area.performance feedback”. they also need to show that they care about their employees personally. Therefore. they need to create and support a relaxed atmosphere at work. The only factor in the meaningful category which lies in the non-engaging zone is “3. need to improve.7. where positive social and work related interaction between employees could take place. VUC Aarhus as an organization should show that it cares about each individual employee and that they are willing to help them perform their day-to-day tasks successfully.

It might be useful for further research to investigate the factors that have the highest influence on the engagement of administrative workers in educational organizations. 2008) and there has been no national study on this topic. Finally. who just entered the market. 2010).studies should include a larger sample of employees. it is reasonable to assume that other organizations would like to improve on the performance of their employees and therefore know how to engage their employees in the most efficient way. research could investigate if the type of educational organization has an influence on worker engagement. It could also show whether there is a gender difference in antecedents of engagement. Future research could investigate the change in perception of engagement factors with age. and those closer to retirement would be more engaged by social climate. Hermsen & Rosser.i. It appeared that much of the literature and research on administrative workers in educational organizations has been a case study (e. Therefore. studies should try to cover a larger geographical area and to compare the results received from different countries and educational organizations of a different size. The literature on career progression suggests that the employees perceptions of work develops over time. In this manner organizations will know in which areas to concentrate their efforts. would be more engaged through development and promotion opportunities. to be able to give specific recommendations to organizations. Bright. or community college) have a different level of moral (Johnsrud and Rosser. further research should also conduct investigations within specific groups of employees. Existing research show that administrative workers from different institutional types (research. employees may look for different things from their work (e. 1999).i. Jurkiewicz & Brown 1998. and with age and more job tenure. Therefore. baccalaureate. 58 . It would be interesting to learn whether engaging factors change with age and tenure. This will ensure a broad spectrum of respondents and show how the geographical location and size of an educational organization influences the engagement. The investigation could include the possible differences in the factors that drive engagement between male and female. Potentially employees. In the future. Future research could include observations regarding how fast the level of engagement changes after the measures to increase engagement were implemented.

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Appendix 1. Questionnaire (English version) i .

(Danish version) ii .

iii .

iv .

“not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) 2. 2. 3.Appendix 2. I receive feedback about my performance at work 10 8 6 4 2 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree highly agree 0 1 6 4 8 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. Mean values of individual responses. I perceive VUC being fair in the processes that resolve disputes and allocate resources? 15 10 5 0 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree highly agree 3 4 0 12 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. 5. The disposition of individual responses regarding procedural justice. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) v .1 The disposition of individual responses regarding performance feedback.2.

I get high level of social support from colleagues 20 15 15 10 5 0 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree highly agree 1 2 1 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) 2. I get hight level of social support from supervisors 10 8 6 4 2 2 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree highly agree 1 2 5 9 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. 8. The disposition of individual responses regarding supervisory support.4.3. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) vi .2. 7. The disposition of individual responses regarding social support from colleagues.

I trust my senior leader 8 7 6 6 7 5 4 3 2 1 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree highly agree 0 3 3 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) vii . The workplace climate is emotionally positive. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) 2. comfortable and relaxed 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree highly agree 0 4 2 2 11 (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. 9.5 The disposition of individual responses regarding social climate.6.2. 10. The disposition of individual responses regarding trustworthy leader.

2. I have enough time at home to relax after the working day 10 8 6 4 2 0 8 5 1 highly disagree 2 3 disagree neutral agree highly agree (For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. 11. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) viii .7 The disposition of individual responses regarding information accessibility. I think that the management shares enough job-related information with the personnel in your organization 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 9 6 4 0 highly disagree disagree neutral agree 0 highly agree ((For the better visualization on this figure the “engaged” area is presented by green color. “not engaged” area by yellow and “disengaged” by red) 2.8 The disposition of individual responses regarding availability. 12.