Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 24: Engaging HR Strategists: Do the Logics Match the Realities?
Paul Sparrow and Shashi Balain Introduction Our fundamental purpose in this chapter is to deconstruct the ideas behind engagement, and then put them back together again in to what we believe is a better human resources (HR) strategy, and one that will endure for several years to come. Specifically, we: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● present three ways in which engagement thinking is typically used by organizations; review what is meant by engagement in the practitioner and academic literature, noting that it is generally treated as an attitude; review evidence on the causes and consequences of engagement; ask whether, given its complexity and the existence of different employee segments, engagement can reasonably be managed; argue that it can be, but to do so needs the HR profession to much better understand the complexity of service models and the operational performance recipes that exist; argue that engagement is itself an outcome (that results in other outcomes such as satisfaction and commitment); and conclude that our understanding about engagement has advanced sufficiently now for organizations to identify what it is they want people to engage with. We develop the construct of performance beliefs to do this. Three strategic uses of engagement Our research inside organizations in the UK (Balain & Sparrow, 2009) shows that there are three streams of management thinking that have led to the importance of employee engagement as both an idea, and as a basis for HR strategy. The first stream of engagement thinking is focused on internal marketing. The underpinning HR strategy targets specific...
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