Handbook of Employee Engagement
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Handbook of Employee Engagement

Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice

Edited by Simon L. Albrecht

The Handbook presents comprehensive and global perspectives to help researchers and practitioners identify, understand, evaluate and apply the key theories, models, measures and interventions associated with employee engagement. It provides many new insights, practical applications and areas for future research. It will serve as an important platform for ongoing research and practice on employee engagement.
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Chapter 4: Job Attitudes and Employee Engagement: Considering the Attitude “A-factor”

Daniel A. Newman, Dana L. Joseph and Charles L. Hulin


Daniel A. Newman, Dana L. Joseph and Charles L. Hulin* Introduction The employee engagement concept has faced scrutiny due to its nearredundancy with three classic job attitudes – job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and job involvement (Harter & Schmidt, 2008; Macey & Schneider, 2008; Newman & Harrison, 2008). We address this scrutiny in four steps. First, we distinguish the commonly-used attitudinal engagement construct (for example, Schaufeli & Bakker, 2003) from the less-well-known behavioral engagement construct (Harrison et al., 2006). Second, we present a higher-order attitude factor, or “A-factor”, that underlies job satisfaction, affective commitment, and job involvement. Third, we conceptually and meta-analytically review the strong overlaps between this higher-order attitude factor and attitudinal employee engagement to show that engagement correlates r = 0.77 with the A-factor (that is, typical engagement measures are essentially redundant with the higher-order A-factor of job satisfaction, affective commitment, and job involvement). Finally, we use meta-analysis to extend Harrison et al.’s (2006) attitude–engagement model, showing that the A-factor robustly predicts a broad criterion of behavioral engagement (r = 0.51). We argue that the similarity between attitudinal employee engagement and the job attitude A-factor is a strength of engagement research and not a limitation; the overlap suggests the utility of attitudinal employee engagement (also called “state engagement” by Macey & Schneider, 2008) as a powerful predictor of a general work-behavior construct. At the same time, the substantial overlap suggests that little new is being brought to the table by engagement researchers; the “engagement” labeling of the general attitude factor is unlikely to lead to new...

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