Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 4: Job Attitudes and Employee Engagement: Considering the Attitude “A-factor”
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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