Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 7: Measuring Change: Does Engagement Flourish, Fade, or Stay True?
Helena D. Cooper-Thomas, Nicola Leighton, Jessica Xu and Neal Knight-Turvey* Introduction: how is employee engagement used? Employee engagement has emerged as a useful, practical construct, with many organizations keen to measure and benchmark their employees’ level of engagement. A variety of engagement measures exist, and these overlap in their core elements of “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort, and energy” (Macey & Schneider, 2008, p. 4). These measures help provide answers to a number of questions that employers, managers, and Human Resources have about whether employee engagement is flourishing or fading in their organizations. Questions include: (1) How engaged are my employees? (2) Are there specific areas that I should work on to increase engagement? (3) Are my employees showing changes in engagement over time? (4) Are there differences in employee engagement across departments in my organization? And (5) how does my organization compare with other organizations in this industry? Many consultancies and survey organizations have engagement measures which they use to provide answers to such questions. Typically, the same engagement measure is used with all clients, enabling the comparative analyses that provide answers to questions about changes and differences across groups and time (as in (3), (4), and (5) above). Analyses usually involve direct comparisons of the measures, for example, comparing the difference between the mean engagement scores of two departments using a t-test. This implicitly assumes that the underlying survey instrument is stable, yet this assumption of stability may be mistaken. In this chapter, we argue that researchers should...
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