Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 8: “Engage Me Once Again”: Is Employee Engagement for Real, or is it “Same Lady – Different Dress”?
Lior M. Schohat and Eran Vigoda-Gadot Introduction: evolution of the person–organization relationship The implied understandings between employees and organizations, frequently referred to as “the (old) psychological contract”, have changed drastically over the decades. It can be argued that, since the 1990s, there has been a mutual reduction of loyalty and a decrease in employee commitment to both work and organizations. This shift can be attributed to two major trends which reinforce and complement each other, making it difficult to determine what changed first. The first trend is the change in the employment paradigm of modern corporations. Organizations require greater flexibility in hiring and firing, and need their employee pool to expand or shrink according to their current needs and according to the rules of the market. Managing vested employees or those seeking one employer for life challenged the ability of human resources (HR) to constantly adjust the size of the workforce to the tune of strategic and operational needs (O’Reilly & Pfeffer, 2000; Ulrich & Brockbank, 2005; Boudreau & Ramstad, 2007). The second trend is the change in the value system that contemporary employees exhibit. After many years of distinct preference for security and stable employment (which usually resulted in very long careers within a single company), employees gradually appreciated other psychological incomes over occupational stability. Nowadays, employees prefer to establish a different dialogue with the organizational systems in which they are living and working because of – among others – a move from institutional to self-reliance (Hall, 1986, 1996; London. & Stumpf, 1986) that...
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