Chapter 1: The promise of engagement
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In this introductory chapter, we note that the concept of employee engagement has captured the attention of both the academic and practitioner communities over the last few decades. This is due in large measure to the ‘promise’ of improved competitive advantage for organizations and greater well-being of their employees. We begin with a discussion of the meaning of engagement and then provide a brief summary of theoretical developments and research findings to date. This sets the stage for an overview of the chapters to follow and an introduction to the future of engagement research. In these chapters, our expert authors discuss different ways that the traditional perspectives on engagement might be expanded, how the concept of engagement might be (re)conceptualized in the changing world of work, and the various research strategies available to pursue a new research agenda. This chapter, like the book, is future focused with an emphasis not only on what we know about engagement, but also on what we need to know in the changing world of work, and how we might best fill those knowledge gaps.

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