A Research Agenda for Employee Engagement in a Changing World of Work
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A Research Agenda for Employee Engagement in a Changing World of Work

Edited by John P. Meyer and Benjamin Schneider

This insightful Research Agenda presents the foundations of employee engagement, providing a framework for future research to serve as an evidence-based guide to practice. Offering an overview of contemporary engagement theory and research, it addresses important new directions for expanding our current understanding of the meaning, focus, development and outcomes of engagement. 
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Chapter 11: Qualitative methods in engagement research

William H. Macey


The roots of the engagement construct are traced to the initial work of Kahn (1990) who provided a detailed framework of the psychological conditions underlying the investment of physical, emotional, and cognitive energy at work. After highlighting the specific features of Kahn’s inductive approach, qualitative methods common to engagement-related research are discussed. Here the emphasis is on the benefits and drawbacks of each, including interviews, focus groups, surveys, and diaries. Specific attention is given to thematic analysis as the dominant form of data interpretation emerging from such research. Examples of qualitative engagement-related research are discussed with particular emphasis on the episodic nature of engagement. Finally, specific elements of an engagement research agenda in the new employment context are provided.

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