What does engagement really mean?

Research Briefing

Keywords: engagement, engagement work, performance, task performance, personal engagement, work engagement, job engagement

An area of increasing interest, both within organisations and research, is that of engagement work. However, when you start to delve into what people mean by engagement, you get a range of different answers. Katz and Kahn first coined the phrase ‘work engagement’ in 1978 and they framed it as an ‘attachment of oneself with one’s role’. However, as researchers and practitioners started to become interested in engagement work, three major understandings about engagement have emerged:

  1. Personal or psychological engagement
  2. Engagement with a job or a role, and
  3. Engagement with work as a general concept.

A new (2018) study looking to create an empirical classification of engagement work has made a spirited attempt to work out scientifically what factors are involved in engagement.

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