ArticlePDF Available

Can Corporate Sustainability Influence Employee Engagement?

Authors:

Abstract

The global financial meltdown of 2008 has left many developing countries still trying to rebuild their economies and their labour forces. The aftermaths of the recession have inspired more businesses to incorporate sustainability into their business strategies. The sluggish growth, low productivity and other social, environmental and organizational factors have had an effect on the workforce. The unprecedented effects and outcome of disengagement worldwide have called leaders to find various initiatives to improve employee engagement. Rabid competition, coupled with the global figures of employee engagement has continued to attract both scholars and industry. The arguments put forward in this conceptual paper is meant to generate awareness as well as inspire further research into understanding how corporate sustainability might influence engagement of employees.
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
284
Can Corporate Sustainability Influence Employee
Engagement?
Georgia Simon (Corresponding author)
School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Wuhan, China
Erhua Zhou (Iris)
School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Wuhan, China
Received: April 19, 2018 Accepted: May 7, 2018 Online published: May 8, 2018
doi:10.5296/ijhrs.v8i2.13111 URL: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijhrs.v8i2.13111
Abstract
The global financial meltdown of 2008 has left many developing countries still trying to
rebuild their economies and their labour forces. The aftermaths of the recession have inspired
more businesses to incorporate sustainability into their business strategies. The sluggish
growth, low productivity and other social, environmental and organizational factors have had
an effect on the workforce. The unprecedented effects and outcome of disengagement
worldwide have called leaders to find various initiatives to improve employee engagement.
Rabid competition, coupled with the global figures of employee engagement has continued to
attract both scholars and industry. The arguments put forward in this conceptual paper is
meant to generate awareness as well as inspire further research into understanding how
corporate sustainability might influence engagement of employees.
Keywords: corporate sustainability, employee engagement, strategic human resource
management
1. Introduction
In a rabidly competitive global environment, accomplishing competitive advantage through
an engaged workforce is the desire of organizational leaders. Employee Engagement (EE) has
been found to have significance to employee and business level outcomes (Harter, Schmidt,
& Hayes, 2002). The outcome of EE is valuable to organizations because of its value to
bottom line outcomes (Harter et al, 2002). Consequently, EE is among the most researched
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
285
organizational concepts of the last three decades, and have continued to attract interest
theoretically and empirically among scholars and industry practitioners (Biro, 2013; Saks &
Gruman, 2014).
The focus of many of these studies have been influenced by the positive research outcomes
and can be traced back to the early work of William Kahn in 1990, where he developed his
engagement framework from examining the personal engagement levels of summer camp
workers. Employee Engagement as defined by Kahn, is described as “the harnessing of
organization member selves to their work roles; in engagement people employ and express
themselves physically, cognitively , and emotionally during role performances” (Kahn, 1990).
In fact, Kahn’s work is widely known and accepted as the pioneering foundation of theorizing
and subsequently defining the employee engagement construct.
Importantly, various scholars have since advanced the work of Kahn (Bakker & Demerouti,
2008; Maslach & Leiter, 2001; May et al., 2004; Saks, 2006; Schaufeli et al., 2008), among
which many have even challenged his findings to extend their own theorization (Bakker &
Demerouti, 2007; Maslach et al., 2001; Schaufeli et al., 2008). Since then, various definitions,
conceptualizations and measure have been forwarded in understanding the mechanisms that
influence an employee to employ their discretionary effort to engage. Additionally, past
proponents have found drivers and consequences of EE (Saks, 2006; Wollard & Shuck, 2011).
However, to date the construct still suffers from construct ambiguity, especially due to its
conceptualization and measure, between academia and the practitioner domain. Consequently,
this has contributed to the current diffusion, where other researchers have now argued that EE
is a passing fad (Wollard & Shuck, 2011), elusive construct (Saks, 2006) and a concept that
should be ignored (Purcell, 2014).
Nonetheless, despite these assertions, due to the positive organizational outcome and the
employee bahaviours that produce engagement, EE remains a construct worthy of further
elucidation. In fact, it has been found that due to the dynamic nature of EE, drivers of EE are
constantly changing. Therefore what will engage an employee may change tomorrow (Simon
& Zhou, 2017). Accordingly, this has led some researchers to conceptualize EE as a
multi-dimensional construct (Crawford, 2014; Saks, 2006). Furthermore, the argument on the
multi-dimensionality and the current diffusion has influenced recent research to recommend
future researchers to investigate EE with other organizational constructs (Saks & Gruman,
2014).
1.1 Importance of Sustainability
The concept of sustainability has emerged as one of the most talked about research topics for
this decade. Its far reaching impact and relevance have made sustainability a multi-discipline
and multi-dimensional concept which has attained diverse meanings and interpretations over
the past 30 years since its introduction in the Brundtland Report (1987). Corporate
Sustainability (CS) is often used interchangeably with corporate social responsibility (CSR)
which is defined as context-specific organizational actions and policies that take into
account stakeholders’ expectations and the triple bottom line of economic, social, and
environmental performance” (Aguinis, 2011). However, corporate sustainability is described
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
286
as “a company that seeks to create long-term value to stakeholders by embracing the
opportunities and managing risks that result from balancing economic, environmental, and
social responsibility (Lazlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). Arguably, most organizations are highly
driven by social and ethical responsibilities, and as such majority of the studies on CS
examined its macro impact on the organization (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012).
In fact, most studies have examined corporate sustainability as either the independent or
dependent variable and at different levels of analysis (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012; D’Aprile &
Talo, 2015; Jones, Selby, & Sterling, 2010; Kolodinsky, Madden, Zisk, & Henkel, 2010). In
fact, quite a number of past researches on the construct have focused mainly on the
environmental dimensions of the construct, with less on the organizational business aspect.
This has led to the diffusion of its conceptualization in organizational studies and a failure to
embody the holistic aspect of sustainability (Glavas & Piderit, 2009; Sharpely, 2000). Though
quite distinct from CSR, CS embodies similar characteristics as those in CSR, specifically
concerning the social, environmental and economic factors.
Furthermore, due to an organizational role in a society’s socio-economic development, the
impact of CS can have far-reaching impact on competitive advantage and other
socio-economical outcomes (Renwick, Redman, & Maguire, 2012). Furthermore,
organizations such as banks and other corporate entities are particularly interested in the
aspect of shareholder value and competitive advantage (Lo & Sheu, 2010). Moreover, more
and more studies have alluded to the fact that there might be more to the concept, and that
employees perception of CS in the organization could in fact influence their extra role
behaviour (Farooq et al, 2016), job satisfaction (Dhonesh, 2014), well-being and feeling of
meaningfulness (Glavas, 2014) or their engagement (Glavas & Piderit, 2009) among other
attitudinal and behavioural outcomes. Arguably, since studies on the specific impact of CS of
employee engagement are unclear (Glavas & Piderit, 2009), and further challenging due to its
multi-discipline application (Bansal & Song, 2017). Accordingly, it has been theorized that
the aspects of CS such as the social, environmental, and economic factors could be the driver
influencing an employee’s discretionary behaviour (Belschak et al., 2015). Similar studies
have highlighted the impact of CSR and sustainability factors on job satisfaction (Glavas &
Kelley, 2014), meaningfulness (Rosso, Dekas, & Wrzesniewski, 2010), and organization
citizenship behaviour (Lee & Kim, 2015; Rupp, Shao, Thornton, & Skarlicki,
2013).Furthermore, increasing studies are being undertaken by various discipline to increase
the academic as well as organizational scope (Morgeson, Aguinis, Waldman, & Siegel, 2013).
Additionally, past studies have identified several antecedents and drivers of employee
engagement (Saks, 2006; Shuck, 2011), and many other drivers of the concept are still
unknown. Accordingly, this presents a gap on the specific mechanism at play in the CS and
EE relationship (Glavas, 2012), and as such this study will contribute to expanding
knowledge in the sustainability and engagement literature.
1.2 Employee Engagement as a Business Imperative
Employee engagement has emerged a significant factor in business sustainability for the last
two decades. The outcome of EE have attracted organizational leaders, and have become a
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
287
major business imperative. Recent studies have asserted that employees are seeking to find
meaning and fulfillment at work, and as such employees of organizations that engage in
sustainability or corporate social responsibility initiative have shown significance to the
behaviour, and may contribute to employee engagement (Glavas, 2011). Even though it has
been cited that only a few studies have considered EE as an outcome of CSR (Albdour &
Altarawneh, 2012), others have pointed to the relatedness of the construct on employee
behaviour and EE (D’Aprile & Talo, 2015; Rupp et al., 2013). In fact, most of the previous
studies concentrated on the construct as either the predictor or outcome variable, and at the
macro level of analysis (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012; Jones et al., 2010). This has made way for
further enquiry at the micro level of analysis, and from the perspective of the employees.
Furthermore, studies that have investigated the effects of sustainability on employee
behaviour have found that sustainability have contributed to various behavioural outcome
such as organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB), job satisfaction and other factors similar
to the drivers of EE (Caligiuri, Mencin, & Jiang, 2013; Podsakoff, McKenzie, Lee, &
Podsakoff, 2009; Rupp & Mallory, 2015). In fact, the arguments put forward in this review
are influenced by past studies and premised on the findings which have demonstrated the
various impact of CS on employees’ behaviour and the employees’ perception of its
relatedness to their engagement. Furthermore, past proponents have argued that organizations
should consider incorporating sustainability to other aspects of the organization, as past
studies have focused mostly on the organization rather than the individuals (Aguinis &
Glavas, 2012; Carvalho & Rabechini Junior, 2011). The study supports this assertion, and
proposes that CS be incorporated as a strategic business imperative (Garcia-Castro et al.,
2010; Pojasek, 2007).Arguably, the dynamism involved in engaging employees require
constant innovation and readjustments of previous ideologies. In fact, the number of studies
on the drivers and outcome of EE are many (Macey & Schneider, 2008; Saks, 2006; Wollard
& Shuck, 2011). However, the changing pace of the global workforce, and its subsequent
impact of human behaviour have influenced the shifting of the metaphoric goal post of
employee engagement, and employee engagement may fluctuate(Bakker, 2014), as EE is not
consistent and the influencers means different things to different people (Simon & Zhou,
2017) . Nonetheless, corporate sustainability may provide another level of explanation on the
other factors influencing EE which may contribute significantly to the broader knowledge on
the concept as well as to an organizations competitive advantage.
2. The Corporate Sustainability and Employee Engagement Relationship
2.1 Influence on Corporate Sustainability on Employee Engagement
As noted by past research, many of the studies on CS had to do with the financial outcomes
of CS on the organization (Lo & Sheu, 2010). Since corporate sustainability is similar to
corporate social responsibility, certain aspects of the concept have theoretical overlap and
present diffusion in conceptualization. However, CS is conceptually different from corporate
social responsibility (Smith, 2011). Notwithstanding, the diffusion the outcome of both
concept has great significance to business outcomes (Lazlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). Due to
the multi-dimensional aspect of the construct, it is often challenged by a theoretical basis
(Bansal & Song, 2017). However, most past research has used the social identity theory
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
288
(Hogg & Terry, 2000; Hogg, 2016) as the theoretical framework for sustainability (Bramer et
al., 2007). They opine that employee’s moral identity (Rupp et al., 2013) and desire to find
meaningfulness in their work (Rosso et al., 2010) may contribute to their engagement
(Aguinis & Glavas, 2013; Glavas & Piderit, 2009). Social identity theory implies that the
more an employee perceive their organization to be involved in sustainability, the more likely
they will feel a positive attitude towards the organization which may influence their
behaviour (Jones et al., 2010; Rupp et al., 2013).Furthermore, it was found that employees’
attribute different motives of their organization’s sustainability efforts and these motives
influence employee performance (Story & Neves, 2017) e.g. When employees perceive that
their organization investment in a sustainability initiative or practices that are both intrinsic
and extrinsic, they too will be prone to employing their discretionary effort to their work.
2.2 Gap in Research Pertaining to Corporate Sustainability Effect on Employee Engagement
A study done by Glavas (2016) highlighted that a gap exists in the understanding of how
corporate sustainability (CS) impacts employee engagement (EE). To date other studies have
contributed various theories and proposed conclusions about the relationship (Glavas &
Piderit, 2009; Morgeson et al., 2013; Rupp, 2013). However, there is a significant dissonance
in the understanding of the specific mechanisms in the construct which influences employees’
behaviour (Glavas & Piderit, 2009; Rupp & Mallory, 2015).In light of this , past proponent
have alluded to the moral nature of the construct, and opine that people feel a moral pride,
and sense of meaning to their job and organization when involved in sustainability practices
(Glavas, 2014) .Furthermore, it was found that the perception of sustainability tend to trigger
multiple behaviour in individuals. Similar studies have found significance between perceived
CSR and employee identity (Jones, 2010), job satisfaction (Glavas & Kelley, 2014),
meaningfulness (Rosso et al., 2010) and organizational citizen behaviour (Lee & Kim, 2015).
Additionally, it has been opined that employees’ positive behaviour is increased as a result of
their identification of their organization’s corporate social responsibility (Farooq et al., 2017;
Shen & Benson, 2016).
3. Practical and Theoretical Implications
3.1 Implications for Practice
Understanding the role and impact of Engagement on the overall organizational success is
required for business longevity. If corporate sustainability can be positively linked to
employee engagement and other positive organizational outcomes, then it would be indicative
of organizations to use it as a Strategic HRM tool for engagement.
Both corporate sustainability and employee engagement can contribute to profitability and
increased shareholder value (Glavas & Godwin, 2016; Lazlo & Zhexembayeva, 2011). Hence,
organizations should invest in more studies that will enhance their understanding of the
concepts, so that they will have the right understanding and consequently know how to
sustain engagement levels among employees. Additionally, given the worldwide focus and
attention on sustainability, it is incumbent on leaders to facilitate and educate employees on
the far reaching impact of sustainability beyond the business scope. Sustainability awareness
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
289
and practice is the step in the right direction to ensuring a better world to live and work in,
and organizations that are aware of this, are likely ahead of their competitors in attaining
competitive advantage.
3.2 Implications for Theory
The argument put forward in this paper is significant to theory by providing an enhanced
framework for the existing literature on these constructs. Understanding the relationship
between CS and EE would add significant knowledge to academic and industry literature, and
also provide greater elucidation on advancing the theory and addressing the existing gaps.
Furthermore, future researchers may develop a framework for employee engagement etched
in sustainability.
4. Conclusion
The changing goal post of employee engagement makes for interesting studies. The diversity
in the current drivers and the changing nature of human being will continue to inspire further
study on the factors influencing employee engagement. Furthermore, the recommendation by
some authors to measuring EE against other organizational variables may just be the answer
in elucidating the construct. There is no doubt of the impact of an engaged workforce. Studies
have found extensive findings that confirm its impact on various organizational variables
(Alfes, Shantz, Truss, & Soane, 2013; Bakker & Bal, 2010; Bal, 2015; Christian et
al.,2011;2014; Salanova et al., 2011; Whittingham & Galpin, 2010) and most significantly is
its impact on business outcome. Accordingly, the link between sustainability and employee
engagement will no doubt have a profound impact on an overall sustainable business.
References
Aguinis, H. (2011). Organizational responsibility: Doing good and doing well. In S. Zedeck
(Ed.),. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology.
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Aguinis, H., & Glavas, A. (2012). What we know and what we don’t know about corporate
social responsibility: A review of research agenda. Journal of Management, 38(4), 932968.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206311436079
Alfes, K., Shantz, A. D., Truss, C., & Soane, E. (2013). The link between perceived human
resource management practices, engagement and employee behaviour: a moderated mediation
model. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(2), 330351.
https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2012.679950
Bakker, A. B. (2014). Daily fluctuations in work engagement. European Psychologist, 19(4),
227236. https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000160
Bakker, A. B., & Bal, P. M. (2010). Weekly work engagement and performance: A study
among starting teachers. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83,
189206. https://doi.org/10.1348/096317909X402596
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
290
Bakker, A. B., Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P., & Taris, T. W. (2008). Work engagement: An
emerging concept in occupational health psychology. Work & Stress, 22, 187200.
https://doi.org/10.1080/02678370802393649
Belschak, F. D., Den Hartog, D. N., & Kalshoven, K. (2015). Leading Machiavellians: How to
translate Machiavellians’ selfishness into pro-organizational behavior. Journal of Management,
41, 19341956. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206313484513
Biro, M. M. (2013). Employee engagement: Every leader’s imperative. Retrieved January 29,
2018, from
https://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/05/19/employee-engagement-every-leaders-i
mperative/
Caligiuri, P., Mencin, A., & Jiang, K. (2013). Win-win-win: the influence of
company-sponsored volunteerism programs on employees, NGOs, and business units.
Personnel Psychology, 66, 825860. https://doi.org/10.1111/peps.12019
Christian, M. S., Garza, A. S., & Slaughter, J. E. (2011). Work engagement: A quantitative
review and test of its relations with task and contextual performance. Personnel Psychology,
64(1), 89136. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2010.01203.x
Crawford, E. R., Rich, B. L., Buckman, B., & Bergeron, J. (2014). The antecedent and drivers
of employee engagement. In C. Truss, K. Alfes, & R. Delbridge (Eds.), Employee Engagement
in Theory and Practice (pp. 5781). London: Rouledge.
D’Aprile, G., & Talo, C. (2015). Analysis of community empowerment on projects
sustainability: Moderating role of sense of community. Journal of Science Education &
Technology, 24(5), 671683.
Dunphy, D., Griffiths, A., & Benn, S. (2014). Organizational Change for Corporate
Sustainability: A guide for leaders and change agents of the future. London,UK: Routledge.
Farooq, O., Rupp, D. E., & Farooq, M. (2016). The multiple pathways through which internal
and external corporate social responsibility influence organizational identification and
multifoci outcomes: The moderating role of cultural and social orientations. Academy of
Management Journal, 60, 954985. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2014.0849
Glavas, A. (2012). Employee engagement and sustainability: A model for implementing
meaningfulness at and in work. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2012(46), 1329.
https://doi.org/10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2012.su.00003
Glavas, A. (2016). Corporate social responsibility and employee engagement: Enabling
employees to employ more of their whole selves at work. Frontier in Psychology, 7(796), 110.
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00796
Glavas, A., & Kelley, K. (2014). The effects o perceived corporate social responsibility on
employees. Business Ethics Quarterly, 24, 165202. https://doi.org/10.5840/beq20143206
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
291
Glavas, A., & Piderit, S. K. (2009). How Does Doing Good Matter? Effects of Corporate
Citizenship on Employees. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 36, 5170.
https://doi.org/10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2009.wi.00007
Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit level relationship between
employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: A meta-analysis.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(2), 268279. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.87.2.268
Hogg, M. A., & Terry, D. J. (2001). Social Identity Processes in Organizational Contexts.
Psychology Press.
Hogg, M. A., Abrams, D., Otten, S., & Hinkle, S. (2004). The social identity perspective:
Intergroup relations, self-conception, and small groups. Small Group Resource, 35, 246276.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1046496404263424
Jones, D. A. (2010). Does serving the community also serve the company? Using
organizational identification and social exchange theories to understand employee responses to
a volunteerism program. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(4),
857878. https://doi.org/10.1348/096317909X477495
Jones, P., Selby, D., & Sterling, S. (2010). Sustainability education: Perspectives and practice
across higher education. London, UK: Earthscan.
Kahn, W. A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at
work. Academy of Management Journal, 33(4), 692724. https://doi.org/10.2307/256287
Kolodinsky, R. W., Madden, T. M., Zisk, D. S., & Henkel, E. T. (2010). Attitudes about
corporate social responsibility: Business student predictors. Journal of Business Ethics, 91,
167181. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0075-3
Laszlo, C., & Zhexembayeva, N. (2011). Embedded sustainability: The next big competitive
advantage. Palo Alto,CA: Stanford University Press.
Lee, M., & Kim, W. (2015). The effect of perceived corporate social responsibility on hotel
employees’ attitude and behaviour toward the organization. International Journal of Tourism
Science, 13, 5174. https://doi.org/10.1080/15980634.2013.11434680
Lo, S., & Sheu, H. (2010). Does corporate sustainability matter to investors? African Journal of
Business Management, 4(13), 28562863.
Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job Burnout. Annual Review of
Psychology, 52, 397422. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.397
May, D. R., Gilson, L., & Harter, L. (2004). The psychological conditions of meaningfulness,
safety and availability and the engagement of the human spirit at work. Journal of
Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77, 1137.
https://doi.org/10.1348/096317904322915892
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
292
Podsakoff, P. M., McKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method
bias in behavioural research: A critical review of literature and recommended remedies.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879903. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.5.879
Purcell, J. (2014). Disengaging from engagement. Human Resource Management Journal,
24(3), 241254. https://doi.org/10.1111/1748-8583.12046
Renwick, D. W. S., Redman, T., & Maguire, S. (2012). Green human resource management: A
review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews.
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2011.00328.x
Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2010). On the meaning of work: A theoretical
integration and review. Research in Organizational Behaviour, 30, 91127.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.riob.2010.09.001
Rupp, D. E., & Mallory, D. B. (2015). Corporate social responsibility: Psychological,
person-centric, and progressing. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and
Organizational Behaviour, 2(1), 211236.
https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032414-111505
Rupp, D. E., Shao, R., Thornton, M. A., & Skarlicki, D. P. (2013). Applicants’ and employees’
reactions to corporate social responsibility: The moderating effects of first-party justice
perceptions and moral identity. Personnel Psychology, 66(4), 895933.
https://doi.org/10.1111/peps.12030
Saks, A. M. (2006). Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of
Managerial Psychology, 21(7), 600619. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940610690169
Saks, A. M., & Gruman, J. A. (2014). What do we really know about employee engagement?
Human Resource Development Quarterly, 25(2), 155182. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.21187
Schaufeli, W. B. (2014). What is engagement? In C. Truss, K. Alfes, R. Delbridge, A. Shantz,
& E. Soane (Eds.), Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice (pp. 1535). Routledge.
Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2004). Job demands, job resources, and their relationship
with burnout and engagement: A multi-sample study. Journal of Organizational Behaviour,
25(3), 293315. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.248
Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2010). Defining and measuring work engagement: Bringing
clarity to the concept. In A. B. Bakker & M. P. Leiter (Eds.), Work engagement: A handbook of
essential theory and research (pp. 1024). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
Schaufeli, W. B., Salanova, M., Gonzalez, R. V., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). The measurement of
engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach. Journal of
Happiness Studies, 3(10), 7192. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015630930326
Schaufeli, W. B., Taris, T. W., & Van Rhenen, W. (2008). Workaholism, burnout, and work
engagement: Three of a kind or three different kinds of employee well-being? Applied
International Journal of Human Resource Studies
ISSN 2162-3058
2018, Vol. 8, No. 2
http://ijhrs.macrothink.org
293
Psychology: An International Review, 57, 173203.
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2007.00285.x
Sharpely, R. (2000). Tourism and sustainable development Exploring the theoretical divide.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism, (8), 119. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669580008667346
Shen, J., & Benson, J. (2014). When CSR is social norm: How socially responsible human
resource management affects work behaviour. Journal of Management, 40, 124.
Shuck, B. (2011). Integrative literature review: four emerging perspectives of employee
engagement: an integrative literature review. Human Resource Development Review, 10(3),
304328. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534484311410840
Simon, G., & Zhou, I. (2017). Harmonizing modern day employee engagement with the
sociological theory of symbolic interactionism. American Journal of Business and
Management, 6(2), 5259.
Stairs, M. (2005). Work Happy: Developing employee engagement to deliver competitive
advantage. Selection and Development Review, 21(5), 7.
Story, J., & Neves, P. (2015). When corporate social responsibility increases performance:
exploring the role of intrinsic and extrinsic CSR attribution. A European Review, 24(2),
111124. https://doi.org/10.1111/beer.12084
Truss, C., Alfes, K., Shantz, A., & Soane, E. (Eds.). (2014). Employee engagement in theory
and practice. London: Routledge.
Wollard, K. K., & Shuck, B. (2011). Antecedents to employee engagement: A structured
review of the literature. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 13(4), 429446.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1523422311431220
Copyright Disclaimer
Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to
the journal.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative
Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
... Previous studies have generally focused on EP for sustainability in companies, for example on the influence of corporate social responsibility on EP [23], [44]- [46], on EP in sustainability initiatives [47], EP for corporate sustainability [48], and on the effect of corporate sustainability on EP [49]. There have been some studies on EP for sustainability in CSOs, in particular analysing the importance of EP in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) [50]- [52], and staff engagement to develop sustainability competencies in HEIs [53]. ...
... From the literature, it is possible to collate nine EP factors: 1) Training [57]- [59]; 2) Involvement [59], [60]; 3) Engagement [61]; 4) Incentives [54], [59], [62]; 5) Employee volunteering [63], [64]; 6) Diversity and Inclusion [49], [65], [66]; 7) Formal rules and norms [60], [67], [68]; 8) Informal rules and norms [69]; and 9) Communication [70]- [72]. A few studies focused on the role of employees in organisational sustainability [2] and its policies [60]. ...
... Employees' perception of sustainability in the organisation affects their commitment to the organisation [49]. Organisations develop strategies (voluntary actions, workplace sustainability programs, and encouraging employees to voluntarily participate in sustainability programs) to foster their employees [47]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Organizations have been integrating sustainability issues into their systems. Employees are a core component of the human dimension of the organizational systems; however, there has been limited research on the factors of employee participation (EP) for organizational sustainability. This article is aimed at investigating the importance of EP factors and how they are related. A survey was conducted to investigate the importance and relationships of EP factors for sustainability, and 305 full responses were received. The responses were analyzed using Friedman tests, Kruskal–Wallis test, correlation analysis, and centrality measures. The results highlight that all factors are important for organizational sustainability, albeit some more than others. The correlation and centrality analyses showed that all factors are interrelated. This article provides insights into EP factors by 1) ranking of EP factors in organizations, 2) analyzing the interrelations and centrality of the EP factors, and 3) comparing the rankings, the interrelations, and centrality measures. This research contributes to organizational sustainability by focusing on the human dimensions through the EP factors and their interrelations. The EP factors must be recognized and integrated to implement sustainability more efficiently in organizations. No organization exists without its employees, and no organization can become sustainable without engaging them.
Article
Full-text available
Research at the individual level of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been growing rapidly. Yet we still lack a more complete understanding of why and how individuals (i.e., employees) are affected by CSR. This study contributes to that gap by exploring the relationship between CSR and employee engagement. Moreover, in order to address the problem of low levels of employee engagement in the workplace, CSR is proposed and tested as a pathway for engaging a significant part of the workforce. Building on engagement theory, a model is tested in which CSR enables employees to bring more of their whole selves to work, which results in employees being more engaged. Data from 15,184 employees in a large professional service firm in the U.S. was analyzed using structural equation modeling. Results show that authenticity (i.e., being able to show one’s whole self at work) positively and significantly mediates the relationship between CSR and employee engagement. However, the other mediator tested in this study, perceived organizational support (POS; i.e., direct benefits to the employee), did not significantly mediate the relationship. In addition, results of moderated mediation suggest that when CSR is extra-role (i.e., not embedded in one’s job design such as volunteering), it weakens the relationship between CSR and employee engagement. Moreover, post hoc analyses show that even when POS is controlled for, authenticity has an impact above and beyond POS on employee engagement. These results extend prior CSR literature which has often been top-down and has focused on how employees will be positively affected by what the organization can give them (e.g., POS). Rather, a bottom-up approach might reveal that the more that employees can give of their whole selves, the more engaged they might be at work.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we take a social identity theory perspective to study the mechanisms through which internal and external corporate social responsibility (CSR) influence employee identification and its subsequent outcomes, as well as the boundary conditions on these effects. We posit that CSR actions focusing on external stakeholders enhance perceived prestige whereas CSR actions focusing on employee welfare enhance perceived respect, both of which are argued to influence employees' organizational identification, but which differentially impact different forms of employee citizenship. These relationships were predicted to vary in strength, however, due to individual differences in social (local vs. cosmopolitan) and cultural (individualism vs. collectivism) orientations. Data are presented from 408 employees of a fast moving consumer goods conglomerate operating in South Asia (Study 1) and from 415 employees spanning nine companies in two culturally distinct regions (France and Pakistan, Study 2). Results, which largely supported our theoretical framework, are discussed in terms of their implications for both our understanding of the psychology of CSR, as well as social identity theory more generally.
Article
Full-text available
This study seeks to explore how corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are perceived by employees and how the perceived CSR influences on employees’ organizational attitude and behavior in the hotel context in the Republic of Korea. Non-management employees from five hotel properties in the Republic of Korea were selected as study samples and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the hypotheses. This study revealed that CSR was an antecedent of affective organizational commitment (AOC) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). CSR perceived by employees showed an indirect effect on OCB through a full mediation of AOC, indicating that employees who believe that their hotel has a strong commitment to community outreach and charitable giving are more likely to engage in OCB. This study focused on the social dimension of CSR and the hypotheses were tested on four-and five-star hotels operating in the Republic of Korea. The findings have implications for promoting positive employee attitude and behavior through active CSR initiatives and intra-firm communication efforts by hotel firms. This study is one of the pioneering studies that empirically investigate the antecedent role of corporate social responsibility on employees’ attitude and behaviors in the hotel sector.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – Employee engagement has become a hot topic in recent years among consulting firms and in the popular business press. However, employee engagement has rarely been studied in the academic literature and relatively little is known about its antecedents and consequences. The purpose of this study was to test a model of the antecedents and consequences of job and organization engagements based on social exchange theory. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was completed by 102 employees working in a variety of jobs and organizations. The average age was 34 and 60 percent were female. Participants had been in their current job for an average of four years, in their organization an average of five years, and had on average 12 years of work experience. The survey included measures of job and organization engagement as well as the antecedents and consequences of engagement. Findings – Results indicate that there is a meaningful difference between job and organization engagements and that perceived organizational support predicts both job and organization engagement; job characteristics predicts job engagement; and procedural justice predicts organization engagement. In addition, job and organization engagement mediated the relationships between the antecedents and job satisfaction, organizational commitment, intentions to quit, and organizational citizenship behavior. Originality/value – This is the first study to make a distinction between job and organization engagement and to measure a variety of antecedents and consequences of job and organization engagement. As a result, this study addresses concerns about that lack of academic research on employee engagement and speculation that it might just be the latest management fad.
Article
Full-text available
Micro-CSR, or the psychological study of how corporate social responsibility (CSR) affects individuals, is gaining significant attention within industrial/organizational psychology and organizational behavior (IOOB). Although this research has the potential to offer insight into how CSR impacts individuals representing various stakeholder groups (e.g., consumers, shareholders), to date the term micro-CSR has generally been limited to describing research on employee responses to CSR initiatives. We argue that the taxonomic conscription of micro-CSR to employees alone exacerbates current friction within the field pertaining to the effects, utility, and importance of CSR. This review synthesizes the accruing research on employee-focused micro-CSR and summarizes current theories while addressing some of the concerns regarding CSR, particularly as it applies to other stakeholder groups. It repositions the study of CSR toward its ostensible ultimate purpose, reducing human suffering, and in doing so draws together theories and evidence focused on why CSR matters to employees and why the study of another stakeholder group-CSR recipients-is essential toward a valid understanding of the true micro-CSR experience (of employees, among others).
Article
Employee Engagement (EE) spans over 30 years discourse within the practitioner and scientific domain, and have become a strategic imperative within organizations. However, due to the tumultuous history of inconsistencies in conceptualization, poor validation, and various discrepancies among scholars and practitioners, the construct has attracted interest across disciplines and industry. Accordingly, the claims of its positive impact on bottom line and other organizational outcome have become the catalyst for further research. Owing to that, this paper highlights past and present findings on EE. Drawing on previous studies, we highlight the cons of the construct and propose a multi-foci approach that extends the positive psychology perspective. We reference the earlier works of Kahn, and the influence sociology played in the conceptualization of Kahn’s theory of the employee’s preferred self. We conclude and recommend the Interactionist view as a theoretical framework within the field of industrial sociology to support our arguments.Keywords: Employee engagement, positive psychology, sociology, rational choice theory, social interactionism.
Article
We explore the impact on employee attitudes of their perceptions of how others outside the organization are treated (i.e., corporate social responsibility) above and beyond the impact of how employees are directly treated by the organization. Results of a study of 827 employees in eighteen organizations show that employee perceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are positively related to (a) organizational commitment with the relationship being partially mediated by work meaningfulness and perceived organizational support (POS) and (b) job satisfaction with work meaningfulness partially mediating the relationship but not POS. Moreover, in order to address limited micro-level research in CSR, we develop a measure of employee perceptions of CSR through four pilot studies. Employing a bifactor model, we find that social responsibility has an additional effect on employee attitudes beyond environmental responsibility, which we posit is due to the relational component of social responsibility (e.g., relationships with community).
Article
This study began with the premise that people can use varying degrees of their selves. physically. cognitively. and emotionally. in work role performances. which has implications for both their work and experi­ ences. Two qualitative. theory-generating studies of summer camp counselors and members of an architecture firm were conducted to explore the conditions at work in which people personally engage. or express and employ their personal selves. and disengage. or withdraw and defend their personal selves. This article describes and illustrates three psychological conditions-meaningfulness. safety. and availabil­ ity-and their individual and contextual sources. These psychological conditions are linked to existing theoretical concepts. and directions for future research are described. People occupy roles at work; they are the occupants of the houses that roles provide. These events are relatively well understood; researchers have focused on "role sending" and "receiving" (Katz & Kahn. 1978). role sets (Merton. 1957). role taking and socialization (Van Maanen. 1976), and on how people and their roles shape each other (Graen. 1976). Researchers have given less attention to how people occupy roles to varying degrees-to how fully they are psychologically present during particular moments of role performances. People can use varying degrees of their selves. physically, cognitively, and emotionally. in the roles they perform. even as they main­ tain the integrity of the boundaries between who they are and the roles they occupy. Presumably, the more people draw on their selves to perform their roles within those boundaries. the more stirring are their performances and the more content they are with the fit of the costumes they don. The research reported here was designed to generate a theoretical frame­ work within which to understand these "self-in-role" processes and to sug­ gest directions for future research. My specific concern was the moments in which people bring themselves into or remove themselves from particular task behaviors, My guiding assumption was that people are constantly bring­ ing in and leaving out various depths of their selves during the course of The guidance and support of David Berg, Richard Hackman, and Seymour Sarason in the research described here are gratefully acknowledged. I also greatly appreciated the personal engagements of this journal's two anonymous reviewers in their roles, as well as the comments on an earlier draft of Tim Hall, Kathy Kram, and Vicky Parker.
Article
This article presents an overview of the literature on daily fluctuations in work engagement. Daily work engagement is a state of vigor, dedication, and absorption that is predictive of important organizational outcomes, including job performance. After briefly discussing enduring work engagement, the advantages of diary research are discussed, as well as the concept and measurement of daily work engagement. The research evidence shows that fluctuations in work engagement are a function of the changes in daily job and personal resources. Particularly on the days that employees have access to many resources, they are able to cope well with their daily job demands ( e. g., work pressure, negative events), and likely interpret these demands as challenges. Furthermore, the literature review shows that on the days employees have sufficient levels of job control, they proactively try to optimize their work environment in order to stay engaged. This proactive behavior is called job crafting and predicts momentary and daily work engagement. An important additional finding is that daily engagement has a reciprocal relationship with daily recovery. On the days employees recover well, they feel more engaged; and engagement during the day is predictive of subsequent recovery. Finding the daily balance between engagement while at work and detachment while at home seems the key to enduring work engagement.
Article
Socially responsible human resource management (SRHRM), defined as corporate social responsibility (CSR) directed at employees, underpins the successful implementation of CSR. While its relationship with employee social behavior has been conceptualized and received some empirical support, its effect on employee work behaviors has not been explored. In this article we develop and test a meso-mediated moderation model that explains the underlying mechanisms through which SRHRM affects employee task performance and extra-role helping behavior. The results of multilevel analysis show that organization-level SRHRM is an indirect predictor of individual task performance and extra-role helping behavior through the mediation of individual-level organizational identification. In addition, the mediation model is moderated by employee-level perceived organizational support and the relationship between organizational identification and extra-role helping behavior is moderated by organization-level cooperative norms. These findings provide important insights into why and when SRHRM influences employee work behaviors.