Over the last decade, various scholars have defined employee engagement as a two-way relationship between the employer and the employee based on an intellectual commitment of the employee to the organisation (Baumruk et al, 2006; Shaw, 2005). As employees perform their role they expresses themselves physically, cognitive and emotionally (Kahn, 1990), they are psychologically present (Saks, 2005) and have a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterised by vigour (energy and involvement), dedication (enthusiasm, pride to work for the organisation, inspiration, and challenges), and absorption (concentration) (Schaufeli et al, 2002; Baker et al, 2008).
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These resources seem to help engaged workers to control and impact upon their work environment successfully (Luthans et al, 2008; Baker at al. 2008).
Though the benefits of employee engagement are numerous, the definition of the concept shares a striking resemblance to the definitions and measures of business and marketing terms such as ‘organisational commitment’, ‘organisational citizenship behaviour’, and ‘employee based brand equity’ (EBBE) (Robinson et al., 2004; Saks, A., 2005; King & Grace, 2009). Moreover, some scholars have noted that there has been done little academic and empirical research on employee engagement (Saks, A., 2005), leading to questions whether employee engagement is not just merely an “old wine in a new bottle”(Robinson et al, 2004) i.e. an old trend with a new name.
Could it be that employee engagement is an invention of the Public Relations and Communication industry to mark their territory as a relatively new profession, or is there an actual difference between concepts of ‘organisational commitment’, ‘organisational citizenship behaviour’, EBBE and employee engagement?
Though the term ‘employee engagement’ suggests that the end goal is ‘engagement of employees’ and all its benefits, different markets have different visions of its actual source of motivation. Not entirely surprising: psychology, public relations, and communication scholars focus on how employee engagement positively affects employer-employee relationships, employees’ mental wellness and the work environment in general, while marketing and business scholars view the positive outcomes of employee engagement for the employees as secondary to the benefits employee engagement brings to the organisation’s identity and image alignment and it’s marketing position.
Based on this difference in priorities, this scholar argues that there is a difference between ‘employee engagement’ and marketing and business terms such as ‘organisational commitment’, ‘organisational citizenship behaviour’, and ‘employee based brand equity’, and that this difference is shaped by the diverse motivations behind efforts of improving said concepts, how the improvements are put into place, how the results are measured, and how these results are used to either change the overall branding strategy (business and marketing approach), or to re-invest in employee engagement by providing employees with feedback in order for them to develop (psychological, PR and communications approach).
Employee Based Brand Equity
One thing both the...