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Employee Engagement: A Literature Review


  • Li Sun
  • Chanchai Bunchapattanasakda


Employee engagement is an important issue in management theory and practice. However, there are still major differences in the concept, theory, influencing factors and outcomes of employee engagement, and there is still no authoritative standard. This paper attempts to review and summarize previous research results on employee engagement. Two kinds of definitions of employee engagement are identified- employee engagement as a multi-faceted construct (cognition, emotions and behaviors) and as a unitary construct (a positive state of mind, a dedicated willingness, the opposite of burnout). Three theoretical frameworks are used to explain the varying degrees of employee engagement- Needs-Satisfaction framework, Job Demands-Resources model and Social Exchange Theory. The influencing factors of employee engagement are divided into three categories- organizational factors (management style, job rewards, etc.), job factors (work environment, task characteristics, etc.) and individual factors (physical energies, self-consciousness, etc.). Employee engagement is found to have a positive relationship with individual performance (organizational commitment, positive behavior, etc.) and organizational performance (customer satisfaction, financial return, etc.) The research findings show that there are three shortcomings in previous studies- lack of research on demographic variables, personality differences and cross-cultural differences in employee engagement, lack of research on the mediating or moderating role of employee engagement, and lack of intervention mechanism for employee engagement.

Suggested Citation

  • Li Sun & Chanchai Bunchapattanasakda, 2019. "Employee Engagement: A Literature Review," International Journal of Human Resource Studies, Macrothink Institute, vol. 9(1), pages 63-80, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mth:ijhr88:v:9:y:2019:i:1:p:63-80

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Macey, William H. & Schneider, Benjamin, 2008. "The Meaning of Employee Engagement," Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 3-30, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tatiana V. Volchenko & Lyudmila S. Ruzhanskaya & Maxim A. Fokeev, 2021. "Non-cognitive skills of employees and their influence on voluntary turnover," Upravlenets, Ural State University of Economics, vol. 12(2), pages 87-101, April.
    2. Nesreen Awada & Siti Sarawati Johar & Fadillah Binti Ismail, 2019. "The effect of employee happiness on performance of employees in public organization in United Arab Emirates," Journal of Administrative and Business Studies, Professor Dr. Usman Raja, vol. 5(5), pages 260-268.
    3. Habiba Akter & Ilham Sentosa & Sheikh Muhamad Hizam & Waqas Ahmed & Arifa Akter, 2021. "Finding the Contextual Gap Towards Employee Engagement in Financial Sector: A Review Study," Papers 2106.06436,
    4. Galina S. Arzamasova & Irena A. Esaulova, 2021. "Analysis of the environmental employee engagement: A case of a Russian enterprise," Upravlenets, Ural State University of Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 56-66, July.
    5. Indra Fahrizal & Sjaiful Munir, 2022. "The influence of leadership, reward system and self-efficacy on work engagement of frontline employees at PT. TIKI JNE Jakarta," International Journal of Business Ecosystem & Strategy (2687-2293), Bussecon International, vol. 4(2), pages 28-36, April.
    6. Yasangi Anuradha Iddagoda & Henarath H. D. N. P. Opatha, 2020. "Relationships and Mediating Effects of Employee Engagement: An Empirical Study of Managerial Employees of Sri Lankan Listed Companies," SAGE Open, , vol. 10(2), pages 21582440209, April.

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    JEL classification:

    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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