Developing a conceptual framework to analyse engagement and disengagement in the workplace
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This study focuses on the development of a validated and confirmed employee engagement measuring model for use by managers and academia. Data was collected from an array of South African managers by employing a structured 5-point Likert scale questionnaire. A total of 260 usable questionnaires could be analysed, signifying a high response rate of 80%. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences software (Version 18, Version 22.0 and AMOS for Windows) was used as the quantitative analytical software. The following statistical techniques were employed to analyse the data, namely the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy, Bartlett‟s test of sphericity, Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficients, Exploratory factor analysis, Confirmatory factor analysis and the Pearson correlation coefficient. The development of the Measure Employee Engagement model wielded theoretical and empirical research. The format was structured into four logical stages, hence the presentation of the study in the approved article format. The study covers the following four steps (as per articles): Article one departed by performing a literature study of employee engagement constructs and its measuring criteria. It examined the application of a myriad of models in various application settings to identify the relevant constructs and measuring criteria. From these constructs and criteria, a draft questionnaire was constructed to collect the data on 11 employee engagement constructs. Validation of measuring criteria was performed to ensure that the criteria accurately measure the specific employee engagement construct. The data was also tested for acceptable reliability levels. The second article departs on the validation of the constructs and its measuring criteria, this time as a unified model and not, as performed in Article 1, the construct validation individually. The objective of this article was to simplify the complex model without deterioration of the measuring contribution thereof. This was achieved by employing factor analysis, and after four rounds of eliminating low-loading and dual-loading criteria, the questionnaire was reduced by 25 measuring criteria and seven factors were extracted explaining a favourable 69.75% of the variance. The simplified model was scrutinised to ascertain statistical validity thereof, an objective achieved with flying colours. The inter-correlations between the seven factors were satisfactory, underpinning the validity of the model. The third article focuses on confirming the employee engagement constructs statistically by means of Confirmatory Factor Analysis as well as to determine the goodness of the model fit. The results confirmed that all seven constructs were significant (p<0.05) and important according to the standardised regression weights. Surprisingly, the most important respondent construct Behavioural engagement had the lowest regression weight, while the lower rated Career growth opportunities showed a much higher regression weight – signifying a higher importance and influence on employee engagement. Regarding goodness of model fit, the CFI, RMSEA and Hoelter‟s indices‟ were used. These indices showed that the model as stated above to measure employee engagement is a good fit and that it can be operationalised to be employed in managerial application settings. Article four operationalised the model validated in Articles 2 and 3. The article thus reports on the actual measurement of the different employee engagement constructs as perceived by the respondents. The results showed that the respondents regarded all seven the constructs as important, with Behavioural employment being regarded as the most important one. Career growth opportunities, surprisingly, was rated the least important construct of employee engagement. Correlational analysis indicated that no significant correlation coefficients exist between the demographic variables and the constructs of employee engagement. The study consisted of both a literature study as well as an empirical study. The university libraries of the North-West University and Management College of South Africa‟s Business School were used to source reference materials with the aid of a specialised research librarian at the North-West University to assist in the location of the most appropriate sources. Apart from the conclusions based on the results obtained in model development, generalised conclusions include the development of a successful model development methodology and guidance in the use of a number of the statistical techniques. This could greatly assist future researchers in the design of their studies, even outside the discipline of employee engagement.