Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Lilburn Hoehn

Abstract

A gap exists in organizational development strategies on why some individuals remain disengaged with their work. This study addressed whether a combination of specific contextual factors could support individuals, teams, and leaders to demonstrate the attitudes and behaviors consistent with work engagement. The theoretical frameworks of social constructivism, the conceptual framework of symbolic interactionism, and a hermeneutic inquiry approach were used to address how individual psychological traits/abilities of employees support work engagement. Nineteen employees of a Canadian provincial government ministry completed an engagement survey, MSCEIT, MBTI, and SDI assessments. They also participated in focus groups. Survey results showed high engagement scores. Focus group themes, derived from the Modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method centered on perceptions of personal choice, passive resignation, and trust. Spearman's correlation results indicated a moderate, nonsignificant association between the MSCEIT, MBTI, SDI scores, and work engagement. Study results suggested 5 factors necessary for individuals to sustain engagement: the ability to balance a focus on others and impressions with a focus on ideas and concrete data, the ability to perceive and manage emotions, motivational values consistent with a concern for others, and leader and organizational support. Results from this study are expected to increase possible social change efforts focused on developing highly engaged teams that demonstrate a positive, fulfilling work-related state characterized by high energy levels, mental resilience, dedication, and involvement in work.