Date of Conferral







Steven Tippins


Research does not address how staff in the United States perceive employee engagement in the university system. Leadership training and communication for managers are essential processes that help staff become highly engaged in universities. The purpose of phenomenological study was to explore the views of employees in a selected university within the state of Georgia in an attempt to address positive employee engagement in the academic environment. The engagement theory and social exchange theory were used as the conceptual frameworks to explore how employees engaged in their department working with their managers. To address this question, a purposeful sample of 15 females and 5males full time employees who had a direct line reporting relationship to a manager were selected from one university in the state of Georgia. The research questions indicated what lived experiences of Georgia School system employees feel about engagement and the factors employees identify as the influence on employee engagement. Employees responded to a questionnaire, containing 14 open ended questions, to gather rich data on their lived experiences. Open hand and axial coding extracted data to identify the emergent themes, such as: incentives, increased morale, increased confidence and reverence of management, reward based performance, and organizational productivity. These findings indicate that managers must learn to meet the needs of the employees to positively address employee engagement. This research contributes to positive social change by adding insights for managers seeking to increase productivity.