Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Franz M. Gottleib


More than 50% of the workforce in the United States is disengaged, costing U.S. organizations almost $355 billion annually. Engaged employees improve customer satisfaction, perform effectively, and are committed to organizational goals. Guided by Kahn's personal engagement theory, the purpose of this multiple case study was to explore strategies business leaders in the hospitality industry used to improve employee engagement for increased productivity. A purposive sample of 1 business leader each from 6 organizations in South Korea shared their experiences with the phenomenon of employee engagement. Data were collected through face-to-face semi structured interviews and by reviewing company position descriptions and human resource policies. Yin's data analysis method revealed prevalent themes of communication, recognition and rewards, and work environment. Leaders influence employee engagement through open communication, providing rewards or recognition as performance incentives, and creating a psychologically safe work environment. Implications of this study for social change include decreased physical and mental health costs for employees and organizations. Improving employee engagement in the hospitality industry can reduce absenteeism and increase organizational profitability, sustainability, and participation in community and social programs.