Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engaged Employees Are Good, But Don't Count On Commitment

Date:
May 13, 2009
Source:
Clemson University
Summary:
The notion that highly engaged workers will continue to work tirelessly for organizations despite diminishing resources often isn't true, according to a psychology professor.

The notion that highly engaged workers will continue to work tirelessly for organizations despite diminishing resources often isn’t true, according to Clemson University psychology professor Thomas Britt.

Related Articles


Britt, an industrial-organizational psychology professor, outlines his research in “Amplifying the Relationships Between Organizational Constraints and Outcomes,” currently under review at the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology; as well as in prior work published in 2003 in the Harvard Business Review and in the 2007 book chapter “Self-Engagement at Work.”

According to Britt, there is a difference between an engaged worker, meaning one who invests himself or herself in superior job performance, and organizational commitment, a worker’s psychological attachment to his or her organization or employer. Britt’s research found that an engaged employee isn’t necessarily committed to the organization.

“When the economy is experiencing a general downturn, it may be unlikely that engaged employees low in organizational commitment can find another position. But if they do have the opportunity to change jobs they will,” he said. “Managers who fail to position employees to be effective in their roles and provide organizational support may lose their most talented and energetic people.

“The ones who stay behind may well be the ones who just don’t care,” said Britt.

Engaged workers are highly attuned to aspects of their work environment that either will facilitate or thwart job performance, said Britt. If the workers are not getting the resources they feel they need to perform at their best, their engagement may be diminished.

“Engaged workers are more likely to place importance on being able to perform well because their performance matters to them ahead of corporate loyalty,” Britt said.

Britt said barriers to engaged workers’ peak performance may include lack of budget and equipment support, access to important information, work overload, unclear objectives and goals and assigning employees tasks that don’t fit their training.

Britt’s research finds that employees are more engaged when their leaders provide clear guidelines for job performance, which gives the employees a greater feeling of clarity and control over what they were supposed to do.

According to Britt, the benefits of employee engagement can be squandered if leaders do not position employees in roles that match their skills and provide the workplace supports they need to carry out their responsibilities.

Another limit is work overload, which can lead to lower levels of morale and job satisfaction. In other words, the workers who care most about their work feel they are not performing to their full capability because they have so much to do that they cannot do anything well, Britt said.

One obvious consequence of this is burnout. Highly motivated employees are willing to go beyond the call of duty to help the organization, but when temporary overload continues and they continuously fail to meet their own high expectations, their motivation becomes directed at locating other job possibilities.

These are critical times for managers, said Britt, citing the economy and organizations’ efforts to trim costs. Managers need to balance the pressure from their bosses to do more with less against motivating and keeping their employees engaged in their work and in the organization. This becomes more important when work forces are reduced and employees are asked to increase their work output, especially work that reaches beyond the scope of their jobs and their capabilities.

Britt’s research shows engaged employees are likely to become frustrated and dissatisfied and may blame their supervisors if they do not have the systems and support necessary to be effective. Given the higher proactivity and energy levels of engaged employees, this frustration could lead to turnover as they begin to look for more supportive work environments.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Clemson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Clemson University. "Engaged Employees Are Good, But Don't Count On Commitment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090513121050.htm>.
Clemson University. (2009, May 13). Engaged Employees Are Good, But Don't Count On Commitment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090513121050.htm
Clemson University. "Engaged Employees Are Good, But Don't Count On Commitment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090513121050.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU, Russia, Ukraine Seal Breakthrough Gas Accord

EU, Russia, Ukraine Seal Breakthrough Gas Accord

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Russia agrees to resume gas deliveries to war-torn Ukraine through the winter in an EU-brokered, multi-billion dollar deal signed by the three parties in Brussels. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Relief After “gas War” Is Averted

Relief After “gas War” Is Averted

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 31, 2014) A gas war between Russia and Ukraine has been averted. But as Hayley Platt reports a deal was only reached after Kiev's western creditors agreed to partly funding the deal. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins