Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Chair

Cyndi Gaudet

Committee Chair Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Member 2

Sandra Bernard Dugas

Committee Member 2 Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Member 3

Brian Richard

Committee Member 3 Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Member 4

Heather M. Annulis

Committee Member 4 Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Member 5

Mary Nell McNeese

Committee Member 5 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

This study measured the effects of a learning intervention designed to enhance the capabilities of immediate managers to increase the level of work engagement in line employees at a small manufacturing firm in south Mississippi. The study answered the call of researchers to investigate the impact of innovative management practices on work engagement (Bakker, Schaufeli, Leiter, & Taris, 2008). The firm’s Production business unit managers participated in a 90-day learning program based on five skills outlined by Flagello and Dugas (2009); the Maintenance business unit managers did not participate in the learning. At three intervals during the intervention, the researcher collected Utrecht Work Engagement Scale ("UWES", 2003; Schaufeli et al., 2006) data pertaining to (1) the instrument’s dedication subscale, as a measure of perceived work environment, and (2) overall work engagement. Mixed Design ANOVA between-group effects for the Production and Maintenance line employees, using both the UWES dedication subscale (F(1, 36) = 17.258; p < .001; η2 = .324; observed power = .981) and the entire work engagement construct (F(1, 36) = 12.739; p = .001; η2 = .261; observed power = .935), were statistically and practically significant and powerful. Future research should consider (1) conducting longitudinal research into interventions for work engagement; (2) exploring UWES research applications that measurably link the psychological work engagement construct to meaningful business outcomes; and (3) using intervention research to move towards a more universal, practical engagement construct; one that links together the preconditions, psychological factors, behavioral outcomes, and business results of engagement into a unified, actionable whole.

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