Date Approved

8-15-2012

Date Posted

5-9-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Technology

Committee Member

John Dugger III, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Pamela Becker, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Robert Chapman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Huei Lee, Ph.D.

Abstract

This research study investigated the constructs and dimensions of employee engagement and their relationship with business outcome data from 2009 to 2011 at a mid-sized engineering services firm and two of its business units. Employee engagement ratios, as defined by Crabtree (2004), for all entities studied were below that associated with world-class organizations. Survey items related to salary and compensation received low scores from both engaged and disengaged employees. Kruskal-Wallis’s median comparison tests revealed that many survey items varied over the period of three years for each entity studied. A factor analysis of companywide survey data yielded 5 dimensions of employee engagement, which was consistent with existing literature of Cummings and Worley (2008), Richman (2006), Shaw (2005), and Robinson et al. (2004). Structural equation modeling revealed that the dimension of communication has a causal relationship with the dimension of management effectiveness, which, in turn, has causal relationships with dimensions of 1) salary and compensation, 2) opportunity for development and recognition, and 3) alignment with the organization. A single variable linear regression analysis between average ratings of every survey item and every selected business outcome showed that a significant relationship existed between several pairs of variables for each entity studied. However, many of these pairs were found to be inversely proportional. This finding, subject to limitations and assumptions of this study, is inconsistent with the findings of Harter et al. (2009) and Buckingham and Coffman (1999).

The study uncovered many areas of improvement and elucidated several solutions aimed at enhancing employee engagement at the engineering services firm. New possible v relationships between employee engagement and business outcomes are also presented. These possible relationships in turn serve as an impetus for future research. Additional research work is needed to understand intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence and promote employee engagement at services firms. Structural equation modeling procedures could be used to develop a better understanding of how these factors influence employee engagement and business outcomes.

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