Engagement: The academic perspective (Guest commentary)

Job satisfaction and organizational commitment don’t measure engagement but effective tools are starting to emerge
By Alan Saks
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/21/2009

Engagement has become a popular topic in recent years. More reports are claiming work engagement predicts employee attitudes and performance, organizational success and financial performance.

However, the academic community has only recently begun to study engagement so most of what has been written comes from consulting firms. As a result, work engagement has been defined and measured in many ways and the definitions and measures are often similar to better-known and established variables such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment and job involvement.

A recent article in Canadian HR Reporter (“The promise of engagement: Examining myths, truths,” Dec. 1, 2008) pointed out many popular engagement surveys do not actually measure engagement. Rather, they measure job satisfaction or factors that might predict or create a sense of engagement.