Employee engagement has long been capturing the attention of researchers and practitioners, (e.g. Bakker, Albrecht, & Leiter, 2011; Buckingham & Coffman, 1999) due to its positive impact on various measures of organizational performance (Gruman & Saks, 2011; Harter, Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002; Mone & London, 2010). To date, however, employee engagement has primarily been studied in private manufacturing firms leaving out a gap of research in a public service organization, such as eldercare organizations, although engagement according to Boselie (2010) is highly relevant in the specific context. The purpose of the PhD project is to build a model explaining employee engagement in a public service organization. Research on work design theory (e.g. Hackman & Oldham, 1976) will be used, since it has often been applied to identify antecedents associated with engagement (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Kahn, 1990). From a grounded theory approach multiple case studies will be conducted in different public eldercare organizations, which will serve as the basis for understanding employee engagement in a context undergoing pressures due to for example New Public Management principles.
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22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference, 2013