18 - Enhancing work engagement through the management of human resources  pp. 380-402

Enhancing work engagement through the management of human resources

By Wilmar B. Schaufeli and Marisa Salanova

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This chapter introduces a recently emerged psychological concept – work engagement – and seeks to apply this notion to the management of human resources in organizations. Our point of departure is that in order to prosper and survive in today's continuously changing environment, rather than merely “healthy” employees, organizations need engaged employees. What we exactly mean by work engagement and how this term is used throughout the literature is explained next. Because we strongly feel that recommendations for using HRM strategies to increase levels of employee engagement should be based on sound empirical research, we present an overview thereof. More specifically, we focus on the relationship of work engagement with related concepts and on the antecedents and consequences of work engagement. The assessment of work engagement is addressed in a separate section. In addition, we discuss how employees’ work engagement may be optimized by using HRM strategies. The chapter closes with some conclusions about work engagement research and about the usefulness of work engagement in the context of HRM. Our aim is to demonstrate the viability of the concept of work engagement for human resources practices in organizations.

The need for engaged workers in modern organizations

Table 18.1 illustrates what kinds of changes force today's organizations to rely more and more on the psychological knowledge and experience of their employees.

Essentially, the changes summarized in Table 18.1 boil down to a “psychologization” of organizations.

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