The study was designed to explore the theory that the employee engagement constructs of trust, leadership, teamwork and communication are differentiating factors in companies that outperform industry peers. The study methodology and analysis followed Eisenhardt’s 1989 eight-step process of building theory from case study research. The study covered 21-years of information from 1993 to 2013 for 14 publicly traded U.S. companies. Within-pair, cross-pair and event analysis were utilized to identify patterned findings. The research findings confirmed the presence of trust, leadership, teamwork and communication employee engagement constructs at organization level, with leadership and trust descriptors consistently representing higher tagged performance level statements than the teamwork and communication engagement categories. Trust emerged as a distinctive differentiator between high and lower performing companies. The findings revealed companies with 15 or more consecutive profit years reporting higher representation of tagged statements on the trust engagement category relative to lower performing matched or cross-pair companies. The study findings signify a call to action for human resources, organizational development and talent management leaders to play a stronger role in understanding the psychological, behavioral and economic aspects of engagement at the organization level. With trust emerging as a top differentiator, there is an opportunity to invest in performance efforts to better engage employees and positively improve company performance. Based on the findings for the trust engagement category emerging as a differentiator between high and lower performing companies, researchers should be encouraged at the possibility of exploring the theory across other samples.
|Subjects||Management; Psychology; Organizational behavior|
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