Original Research

Conceptualising and measuring employee engagement as a role-related, multi-level construct

Marius Joubert, Gert Roodt
Acta Commercii | Vol 19, No 1 | a605 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v19i1.605 | © 2019 Marius Joubert, Gert Roodt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2018 | Published: 23 April 2019

About the author(s)

Marius Joubert, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Gert Roodt, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Based on different roles that managers occupy at different levels in organisations the question often arises: ‘how will these multiple roles and levels affect their engagement?’

Research purpose: This study aimed to establish if employee engagement is a multi-level construct based on the multiple roles that individuals occupy in organisations.

Motivation for the study: Several engaging management practices on different organisational levels were identified that either engage or disengage employees that are not being considered in the current mono-level, mono-role engagement models.

Research design, approach and method: This quantitative study is based on a cross-sectional survey conducted amongst 1750 individuals with managerial responsibilities in three different organisations. About 610 participants attempted to complete the survey, but only 425 fully completed responses could be used for final statistical analysis.

Main findings: Four different structural models were confirmed in the study. The first three confirmed different pull and push factors for individual, team and management engagement. The fourth model established that all three engagement constructs contribute to an engaging climate in organisations without any significant collinearity between the three engagement constructs.

Practical/managerial implications: The empirical evidence confirms unique sets of pull and push factors on individual, team and managerial levels. Human resource practitioners should, therefore, take note of which factors promote employee engagement on each level.

Contribution/value-add: The study confirms that employee engagement can be viewed as a multi-role, multi-level construct where significant spillover and/or crossover effects between different levels and roles are possible.


employee motivation; employee engagement; individual engagement; team engagement; management engagement; engaging climate


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