Conceptualising work engagement: An individual, collective and organisational efficacy perspective

Colm Fearon, Heather McLaughlin, Lynn Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of multi-level forms of efficacy and organisational interactions necessary for promoting effective work engagement. Design/methodology/approach – Work engagement is explored from a multi-level efficacy perspective (self, collective and organisational). Based on the ideas of Bandura, workplace interactions are investigated through the theoretical lens of social cognitive theory (SCT).                                                                                                          Findings – The ability to conceptualise engagement from individual, group and organisational perspectives, helps researchers and HR practitioners appreciate the complexities involved. The paper also highlights a need for developing new organisational interactions that promote engagement, as opposed to reinforcing stale managerial policies, or one-sided strategies for short term productivity gains. Organisational interactions should respond to job demands at both individual and collective levels. The paper also suggests that new interactions and stronger communication helps promote collective and organisational efficacy.                                                                                    Research limitations/implications – This is a theoretical discussion piece that attempts to set the scene and examine broad issues, and thus there is no measurement or empirical analysis attempted. Additional work is required to operationalise constructs further, as part of a case study protocol for future in-depth empirical analysis. Originality/value – This thought-piece paper is significant for managers in retail and researchers alike, when developing organisational interactions from a multi-level efficacy perspective. The conceptual contribution of the paper is a fresh macro-analytical perspective concerning efficacy and work engagement. Some ideas are also presented for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-256
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Efficacy
  • Employee engagement
  • Employees behaviour
  • Employees relations
  • Reciprocal exchange
  • Retail
  • Social cognitive theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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