Psychological stress and employee engagement

Sukanlaya Sawang, Cameron J. Newton

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The challenge today is not just retaining talented people, but fully engaging them, capturing their minds and hearts at each stage of their work lives'' (Kaye Jordan-Evans, 2003, p. 11). Engaged employees produce positive work outcomes such as increased productivity satisfaction, and reduced turnover (Kahn, 1990, 1992; Saks, 2006). Engaged employees also impact on customers and co-workers' positive experiences such as increased customer satisfaction (Wagner Harter, 2006). Further, engaged employees demonstrate higher levels of trust in management and share more positive experiences with co-workers than disengage employees (Payne, Cangemi, Fuqua, Muhleakamp, 1998). Past studies show that having a high proportion of engaged employees increases organizational performance, such as profitability and reputation (Wagner Harter, 2006; Fleming Asplund, 2007; Ketter, 2008). Having experienced the benefits of having engaged employees, organizations have become more aware of this issue and have been focusing on facilitating engagement climate within workplaces. Recently, an interest in positive psychology, instead of negative aspects of human behaviours, has become a focus for both scholars and practitioners. The trend towards positive psychology has led to the emergence of the concept of work engagement(Chughtai Buckley, 2008). This article reviews literatures in the area of positive psychology and psychological stress, and discusses how organizations can increase work engagement among their organizational members. The remainder of this article is organised in four sections. First, we define work engagement as used in this article and psychological outcomes of work engagement. Second, we identify ways to increase work engagement among employees. Following this, we further discuss how gender roles influence individuals' engagement at work. The final sections conclude the paper with a discussion of the practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research
EditorsAlex C. Michalos
Place of PublicationNetherlands
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-007-0753-5
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-0752-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Employee engagement
  • Occupational stress, health, and well-being
  • Psychological distress
  • Psychological engagement
  • Work engagement


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