Leading the businesses to success in a perfect
competition remains a big challenge to all the managers nowadays. Organizations
are rational to increase their performance by increasing both efficiency and
productivity and this requires high efforts from all the staff (especially
managers) of the organization. None of the managers will deny making critical
difference in innovation, organization performance, and competitiveness by the
employees to ultimately lead to the business success.
Making employees to work proactively and
communicate smoothly with others, take responsibility of their own career
improvement and also keeping them committed to high quality performance
standards becomes one of the priority tasks for organizations. Employee
engagement which was defined as a persistent, positive affective-motivational
state of fulfillment in employees that is characterized by vigor, dedication
and absorption (Maslach et al., 2001) became a hot topic within organizations
as many research results have shown that employee engagement have a statistical
relationship with productivity, profitability, employee retention, safety, and
customer satisfaction (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999; Coffman &
1.1 About UN Migration Agency
(International Organization for Migration)
Established in 1951, IOM is the leading
inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely
with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. With
169 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices
in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly
migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice
to governments and migrants.
IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane
management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration
issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems
and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees
and internally displaced people.
The IOM Constitution recognizes the link between
migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the
right of freedom of movement.
IOM works in the four broad areas of migration
Migration and development
IOM activities that cut across these areas
include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and
guidance, protection of migrants’ rights, migration health and the gender
dimension of migration.
International Organization for Migration in
IOM’s mission in Afghanistan was established in
1992 and has maintained an uninterrupted presence in the country. IOM
Afghanistan is one of the largest IOM missions worldwide, with over 450 (Dec-2017)
staff and offices in Kabul, Badakhshan, Balkh, Bamyan, Herat,
Kandahar, Nangarhar, Nimroz and Paktia.
IOM currently implements a range of humanitarian
assistance, community stabilization and migration management
initiatives in Afghanistan, in cooperation with government and humanitarian
partners as well as local communities.
“IOM is committed to the principle that humane
and orderly migration benefits migrants and society”. As the leading
international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the
international community to:
Assist in meeting the growing operational
challenges of migration management.
Advance understanding of migration
Encourage social and economic development
§ Uphold the
human dignity and well-being of migrants.
Organization for Migration Organizational Chart
1.2 Conceptual Framework
W. D. Kahn (1990) is credited with
conceptualizing the major components of employee engagement. His model proposes
that engagement differs from basic job involvement, in that it focuses not on
worker skills but, rather, on how one commits him/herself during the
performance of the job. Engagement entails the active use of emotions in
addition to the simple use of cognition while completing work tasks (May,
Gilson, & Harter, 2004). The major propositions of the model are that
people express themselves cognitively, physically, and emotionally while
performing their work roles.
The model proposes that, in order for individuals
to fully engage with their job, three psychological conditions must be met in
the work environment: meaningfulness (workers feeling that their job tasks are
worthwhile), safety (feeling as though the work environment is one of trust and
supportiveness), and availability (workers having the physical, emotional, and
psychological means to engage in their job tasks at any given moment) (Kahn, 1990).
Another major proposition of the engagement model
is that these three key psychological conditions are, to some degree, within
the control of agency management.
Employee engagement is also something that is
changeable, and can vary widely from one workplace to another (Coffman &
Gonzalez-Molina, 2002). Studies indicate that workers are, to some extent, a
reflection of the administrators of an agency. Low or conversely high
engagement scores have been traced back to the organization’s leadership, from
top to bottom (Townsend & Gebhardt, 2007). Therefore, the results of
engagement studies should have considerable applicability to the social work
field. For instance, leaders in human service agencies could utilize data from
engagement studies to create and implement strategies that would increase staff
engagement, thereby decreasing the potential for burnout and maximizing
successful outcomes for the agency and for the clients they serve.
1.3 Problem Statement
Employee Engagement became a very popular concept
during the past 2.5 decades. Organizations try to figure out if their employees
are engaged and how to keep them engaged through different surveys and tools.
In IOM Afghanistan such survey has yet not been conducted and this will be the
first survey conducted on Employee Engagement.
In this survey the focus of the surveyor is on
finding the relation of well-being, information, Fairness and Involvement on
the Employee Engagement. Many organizations focus on designing a successful
reward system to keep their employees engaged and productive. But of most of
these organizations miss one of the key tricks where the line supervisor who
plays a key role in employee engagement is overlooked. Managers who ultimately
serve as the face of an organization to its employees are typically the one who
work or fail the engagement tools (Stark & McMullen, 2008). Tangible or
intangible incentives such as job design, career development are all heavily
influenced by management behaviors which have an enormous effect on employee
engagement (Amble, 2006). Research undertaken on behalf of the CIPD (Alfes et
al, 2010) indicated that positive perceptions on line management are
significantly related to employee engagement.
Specifically, in order to foster the employee engagement, it is
important for line managers to make sure that goals and objectives are clearly
communicated; right people are on right jobs; opportunities for development and
promotion are provided; and effort is appropriately rewarded.
1.4 Research Question
What is the relation of
below four terms to employee engagement in IOM Afghanistan?
The research question will be answered by
answering the below sub questions:
What is employee engagement?
What are the forerunners and
significances of employee engagement?
To what extend the WIFI (well-being,
information, fairness and involvement) influence employee’s engagement?
1.5 Research Approach
The employee engagement in IOM Afghanistan will
be studied as single case. The main purpose of this case will be to identify
the problem and its causes and to suggest the best available alternate solution
to this problem. Case study is used as the research method in exploring the
occurrence of low employee engagement in IOM Afghanistan. This method is chosen
because case study was defined as an empirical inquiry that investigates a
contemporary phenomenon within its real life context (Yin, 1994). The case study
approach is useful in answering the “why?” and “how?” questions. In this case
study multiple data collection methods like interview, documentations and
observation will be used. In this case study the research question will be
answered by answering the sub-questions and the sub-questions will be answered
by the following approach.
Review of the existing literature on
employee engagement to understand “what is employee engagement” and ‘what are
the forerunners and significances of employee engagement in an organization”.
The literature review will provide a theoretical foundation to the research.
Conduct a structured survey through
questionnaires in IOM Afghanistan to collect data for quantitative analysis.
Conduct the quantitative data analysis and
test the model to identify “to what extend the WIFI affect employee
Suggest some techniques and answers the
question of “what actions can be taken to improve the employee engagement in
Examine the feasibility of proposed
solution by taking the employees’ feedback.
2. Literature Review
2.1. What is Employee
There is no universal definition for employee
engagement. Employee engagement has been defined in numerous different ways by
consultancies, research institutions, academic researchers and organizations.
In the academic literature, employee engagement
was first conceptualized by Kahn (1990) as “the harnessing of organization
members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express
themselves physically, cognitively and emotionally during role performances”
(p. 694). According to Kahn (1990), the engaged employees are physically
involved in the tasks, whether alone or with other, cognitively concern
employees’ belief about the organization, its leaders and working conditions
and display their thinking and feeling, their beliefs and values in their ways
of working and service. Engagement is not only about physical energies of
involving or accomplish the tasks, but also about the psychological aspects of
how people’s experiences of themselves and their work contexts. So the
definition of employee engagement includes both employees’ psychology about
their work and workplace and the resulted employee’s behaviors in the
Similar to Kahn (1990), many other academic
literatures about employee engagement refers to engagement as psychological
state. Maslach, Schaufeli and Leiter
(2001) suggested that engaged employees have high levels of energy and the
willingness to invest effort in their job without fatigue (Vigor); engaged
employees feel enthusiasm and significance by involving in their work and feel
proud and inspired (Dedication); engaged employees who completely immersed in
their work and feel pleasant (absorption). Later, Hallberg and Schaufeli (2006)
define it as “being charged with energy and fully dedicated to one’s work”
The definitions of engagement in academic
literatures are mostly about employees’ attitude towards their jobs and
companies. IES (the institution of employee studies) which is a center of
research and consultancy in human resource issues investigated 10000 employees
in 14 organizations and defined engagement as “engagement is a positive
attitude held by the employees towards the organization and its values. An
engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to
improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. The
organization must work to nurture, maintain and grow engagement, which requires
a two-way relationship between employer and employee” (Robinson et al., 2004
In one of the researches on employee engagement
of CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) which is the
largest Chartered HR and development professional body in the world, the
employee engagement was defined as “being focused in what you do (thinking),
feeling good about yourself in your role and the organization (feeling), and
acting in a way that demonstrates commitment to the organizational values and
objectives (acting)” (CIPD, 2011).
Other than the academic research, employee
engagement was also defined differently by many international organizations in
their business context. For example, ING suggested an engaged employee will be
energized by work to provide better service to customers and will be more open
to change and deliver better results. In turn, that leads to better business results
Heineken recognizes that engaged employees
understand the ambitions for the company, feel a connection to it, and deliver
on the individual and functional contributions they can make (Heineken, 2012).
Summary of definitions
The definitions which are used by
academic researchers or consultancy and research institutions are mostly about
employees’ emotions, feelings and psychological attitude about the work and the
company. Engaged employees commit to the companies’ values, feel fulfilled and
enthusiastic in their work, they are focused and energized in their work. The
positive outcomes of engagement are also identified in the definitions. Engaged
employees will be fully involved in their work, they are willing to spend time
and make efforts on their work to perform better. Engaged employees will more
behave in the interest of the companies. The companies tend to link the
employee engagement to organizational benefit in the definition. Engaged
employees will deliver better service to customers, make more contributions to
the companies and help the companies achieving their ambitions.
2.2. Employee engagement and
It can lead to confusion that
many definitions of employee engagement have overlaps with other constructs
(i.e. job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job involvement and
organizational citizenship behavior). Many researchers start their study with a
question of “is the engagement old wine in the new bottle?” or “is it same
lady-different dress?” (Hallberg & Schaufeli, 2006; Macey & Schneider,
2008; Newman & Harrison, 2008).