Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Describing the relationship between workplace engagement and attachment theory
by Hudson, Dale L., Psy.D., Phillips Graduate Institute, 2010, 125; 3497358
Abstract (Summary)

This study proposes that the individual's attachment style affects the amount of effort, energy, and exploration the individual is capable of employing to support the organization. If the link between attachment theory and workplace engagement is better understood, organizations can shape their engagement programs to encourage and support the employee's use of more productive behaviors.

This study used a 28-question survey conducted online. The primary variable of interest in the current study is the participants' level of workplace engagement.

Invitations were sent to 239 individuals. One hundred forty eight individuals, a response rate of 61.9%, returned the Workplace Survey. Of the 148 responses, 32 were excluded from analysis because the individuals failed to answer 32% or more of the questions asked. Thus, 116 responses were analyzed ( N=116). The item response rate for the 116 responses was 99.5% (See Appendix I).

Of the four attachment styles—secure, preoccupied, dismissing, and fearful—those individuals with a secure attachment-style showed a significant difference in their level of engagement from those individuals with a dismissing and fearful attachment style groups. While some difference was noted in the levels of engagement across all attachment style groups, contrary to the second hypothesis, the engagement scores of the participants in the preoccupied group did not significantly differ in their level of engagement with those in the dismissing or fearful groups.

Future research in attachment theory and its application to the workplace could help everyone in the organization to deal with ongoing issues such as leadership, trust, communication, empowerment, and diversity.

Attachment characterizes the secure employee as one who is relatively flexible to new learning and organizational change. Secure employees approach the workplace with the belief that whatever change is occurring, they have the capacity to understand, adapt, and initiate the changes required to support the organization's goals and objectives. Conversely, the defensive strategies (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999; Kummel 1999) exhibited by insecure employees are unconsciously designed to protect them from becoming more engaged in the workplace—making them relatively inflexible to new learning and change, and counter-productive to organizational success. This study represents an exciting next step in demonstrating the attachment theory's ability to broaden our understanding and scope of workplace engagement. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Indexing (document details)
School: Phillips Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Attachment theory, Workplace engagement
Publication Number: 3497358
ISBN: 978-1-267-17926-5
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