James Muntwyler: Employee engagement in public services in regards of the organizational autonomy

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Management Summary

Engagement is not only a perception, or a vague feeling of what one should show to demonstrate a positive behavior. It is more than that; it is a global positive state of mind that fosters the individuals to perform beyond the responsibilities and the objectives assigned to them. Engagement is the magical wand that enables the people to perform the extra-mile, to deliver more than expected, to create the differentiation and the novelty.
The last century went through many innovations in the field of the productivity enhancement. This need to deliver more, to transform the way the industry produces is and remains a never ending story. The human kind is living in a constant fast growing world, where political, economic, social, environmental and ethical dimensions influence the minimum required level of earnings or productivity. This unsatisfied need to progress has begun starting with the industrial process optimization, followed up with the first social initiatives and fair wages, up to in the golden years, with the birth of the financial incentives. All these concepts or strategies have only one aim, to motivate the employees. But despite all these motivating mechanism, after a certain period of time the motivation of the employees lost progressively in enthusiasm. Something was not right or missing in the motivation philosophy. At that time the employee motivation was principally concentrated on external basic needs such as physiological or safety with wages and job security. But this was not enough to maintain motivation over time. Gradually the individuals need moved up the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, towards the self-actualization and self-esteem. Or in other words the growth needs. These higher level needs are principally internally oriented and much more difficult to drive for an organization, because they are intangible. All these late concepts have driven a new philosophy of research in the field of organizational behavior, employee engagement.
Employee engagement is a global positive and persistent state of mind that is driven by various key drivers. This master thesis has for aim to identify which key drivers influence or impact the most the engagement of the employees and thereafter deliver to the management a set of actions to increase the engagement of the collaborators and the productivity of the all organization.
This research has demonstrated that the intuitive motivators perceived by the organizations such as wages and leadership are not necessarily the top contributors to the employee engagement. The results show a high correlation between the personal development and the job design with the engagement of an individual. This corroborates the doctrine change between lower and higher needs, such as growth needs. This analyze also demonstrate an important relation between the level of organizational autonomy and the engagement of the employees.
Based on the findings of this study, various actions to foster the engagement of the employees in the different public services that participated to this study are proposed. These actions also show that the space for improvement is always available, because the human environment is in constant change and as long that the human kind will need to interact with each other, there will be as many ways to motivate or engage individuals that there are different human minds and behaviors.

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