Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Fred Switzer, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Raymark

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Sinclair

Abstract

Over the last decade, the concept of employee engagement has attractedsubstantial attention in both research settings and organizational applications (Christian,Garza, & Slaughter, 2011). Research has shown employee engagement to be related toseveral positive organizational outcomes, including employee production, employeeretention, customer satisfaction and company profit (Harter, Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002;Hewitt Associates LLC, 2005). While there has been a recent surge of academic interestin employee engagement, there remains much to be learned about its antecedents. Thisstudy investigates employee engagement within the more established motivationalframework of Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) asproposed by Meyer and Gagne (2008) to determine if satisfying the needs of competence,autonomy, and relatedness through the work environment is associated with increasedlevels of employee engagement and well-being. This study also examines the underlyingneed satisfaction mechanism in detail using a computational modeling approach. Threecompeting models were tested and the "ramp" model, conceptually similar to Herzberg'soriginal formulation of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction (1959), best predicted levels ofemployee engagement in a sample of employees from a large southeastern publicuniversity.

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