Factors influencing engagement of employees in management in Kenya
Otachi, Bogonko E
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The expertise and influence of managers can significantly impact the performance and success of an organisation. It is important for managers to be engaged if they are to engage the rest of the workforce. Engaging managers involves creating an environment where they can be absorbed, dedicated and invigorated in their roles. Using the social exchange theory as a basis, this quantitative study sought to assess the factors that influence engagement of management employees in Kenya. The factors examined were communication, reward and recognition, empowerment and co-worker relationships. Using self-administered questionnaires, data was collected from 157 respondents out of a target sample of 385 management employees selected using simple random sampling and snowballing methods. Contrary to findings of most local studies that indicate high employee engagement in organisations in Kenya, this study found that only 26% of management employees in Kenya are fully engaged in their work. An in-depth analysis showed that most managers are dedicated and absorbed in their work, but lack vigor, a sign of burn-out. While certain dimensions such as work autonomy and direct supervisor relationship ranked high in boosting engagement, managers acknowledged that limited employee voice, less participation and low recognition negatively affected their engagement. Increasing communication and involuntary responsibilities negatively affected engagement of middle-level managers. The study recommends that employers consider platforms where managers can give their input on matters affecting the organisation and participate more in shaping the organisational strategies. The study highlights the importance of research design in determining the outcome of research. Respondents of a general survey provided contrasting results to that of case-studies. It also highlights the importance of in-depth analysis when studying variables. In this study, deeper insights were obtained by examining the dimensions of variables rather than just the overall variable measure. Further insights were obtained by comparing and contrasting outcomes based on respondents’ backgrounds according to different dimensions. The study provides a basis for further research on engagement specifically on topics such as communication channels, employee participation, employee voice and peer relationships.