• The role of employee engagement and communication in gaining competitive advantage

      Rowland, Caroline; West, Simon R. (University of Chester, 2008)
      There are many challenges facing today’s modern organisations, not least of which is to keep the employee workforce motivated and performing in the way in which the organisation requires in order to attain and sustain competitive advantage, and to satisfy stakeholder expectation. This can be understood as leveraging employee engagement in the organisational workplace. This dissertation reported on a real live and current organisational issue within the Authors most recent employer (The Author left Organisation X on 26/3/08 to complete this dissertation)- Organisation X (The Author has been asked to use any reference to the subject organisation within the dissertation as ‘Organisation X’, in order to maintain anonymity, and preserve any sensitive commercial intelligence regarding strategy and direction), a large UK Plc and a member of the FTSE 250 with c£10bn turnover, and c2300 retail locations; many of them prime High Street. The dissertation debated the impact of employee engagement, what it is, how it links to competitive advantage, the tools and behaviours of employee engagement and the merit to Organisation X of having an engaged workforce in their retail estate, (through which 85% of their profitability is delivered). The paper crucially offers recommendations on what Organisation X can do to progress their employee engagement. Concluding with a critical synthesis of whether Organisation X is following the correct route to leverage their internal resource – the employees, and thus provide maximum value to their stakeholders. The outcomes from this research greatly assisted the Author in developing and communicating his own employee engagement strategy within his area of responsibility thus impacting positively on his domain business and trading performance. These outcomes yielded an opportunity to be adopted in the peer areas of Organisation X’s retail network thus building a firm platform for competitive advantage, which in turn drives performance ahead of the sector market, and delivers growth in shareholder value. A robust research methodology is provided, discussing aspects of research philosophy (epistemology; ontology), research methodology (qualitative; phenomenalist and inductive approach), research methods (two-way feedback questionnaire and focus groups) and ethical considerations. A literature review of the main content and process theories of employee engagement is set out and discussed. This proposal would be useful for anyone interested in organisational employee engagement, (specifically aligned to the case organisation), how it links to competitive advantage and to those who want to know how to write a coherent dissertation with a strong methodology and literature review.