Employee engagement is recognised as a facilitator of positive work performance and greater employee wellbeing. As such fostering employee engagement is of significant interest to Further Education and Training (FET) organisational leaders, as they seek a competitive advantage in the sector. Whilst the connection between leadership and employee engagement has been identified, the role of the leader in fostering employee engagement has received limited research attention. The significance of this study lies in its particular focus on the perceived impact of the dyadic exchange relationship between the leader and the follower on employee engagement through the mediating mechanism of optimism. Optimism is recognised as a personal resource linked to multiple organisational outcomes including employee engagement. Prior studies have confirmed it as a direct predictor of employee engagement and as mediating mechanism in the leadership and engagement relationship. A deductive, quantitative approach was used and data was gathered from 156 respondents in three Education and Training Boards (ETBs) using an online survey. Subsequent regression and mediation analysis revealed that optimism is mediating between LMX and Employee engagement at the 95% level. In addition, optimism is also found to mediate between components of LMX and Employee Engagement. This study makes a practical contribution by facilitating a new understanding of the pivotal role of high quality LMX relationships between managers and FET teaching staff in driving employee engagement. An understanding of findings confirming the differential value of LMX currencies and LMX as a distal predictor of employee engagement through optimism will support FET leaders seeking to drive employee engagement in their organisations. The theoretical contribution of this study is based on its position as the first study to confirm that optimism mediates the LMX and employee engagement relationship. In this way it builds on the work of prior studies which confirmed LMX as a predictor of employee engagement.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2017|
- Employee Engagement, Leader Member Exchange, Optimism, Mediator, Regression, Mediation