Saturday, 2 August 2008

Assumptions about engagement

I'm assuming that the unit of analysis is the project. Why is it the project, because if it's the project is there a problem with the project? Is there a problem with IT projects in the public sector? And if there is a problem why does engagement have anything to do with the problem?
  • The NAO report (NAO, 2006) assumes that engagement is a good thing.
  • I'm assuming engagement is a process.
  • I'm assuming engagement is not a widely recognised management construct.
  • I am assuming one kind of engagement exists. Or does it vary depending on something? What? Perhaps it's its quality that varies. I note that the quality of engagement requires: reciprocity, shared decision making, a high level of interest, and is action for something worth doing.
But some studies measure engagement, such as the IES. Though I don't have free access to its reports its summary defines engagement:
"a positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and its values"
I'm not sure that the NAO writers meant the same thing. The IES survey used a diagnostic tool that ranged from training & development to job satisfaction, which to me sounds like motivation and motivating factors {Marcum, 1999}, so something other than engagment. And I don't think the NAO would measure its senior responsible owners engagement on the same characteristics as the IES uses.

NAO (2006) Central Government's use of consultants: Building client and consultant commitment National Audit Office
Marcum, J. W. (1999) 'Out With Motivation, in With Engagement', National Productivity Review (Wiley), 18 (4), pp. 43-46.

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