Thursday, 21 August 2008

Engagement undefined

Definitions of engagement are woolly and soft. People don’t say what it is but they work around it.

For Axelrod engagement is a “paradigm for change” (Axelrod, 2001)
For Block engagement is “the art of bringing people together” (Block, 2000)
For Buckingham it is “a journey of sensing and learning” (Buckingham, 2005)
For the NAO, engagement is “a critical element of a consulting project” (NAO, 2006)
For Robinson, engagement is a two way relationship between employee and employer (Robinson D, 2004).
For Smythe it is a management philosophy (Smythe, 2007).
For McMaster it is a “process of communication” (McMaster, 1996)
For Wenger, mutual engagement is a dimension of a community of practice that involves processes of community building (Wenger, 1998)

So engagement is:
  • A paradigm
  • A journey
  • An element
  • A relationship
  • A philosophy
  • A process
  • A dimension
  • An art

Can I reconcile all these metaphors?

AXELROD, R. H. (2001) Terms of engagement: changing the way we change organizations, San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler.
BLOCK, P. (2000) Flawless Consulting: a guide to getting your expertise used, Jossey-Bass/Fpeiffer.
BUCKINGHAM, M. (2005) Chapter FOUR: 'Buy-in', not by-pass: the rules of engagement. Leadership for Leaders. Thorogood Publishing Ltd.
MCMASTER, M. D. (1996) The Intelligence Advantage: organizing for complexity, Butterworth-Heinemann.
NAO (2006) Central Government's use of consultants: Building client and consultant commitment. National Audit Office.
ROBINSON D, P. S., HAYDAY S (2004) The Drivers of Employee Engagement. Institute for Employment Studies.
SMYTHE, J. (2007) The CEO chief engagement officer: turning hierarchy upside down to drive performance, Gower.
WENGER, E. (1998) Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

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