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The Discursive Dimension of Employee Engagement and Disengagement

Accounts of keeping and leaving jobs in present-day Bucharest organizations

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Alina Petra Marinescu

The book analyses organizational disengagement and its consequences at an organizational and at an individual level. The author argues for the existence of an additional dimension of employee disengagement, namely discursive disengagement. It is a distinctive dimension with respect to its dependence on a specific work of the employee. The author engages with discourse analysis to classify employee disengagement trajectories, vocabularies of motive and rhetorical resources. She analyses how people frame their decisions of staying or leaving organizations by defining their employment situation and how they justify their choices through their professional experiences.

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2 Introduction

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2 Introduction

Within my doctoral thesis, I study accounts of organizational disengagement in order to understand processes and decisions of keeping and leaving jobs in present-day Bucharest organizations. In dialogue with current studies of employee disengagement I aim to conceptualize “discursive disengagement”, starting from interview accounts.

Thus, I aim to find out how people account for their decisions of leaving or sticking to jobs in different organizations in Bucharest, analyzing the disengagement process as it unfolds in people’s stories of their experiences and interpretations.

I look to identify discursive types and sub-types of employee disengagement, several vocabularies of motive (Mills, 1940) and rhetorical features employed to justify persistence or abandonment.

If until now the concept has been studied mostly in a positivistic perspective, I engage with discourse analysis to classify employee disengagement trajectories, vocabularies of motive and rhetorical resources that might help employers, employees and coaching practitioners to deal with organizational disengagement and its unwanted consequences at an organizational and at individual level.

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