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The Discursive Dimension of Employee Engagement and Disengagement

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


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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5 Interview accounts of keeping and leaving jobs


5 Interview accounts of keeping and leaving jobs

The next part of my paper is dedicated to the analysis of the collection of in-depth interviewees. In this respect, I engaged with discourse analysis to look into the respondents’ accounts and make sense of the unfolding of their professional experiences and decisions of keeping or leaving their jobs.

My analysis showed that the interviewee’s accounts had a sequential form given by peoples’ emotions in relation to their professional experiences unfolding. Hence, I marked out two main emotional sequences and I discussed them in the next section of the present paper. The first emotional sequence (from enthusiasm to disappointment; section 5.1.1) was observed in the interviewees who decided to leave their jobs in the end. In this case, I made out four leaving trajectories according to the attribution of failure done by the employees (see Table 2).

The second emotional sequence (from enthusiasm to perseverance; section 5.1.2) referred to interviewees who kept their jobs notwithstanding the encountered difficulties.

The difference between the two sequences was given by an observed emotional threshold (an obstacle), a turning point in the employees’ experiences. The interviewees who matched the first sequence did not succeed into overcoming the emerged obstacle, while the ones in the second sequence were able to deal with the appeared inconsistencies and moved forward with their jobs. In the first case, I observed several instances of re-definition of the initial working situations (Thomas, 1928) that...

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