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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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6 Conclusions

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6 Conclusions

My research is aimed at understanding processes and decisions of keeping and leaving jobs in present-day Bucharest organizations. I start from a discursive perspective on decision making, which highlights the importance of the definition of the situation for any course of action. I continue the sociological approach of C. Wright Mills (1940) and focus on the role of vocabularies of motive in accounting for decisions retrospectively and shaping decisions prospectively. Therefore, I chose to study vocabularies of motive for keeping and leaving jobs, retrospectively, in order to clarify similar decisions that lead to these actions, prospectively.

I aim to understand how people frame their decisions of staying or leaving their organization by (re)defining their employment situation and how they justify their choices through their professional experiences. Starting from interview accounts I examine how the employee disengagement process unfolds and how people motivate their choices regarding their jobs.

Until now, employee disengagement was studied mostly through a positivistic methodology, without paying attention to how discourses shape employees’ relationship with their organizations. In dialogue and also in counterdistinction to previous research on employee disengagement, I decided to engage the topic through a qualitative research based on discourse analysis. This is how I attempt to identify discursive types and sub-types of employee disengagement, constituted from vocabularies of motive and rhetorical resources people employ to motivate their persistence or abandonment.

Furthermore, in dialogue with the current scientific literature of employee disengagement, I aim...

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