Mind the context gap: a critical review of engagement within the public sector and an agenda for future research.


In this review paper, we critically examine the evidence base relating to engagement within the public sector given a wide range of public services have faced acute human resource challenges over recent years. Our review of 188 empirical studies reveals that much of the evidence focuses attention on individual and job level factors, such that specific public sector contextual contingencies have rarely been considered. Through identifying significant ‘context gaps’, we present a future research agenda addressing the following key areas: i) clarifying the relationship between engagement and public service motivation, ii) further contextualizing general engagement models, iii) exploring cultural, socio-political, and institutional factors in more depth, iv) encouraging a more critical perspective on engagement, v) understanding the variation in the experience of engagement across different public services/delivery models, and vi) connecting more strongly with practical concerns and initiatives within public organizations. In presenting this agenda, we highlight how engagement and HRM scholars can more strongly embed their research within a sectoral context.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674358
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in The International Journal of Human Resource Management on 15 Oct 2019, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09585192.2019.1674358
Uncontrolled Keywords: contextualization,employee engagement,public services,research agenda,systematic review,work engagement,Strategy and Management,Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management,Management of Technology and Innovation
Publication ISSN: 1466-4399
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 07:36
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 10:39
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.tan ... 92.2019.1674358 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-01-01
Published Online Date: 2019-10-15
Accepted Date: 2019-09-10
Authors: Fletcher, Luke (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7238-3480)
Bailey, Catherine
Alfes, Kerstin
Madden, Adrian



Version: Accepted Version

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