module specification

HR7060 - Employee Engagement (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Employee Engagement
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Essay
Coursework 70%   Case study paper
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Evening
Autumn semester North Tuesday Evening

Module summary

Crucial to the delivery of superior organisational performance is the extent to which the employees of an organisation feel involved, committed and engaged. This module explores the different dimensions of employee engagement, that is, the cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions. It examines and explores what is meant by ‘engagement’ and why some organisations are better than others at creating authentic engagement among their employees, and what any organisation can do, with the aid of its human resource (HR) professionals, to create high levels of workforce engagement.

The module will equip learners with a comprehensive academic understanding of the concept of ‘engagement’ and how it can be applied in an organisational setting and within an international context. It explores the research-based and philosophical connections between employee engagement and other related beliefs, values, leadership models and management practice. The module will also focus on the multi-dimensional relationships between employment relations, reward, equality and engagement.

This module provides learners with knowledge and understanding of the rationale for the emergence of employee engagement as a key priority for organisations with high-performance working (HPW) aspirations and will enable them to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to assess the research, experiential and anecdotal evidence surrounding both the processes that facilitate employee engagement and the outcomes that may follow.  The module counsels caution in the assessment and interpretation of ‘evidence’ about the processes and benefits of engagement and the need to guard against tendencies towards rhetoric, as many studies lack empirical detail and devote excessive attention to views of those with a vested interest in reporting progress and success. Employee engagement, if properly understood, carefully implemented and objectively measured, is a powerful tool for delivering positive and ‘bottom-line’ outcomes.

Learners will explore techniques needed to measure engagement, take remedial action or embed engagement-enhancing cultural practices, and to identify, prioritise and evaluate actions to promote high levels of engagement. The module requires critical reflection on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint and provides opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development.

Module aims

1) To enable students to understand and analyse contemporary employee engagement theory and practice.

2) To demonstrate how engagement theory, models and diagnostic frameworks can be used to facilitate a better understanding of engagement and its application.

3) To develop awareness of the importance of the outer and inner contexts of organisations and the factors which impact upon employee engagement strategies and policies.

4) To equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement strategic interventions and action plans in an organisational setting.


1: Placing employee engagement in context

2: Conceptualising employee engagement

3: Understanding the business case for building engagement 

4: Employee engagement: Developing a strategic approach

5: The engaging manager

6: Exploring the dynamics between engagement and employment relations

7: Reward: the relationship with employee engagement

8: Equality, diversity and inclusion: Implications for engagement

9: Engagement in the context of global HR strategy and international working

10: Where to go from here: Integration and future research on work engagement

11: Conducting case study investigations into employee engagement

12: Engagement: Summary and concluding discussion

Learning and teaching

Delivery of the module is based on a mix of lectures, seminars, discussion groups supported by Weblearn materials and directed learning activities. Students will be issued with a module handbook, and guidance on readings, most of which will be available through the Learning Centre, others through Weblearn.  All participants will be required to read relevant materials in advance of seminar sessions in order that these can be student-led.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the concept of employee engagement, both intrinsically and also as an instrument for facilitating high-level business purposes.
  2. Explain the empirical and philosophical connections between employee engagement, managerial leadership, strategic aspirations and HR strategies focused on infrastructure maintenance and also the development of human resource management (HRM) competitive differentiators.
  3. Explore the critical contribution of employee engagement as a route to strategic, reputational and competitive excellence within a high-performance working environment.
  4. Design and undertake an analysis of the relationships, causal or correlational, between levels of employee engagement and organisational performance, measured by both process efficiencies and corporate outcomes.
  5. Create justified, cost-effective and strategically defensible action plans for promoting employee engagement within their own organisations and elsewhere.
  6. Systematically evaluate levels of employee engagement within organisations, functions and business units, and recommend or implement programmes designed to achieve remedial changes or embed levels of engagement already accomplished.
  7. Identify and critically evaluate the personal and situational factors which influence organisational commitment and engagement.
  8. Understand the relationships linking employment relations, reward practices, equality and wider organisational outcomes such as engagement and performance.
  9. Appreciate employee engagement practices and debates from an international perspective

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed through TWO components, as follows:
Component  1:  Academic paper (Literature review, Essay) (30%).
Component 2:  Case study paper (Empirical investigation into engagement) (70%).

Pass on aggregate combining each component
1. The 1,500 word essay asks each individual student to develop a well-referenced academic paper with a critical discussion on Employee Engagement from a theoretical perspective. A list of essay choices will be provided by the tutor at the start of the module. (Submission: end week 8).

2. The 3,500 word case study paper involves each participant acting as an ‘internal consultant’ by developing a piece which critically evaluates employee engagement in their organisations or in an organisation known to them with a view to identifying good practice, diagnosing problems and barriers and suggesting improvement strategies. If a student is not able to access a case study organisation, the paper can be completed by way of conducting an investigation into engagement amongst a small sample of people who are or have worked in an organisation (using convenience sampling). If this is not possible, then (and only with the permission of the tutor) the student may engage in desktop research  - critically evaluating engagement in case study organisations through utilising academic journals, reports, advocacy advice, best practice guidance and case study reports.  (Submission: end week 15)


Key texts:
Albrecht, S.L. (Ed.) (2010) Handbook of Employee Engagement: Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice, Edward Elgar Publishing
Bakker, A. and Leiter, M. (2010) Work Engagement: A Handbook of Essential Theory and Research, Psychology Press: Hove and New York.
Macey,W., Schneider, B., Barbera, K., Young, S. (2011) Employee Engagement: Tools for Analysis, Practice and Competitive Advantage, Wiley Blackwell.
McGee, R. And Rennie, A. (2011) Employee Engagement: a CIPD toolkit, CIPD.
Truss, K., Soane, E., Edwards, C., Wisdom, K., Croll, A., Burnett, J. (2006) Working Life: Employee Attitudes and Engagement 2006, CIPD.

Important texts:
Accor: Reward to Engage: Rewards, Benefits and Employee Engagement in Today’s Organisations and at
Armstrong, M. (2010) Armstrong’s Essential Human Resource Management Practice: A Guide to People Management, Kogan Page Publishers.
Bakker, A.B., Hakanen, J.J, Demerouti, E., & Xanthopoulou, D. (2007) Job resources boost work engagement particularly when job demands are high. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 274-284.
Corporate Leadership Council, Corporate Executive Board (2004)’Driving Performance and Retention through Employee Engagement: a quantitative analysis of effective engagement strategies’ at
French, R. (2010) Cross- Cultural Management in Work Organisations, 2nd ed., CIPD.
International Journal of Human Resource Management, Issue 14, 2013: Special Issue on Employee Engagement.
Krueger, J. & Killham, E (2007) ‘The Innovation Equation’. Gallup Management Journal 
MacLeod, D & Clarke, N. (2010) Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement. Great Britain: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Melcrum (2005), Employee Engagement: How to Build A High Performance Workforce
Relations Survey. Also at
Right Management (2006), Measuring True Employee Engagement, A CIPD Report.
Towers Perrin-ISR (2006) The ISR Employee Engagement Report.
Truss, C. and Alfes, K. (2013) Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice, Routledge.
Salaman, Agut and Peiro (2005) “Linking organisational resources and work engagement to employee performance and customer loyalty: the mediation of service climate” Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, pp.1217-1227.
Saks, A.M (2006) “Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 21, No.7.

Useful websites: