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Employment relations and employee engagement
Employment relations and employee engagement

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3.1 The role of leaders

Certainly it seems that employee engagement should only ever be one consideration in the design of HRM policies and practices. However, many commentators seem to agree on the importance of leadership in providing an effective strategic narrative (Breevaart et al., 2014; Sparrow, 2014). Soane states that ‘leaders play a pivotal role in creating the environment within which employees can engage with their work’ and they ‘make the difference between work as a mundane grind, devoid of meaning and purpose and work as an enriching and fulfilling experience that provides an essential source of identity which infuses all aspects of being’ (Soane, 2014, p. 149). Looking in more detail, some research has suggested that different styles or approaches to leadership might facilitate different engagement outcomes. For example, Sarti (2014) finds that participative leadership styles are related to dedication and vigour dimensions of engagement and an authoritative leadership style is related to absorption and vigour. A participative leadership style is one in which leaders involve subordinates in decision-making and act to clarify and coordinate roles (Sarti, 2014), while in contrast, authoritative leaders tend to focus on routines and setting clear performance expectations for subordinates.