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Orla Byrne and Joe MacDonagh

Abstract

Employee engagement is an important construct in management research as engaged employees not only perform better in their jobs but also feel happier and more fulfilled in the workplace. Employee engagement is a function of the job resources employees have in coping with their job demands. This paper makes a threefold contribution to the existing engagement literature by: (1) exploring this construct with a sample of third-level academics in the Irish public sector – a relatively unmapped sample in engagement research, (2) identifying organisational support as a key job resource that enables academics to cope with their job demands and (3) proposing that employee engagement reflects how strongly an employee puts his or her heart into work – suggesting a reconceptualization of engagement as love. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.