Employee Engagement and the Ethic of Friendship

Cam Caldwell, Verl Anderson, Marija Runic Ristic


The failure of managers and supervisors to earn the trust and followership of the employees with whom they work is well documented in recent research about employee engagement (Clifton & Harter, 2019). Without that employee commitment, organizations inevitably struggle to compete in the global marketplace and fail to achieve their potential (Cameron, 2012). Although much has been discussed in the light of the findings of concerned scholars (HR Research Institute, 2019), disagreement nonetheless exists about the factors which make up employee engagement, as well as the most effective approach that can be taken to increase engagement and those factors. Though there has not been full agreement about the nature of employee engagement, it is widely accepted that the failure of organizations to engage employees has been a serious deterrent to achieving organization results (Clifton & Harter, 2019).

Objective: The purposes of this paper are to offer insights into the precise nature of employee engagement and to identify the value of employers adopting the Ethic of Friendship – an ethical perspective that has begun to be written about more frequently in the management literature.

Methods: We begin the paper by proposing an integrated and updated definition of employee engagement – identifying nine factors which contribute to its makeup.

Results: We suggest that each of these nine factors significantly impact employee engagement and warrant increased attention by organizational leaders. We then address the Ethic of Friendship and its increasingly important role in today’s arms-length and transactional relationship between employers and employees.

Conclusions: The paper then clarifies how the Ethic of Friendship addresses all nine of the factors which constitute employee engagement and explains how the Ethic of Friendship can increase the ability of organization leaders, managers, and supervisors to bridge the gap of distrust that often exists in the modern organization. After identifying five important contributions made by this paper, we conclude by encouraging leaders to adopt the Ethic of Friendship’s commitment to treating employees as valued partners and, by so doing, create a culture in which employee engagement is likely to thrive.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/bmr.v10n1p54


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'Sciedupress.com' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.