Job engagement in higher education

Nguyen T. Pham-Thai, Adela J. McMurray, Nuttawuth Muenjohn, Michael Muchiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Employees’ job engagement is a key driver for organizational success and competitive advantage. Based on Kahn’s engagement theory and social exchange theory, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between job engagement, transformational leadership, high-performance human resource (HR) practices, climate for innovation, and contextual performance. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey, conducted at two different points in time, was employed to collect data from 394 pairs of Vietnamese university academics and their leaders. Data were analyzed by structural equation modeling (SEM) and multilevel SEM using the Statistical Package for Social Science Version 24 and Mplus Version 7.4. Findings: The findings indicated that transformational leadership and high-performance HR practices were key drivers of employees’ job engagement. A climate for innovation contributed effectively to mediate the effect of transformational leadership on employees’ job engagement. Further, employees’ job engagement was positively and significantly related to contextual performance. Research limitations/implications: The short time lag between the two data collection phases might limit the ability to reach definite causal conclusions. Future research using a longitudinal design is needed to provide stronger validation for the underlying model. Originality/value: This study is a rare attempt that investigates the process from which employees’ job engagement is generated and contributes to improve contextual performance in the higher education sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-967
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate for innovation
  • Contextual performance
  • High-performance human resource practices
  • Job engagement
  • Quantitative
  • Transformational leadership
  • University academics


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