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Typecast? The False Dichotomy Of Engaged And Disengaged Employees

Defining employees as either engaged or disengaged risks over-simplifying the complex web of behaviours that people exhibit at work. In articles and research relating to the workplace, we hear a lot about workers who are engaged or disengaged with their work, as if workplace behaviour can be simplified to a one-dimensional continuum. Workers are not simply engaged or disengaged, but have a vast, complex and interdependent web of states, thoughts and drivers. The interactions between these internal factors and external ones like co-workers and working practice make for a huge range of different potential combinations of worker types rather than the overly-simplistic engaged or disengaged states we are constantly presented with. Active disengagement describes the employees who are not simply unhappy at work, but resentful that their needs are not being met and displaying behaviours that can inhibit the work of others. These workers do things that make the jobs of engaged workers more difficult: act uncooperatively, waste the time of others and even make others toxic as well. Golden Geese enhance the effectiveness of the organisation itself, adding value not just in the work that they directly do, but helping other employees to add value as well.

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