Self-management strategies of graduate employees to enhance work engagement

Nelesh Dhanpat, Dorothy L. Danguru, Oyisa Fetile, Kholeka Kekana, Kholosa N. Mathetha, Sphiwe F. Nhlabathi, Elmain Ruiters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Orientation: The hiring of graduates is valuable to organisations. It is necessary to understand the self-management behaviours they display and the behaviours required to keep them engaged. Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how self-management strategies enhance work engagement of recent graduates who find themselves in a new environment of the world of work. Motivation for the study: Employee engagement is of both academic and practitioner interest. With organisations hiring graduates, it is valuable to understand the self-management behaviours needed to remain engaged. Research approach/design and method: A qualitative research approach was employed through an interpretivist research paradigm. A purposive sample of 12 graduate employees (median age = 24) in various fields of work were interviewed (women = 11, men = 1; black = 11, coloured = 1). The graduates participated in semi-structured interviews. A thematic analysis was conducted and five themes emerged. Main findings: Through an inductive approach, the five themes that emerged concerning self-management strategies used by graduates to enhance their work engagement are goal setting, self-cueing, self-observation, self-reward and self-punishment and work engagement practices. Practical/managerial implications: Self-management strategies help to sustain an engaged workforce. Organisations that make use of graduate recruitment will largely benefit from the findings. Contribution/value-add: There is limited research on the topic pertaining to graduate employees. Graduates remain relevant in the organisation, and hence, the study makes a contribution to theory and practice. A model is presented with recommendations for graduates and the organisation, which, when implemented, have the potential to enhance work engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1857
JournalSA Journal of Industrial Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Graduates
  • Self-cueing
  • Self-goal-setting
  • Self-management
  • Self-observation
  • Self-punishment
  • Self-reward
  • Work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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