Work engagement: An emerging concept in occupational health psychology

Arnold B. Bakker, Wilmar B. Schaufeli, Michael P. Leiter, Toon W. Taris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1376 Citations (Scopus)


This position paper introduces the emerging concept of work engagement: a positive, fulfilling, affective-motivational state of work-related well-being that is characterized by vigour, dedication, and absorption. Although there are different views of work engagement, most scholars agree that engaged employees have high levels of energy and identify strongly with their work. The most often used instrument to measure engagement is the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, a self-report instrument that has been validated in many countries across the world. Research on engagement has investigated how engagement differs from related concepts (e.g., workaholism, organizational commitment), and has focused on the most important predictors of work engagement. These studies have revealed that engagement is a unique concept that is best predicted by job resources (e.g., autonomy, supervisory coaching, performance feedback) and personal resources (e.g., optimism, self-efficacy, self-esteem). Moreover, the first studies have shown that work engagement is predictive of job performance and client satisfaction. The paper closes with an account of what we do not know about work engagement, and offers a brief research agenda for future work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-200
Number of pages14
JournalWork and Stress
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Burnout
  • Job resources
  • Performance
  • Work engagement
  • Workaholism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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