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Engagement - What does it mean? : What's New?

Engagement - What does it mean?

by Michael Breazeale on 09/18/11

But what does it mean?

Engagement is a construct that a lot of academics and practitioners talk about, but we can't really agree on what it means.  Advertising types think they know.  To them, it's when an ad viewer feels "switched on" by the ad.  Management types think they know.  To them, it's when an employee feels that they are a part of the firm.  Consumer behavioralist types know they don't know, but they think about it a lot.  Even consumer types have a version of engagement.  To them, it means that they're about to be married.

Is there a common thread that runs through all of these concepts?  To me, it would seem to be a desire to participate in the object of engagement.  Engaged ad viewers are intrigued by the ad and want to particpate by having the product.  Engaged employees have a desire to participate fully in the business of their employer.  Engaged consumers want to partipate in the experience of the product or service or their surroundings.  And even engaged individuals are expressing their desire to participate in marriage.

So if engagement is a construct that we all talk about, we need to agree on what it means in order to fully study and measure it.  I suggest that engagement can be simply stated.

Engagement is an affective desire to participate in focal object.

This works for all disciplines and allows us to begin trying to effectively measure the construct.

What do you think?  Send me your ideas about engagement at  I would love to hear what other people think.

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