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Narrative and Resolution Submission Assignment of Leading the Engaged Enterprise

Assignment 2 – A Multi-Part Assignment:

Part 1: Individual 10%; (This is done, assignment below)

Part 2: Narrative and Resolution (20%) 

 “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”(Wenger, 1998, p. 1). This assignment seeks to leverage group knowledge and expertise to identify and remove barriers to employee engagement in a fictional firm. By utilising the approach used in this fictional firm, and by learning from the shared experience of peers, group members may be able to identify similar barriers in the workplace and enact courses of action to overcome them.

Part 1: Organisational context (10%) 1000 – 1300 words; DONE

Identify a barrier to employee engagement within your organisation that would also be common to other organisations and explain how it affects employee engagement. Your write up must be clear in identifying what you consider employee engagement, and the effect that the barrier has in preventing employee engagement. Ensure you provide sufficient contextual information.

To help you in this assignment, you have been asked to complete series of questions, respond two different scales that are used to measure Employee Engagement and one scale to measure contextual ambidexterity. Please note that NONE of this data will be used for research purposes. They will be retained for one year (in line with University teaching policy) and then erased. You can use your responses to help you think about specific features of your organization and the barriers to engagement that might exist. These responses may also assist in writing up the group narrative, the next assignment.

Part 2: Narrative and Resolution (25%) 1,500 words (Narrative) 2,500 words (Resolution); See the LMS site for the deadline. TOTAL words 4,000

Within your group, construct a narrative for a fictional organization on employee engagement that includes elements of barriers identified by each group member. While one group member’s experience may form the core of the narrative, elements of barriers identified by each group member must be included in the narrative. To construct the narrative, the group needs to consider, but not be bound to, the data from Part 1. Use the scores (scale) to help create your fictional firm.

How might you go about creating the account of the barrier in this narrative assignment?

By incorporating the input from the group’s members, a plausible account must be created, e.g. one group member reports that it is a family firm with no career opportunities for non-family members as being a barrier for low employee engagement. Another might report that the boss, a long-time, trusted family friend, is an echo chamber, reflecting the opinion of the last person she spoke to; while a third reports of high workloads. Include each of these elements in your write up, and you get a firm where there is high employee turnover and work intensification, due to high workloads and with limited career progression. The result is employees are constantly manoeuvring for personal gain in the short time that they are there, with power struggles occurring constantly. The result is poor employee engagement arising from a low sense of community.

Once you have constructed the narrative, sensemake your system: that is identify the stakeholders, their interests and their loyalties and name the game that is being currently played and name the game that should be played.

 Then, using concepts, tools and techniques from the course, write a report that analyses the key barrier to employee engagement and the adaptive challenge associated with this barrier. Describe how developing the capabilities of the DLM, you can enhance engagement (however you define it) and facilitate the development of ambidexterity in the organization. Remember, you are not solving ALL the problems of the organization. You are solving one part of a much bigger jigsaw. Demonstrate how your part fits into the wider picture of engagement and ambidexterity.

 Note:  Please identify the Adaptive challenge of the literature.

Organisational write up identifies a barrier to employee engagement* that is relatively common 10
Origins of the barrier are outlined clearly 15
Clear context is provided to understand the origins of the barrier to employee engagement 5
Weighted down to 10%
Narrative reflects elements of barriers identified by each group member 10
Narrative is internally consistent and convincing 15
Narrative depicts the antecedents of the barrier to employee engagement clearly 20
Characterisation of type of Adaptive challenge is substantiated 15
Advocated solution to removing the barrier is grounded in application of concepts, tools and techniques to develop distributed leadership 20
Implications for the development of engagement and ambidexterity are clearly outlined 20
Total 100
Weighted down to 25%

 *within this narrative, a group definition of employee engagement must be provided. This definition must be synthesised from the individual definitions from the individual write up as well as from the literature and readings.

Other references Ancona, D., Kochan, T., Scully, M., Van Maanen, J., &Westnet, D.E. 2005. Leadership in Managing for the future. Ancona et al. South-Western: Mason.Collins, J. 2001. Good to great. Random House: London.Williams, D. 2005. Real leadership. Berrett-Koehler: San Francisco.Heifetz, Ronald. 1994. Leadership without easy answers.Belknap: Cambridge, Mass.Heifetz, R. &Linsky M. 2002. Leadership on the line: Staying alive through the dangers of leading. HBS Publishing: Boston, Mass.Oettingen, G. (2014) Rethinking positive thinking. Penguin: New York.

Organizational context (Assignment 2, Part 1) – This is done.  Need to enhance.

Identify a barrier to employee engagement within your organization that would also be common to other organizations and explain how it affects employee engagement. Your write up must be clear in identifying what you consider employee engagement, and the effect that the barrier has in preventing employee engagement. Ensure you provide sufficient contextual information.

Below is my assignment. “Fictional” organization name “HP”.



Employee Engagement has become a trending topic as it influence the organization’s performance.  Engagement is shown as commitment and dedication by the employees to benefit the organization.  They strive tomaximize their potential and dedication to boost productivity (Suff, 2008).

 Engagement directs individual to amplify and acquire new knowledge, it exist at different levels.  People performed diverse tasks but would add value to the organization from different perspectives.Employee engagement will help fulfill the desired vision and goals of the organization tremendously (Bates, 2004).

 The key barrier to employee engagement in my organization“HP”, which is common to other organizations, is Psychological Barrier.  The factors are bureaucracy, heavy workloads and trust.

 Lockwood (2007) assessed that bureaucracy and over-worked conduct in associations disengaged the employees.  It leads employees to feel powerlessness and anxiety.  These discoveries are underpinned via examine by Roffey Park Institute, who found that hefty workload resulted in poor management and correspondingly became main barrier to engagement.  This is more evident during times of change, combined with bureaucracy and lack of time to achieve work target.  It is the major de-motivating factor. Further, workload is constantly a standout amongst the greatest reason for anxiety (Sinclair A, et al., 2008).

At “Employee Engagement Summit in 2009”, John Purcell Strategic, Academic Advisor, Employment Relation of ACAS National,deliberated the six factors that limit or damage engagement.  These includes:no break in lengthyworking hours, fear of job loss during recession, unfairness in paycheck and reward system, inadequate space forrepetitive work with short cycle times such as call centers, highly stressful jobs with little flexibility or autonomy, poor line management bullying and behaviors.

Based on Beech ad Akerson (2003, cited in Pech and Slade, 2006) and BlessingWhite (2008) found that non-trusting mindset may cause disengagement, especially from the senior management.  Purcell (2009) suggested absence of trust would affect employee commitment.  These two evidences suggested disengagement: the lower trust availability resulted in lower engagement.

According to May et al. (2004), time spent on non-work related activities predicted lower trust availability scores.  Those who do not unwind find difficulty to engage (Sonnentag, 2003).  Hence, it is vital to ensure employees should have work-life balance lifestyle and personal well-being physically and emotionally.

People cannot expand their energy at the highest levels at all time – there is a need for recovery to ensure continued employee well-being.”  (Macey and Schneider, 2008b).

Key measurements of successful Employee Engagement / Context Ambidexterity 

At “HP”, we embrace sustained growth and constant improvements.“SCALE” survey aimed at uplifting engagement levels. One of the highly impactful tools to promote and sustain growth from the inside out.  In 2017, we made subtle changes that would help improve productivity and deliver better results.

The powerful manifests of a truly engaged team willingness to contribute to the conversation.  On 30 June, “SCALE”Employee survey with an impressive 91% participation.  It reflected the willingness to brainstorm and improve the work processes, develop people and build the future-readiness mindset.

Engagement is about being energized by what we are working on and doing what we are passionate.  The best matrix for organization health-check, it measurement parameters include what people view about “HP”, whether they plan to stay with “HP”and how they strive to achieve and advance.

“To include the two different scales that are used to measure Employee Engagement and one scale to measure contextual ambidexterity”

Shuck Employee Engagement Scale

Complete this scale and record the scores in your diary. None of this data will be used for research purposes.

The Shuck et al employee engagement scale has 3 subscales; Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioural engagement. For a description of the subscales look at Shuck, Brad, Adelson, Jill L., &Reio, Thomas G. (2016). The Employee Engagement Scale: Initial Evidence for Construct Validity and Implications for Theory and Practice. Human Resource Management, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/hrm.21811

An extract outlining each is below:

Cognitive: “the intensity of mental energy expressed toward positive organizational outcomes”

Emotional: “an employee’s intensity and willingness to invest emotionality toward positive organizational outcomes”

Behavioral: “psychologically willing to give more and often going above and beyond in a way that characterizes their forward movement.”

Complete this scale and record the scores in your diary. None of this data will be used for research purposes.

What you need to know is that in this scale, you look at the total score, and not the score for the individual components.

In this scale Employee Engagement is made up of:

Vigour: “high levels of energy and mental resilience while working, the willingness to invest effort in one’s work, and persistence even in the face of difficulties.”

Dedication: “being strongly involved in one’s work and experiencing a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, and challenge”

Absorption: “being fully concentrated and happily engrossed in one’s work, whereby time passes quickly and one has difficulties with detaching oneself from work”

To achieve employees’ belief, confidence and trust in the survey, follow-up actions are transparent to staff.  Employees could witness new measures that are linked to the feedback and their opinion was valued (Ayers, quoted in Bates, 2004).

Method and Discussion 

A “one measure fits all” approach to empower engagement may be ineffective because levels of engagement may shift by the organization’s representatives.Robinson (2007) recommended that “an organization’s personal characteristics, job characteristics and employee experience all influence engagement levels”.  This supposition may be based on numerous drivers spanning these themes which were presented to the practitioners. 

Building the futureto overcome bureaucracy:

The survey revealed great improvement in employees’ perspectives, the leadership defined strategy and direction;the employees are tasked to build the future.  Each individual needs to take ownership to understand the priorities and achieve the goals.  Effective two-way communications would enable employees to captivate if they could resonate with corporate values and goals.  They understand how the diverse roles could synchronize with available resources to deliver results.  They are kept well-informed of the organization’s direction and vision; and without fear of repercussions on their candid feedback.  Consultation with employees in decision-making processes would instill a sense of ownership in the revamped processes.

Improving the way we lookto overcome heavy workloads:

In 2016, we explored avenues to simplify, improve and revamp work processes.  We pursued the transformational changes to overhaul detailed work flow and unload old working method.  We adopted new approaches to boost productivity.A new Transformation Management Office was set up to execute on one roadmap to enable core business processes to be nimble and future-ready.

The process improvements warrant significant time line and financial resources; it requires us to adopt new behaviors and habits.  We could better manage the workload and job scope.  We achieved improved work-life balance with greater efficiency.

While some teams explore organization-wide initiatives, others help identify alternatives to remove unnecessary tasks.  A good leader could drive decision-making and grant approvals without cumbersome process.  The empowerment helps staff to be mindful of responsibility.

We focus on employees’ work scope that is varied with old and new skills based on profiles and capabilities.  Their work need to be perceived as creative and exciting.  They need to feel that the task is important and meaningful to themselves and team members and they would be accorded with due recognition and motivation.  Taking pride of their contribution which made a difference.  The career advancement, work improvement, personal development and training opportunities are the motivators.  Remuneration is the key driver in engagement.  However, salary is more as a dis-engager than engager.  Employees do desire appreciation and value-add in the tasks which is beyond monetary rewards.

Developing our peopleto overcome Trust:

We help employees appreciate “HP” as a platform for career development with abundant opportunities.  The survey findings have concluded the need to optimize approaches to help staff to constantly learn, develop, upgrade and diversify new roles.Our changes to performance management placed great emphasis on regular feedback.The staff frequently discusses organization growth and what is next for employees arising from the changed behaviors and mindset.

Another change, replaced evaluation ratings with written summaries which may have created some uncertainty.  “My performance has a significant impact on my pay” was one of the only two items that had a lower score in 2017.  Employees had a number rating reflecting the performance-related rewards.

For leadership motivation, management could inspire confidence and trust in employees, grant autonomy in decision-making in sync with goals.  Accountability perceived as engaging.  Organization must empower managers with the flexibility and authority to adopt a collaborative management style.

Managers must commit, make obligation in the employees’ well‐being;be fair and honest in their appraisal.  They need to cultivate sense of involvement and impart corporate values.  The lack of empathy might lead to the perception of under-utilized, micro-managed and loss of confidence. When trust factor breakdown, individuals detached, they shun the candid response and became disengaged.


Organization should provide and encourage employees to conduct challenging tasks and create a pleasant work life environment.  Human resource is the key asset.  If they are not given the right space and time to perform at the workplace, the dis-engagement sentiment will emerge.

Organization and employees are interdependent to achieve the desired goals.  Therefore, employee engagement should not be a one-time exercise but be integrated in the corporate culture.  Employee engagement is an on-going process of learning, improvement and action.

Organization should actively seek to fulfil employees’ expectations, create an impact on staff performance, and boost their morale tocontribute to the organization’s performance.

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