Greater Than the Sum of its Parts: Exploring the Concept of Team Engagement and How It Emerges in the Public Sector
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Team engagement is a concept where the team itself functions as an engaged unit. Team level engagement is a new area of study, particularly relating to teams in the public sector; therefore, the central question in this thesis is: What is team engagement in the public sector and how does it emerge? Using a mixed methods approach this study develops a quantitative measurement tool for a new conceptualization of team engagement including three objects of engagement: the team’s task, the team’s goals and the team membership; and, qualitatively studies how it emerges in the public sector. Through the validation of the measurement tool team engagement was determined to be a three-dimensional concept, which is independent from similar concepts such as individual work engagement, team commitment and team cohesion. Qualitative interviews with a high performing team in the public sector identified the context, as well as four team characteristics, as influencing the emergence of team engagement: the team composition, the team’s interdependence, the team atmosphere and the internal relations. This study emphasizes the importance of recognizing the three objects of team engagement and its academic and practical implications.