Providing Safe Space for Honest Mistakes in the Public Sector Is the Most Important Predictor for Work Engagement after Strategic Clarity

Thais Gargantini, Michael Daly, Joseph Sherlock, Teddy Lazebnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Multiple studies highlight the link between engagement at work and performance, influencing organizations to put more effort into improving employee engagement levels. In this study, we begin to examine the influence of multiple psychological parameters on employees’ work engagement (WE) within the public sector. The idea is to break the concept of WE down into eight individually measurable parameters that will allow for a better understanding and development of stronger interventions. Based on this analysis, we reproduce the outcome that strategic clarity is the most connected property to WE. More importantly, we introduce a new concept, honest mistakes, and show that having a safe space for making mistakes and learning from it is the second most important property of WE. This result is of interest, as allowing mistakes, even if they were made innocently, is considered taboo in the public sector. These outcomes are based on the reports of n = 7682 public sector employees from Brazil. In particular, the analysis shows that these outcomes hold for both professional and management positions across the health, administrative, justice, police, social work, and education offices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7051
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • behavioral economics factors
  • dominance analysis
  • honest mistakes
  • public sector management
  • work engagement

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