Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Vicki Dieffenderfer

Committee Member

James Maddox

Second Committee Member

Kenda Grover


Employee Engagement, Engagement Strategies, Human Resource Development, Human Resources, Legal Assistants


The purpose of this study was to identify strategies used by legal assistants to engage, stay engaged, and reengage, when appropriate, in their work, in particular when common organizational efforts fall short or do not exist. Constructivism and job demands-resources (JD-R) were the primary frameworks for understanding and analyzing the phenomenon of developing engagement strategies.

Qualitative data were drawn through semi-structured interviews with 16 legal assistants. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. Trustworthiness and validity were enhanced by using multiple respondents and allowing each to review the transcripts for accuracy, fairness, and clarity. The transcriptions were then analyzed for themes. Two of the categories that emerged from the data were the strategies individuals developed to enhance employee engagement (EE) and the drivers that motivated the participants to develop the strategies. These two categories were developed into sub-categories.

Participants felt motivated to employ their strategies by their internal drive to be productive, to do the work they are assigned, to achieve success for themselves and their attorneys, and from a sense of community with their firms and colleagues. The strategies they employed included temporarily disconnecting from the work, work organization tactics, self-care, and self-motivation. These strategies supported their internal drives, just as the internal drives supported their strategies. Overall, the participants were fully engaged the majority of the time they are at work, they recognized the need to be engaged, and they felt driven to develop strategies, and bring those strategies to their employers, to engage, remain engaged, and reengage, when appropriate, in their work.

This study provided support for the idea that EE is a shared duty between employee and employer. As an individual construct, employees share a responsibility in creating and maintaining an environment of engagement. Highly engaged employees enjoy being engaged and may even become more engaged through the act of developing engagement strategies.