Unlocking The Puzzles


In unlocking the definitional puzzle, we found it very helpful to embrace the concept of social exchange, which allows employee engagement and performance to be framed and personified in the form an employment ‘relationship’or ‘deal’. The use of the term contributions allows the inclusion of multiple entities – for example, what Macey and Schneider (2008) describe as a ‘state’ concept (commitment) and a ‘behaviour’ (organisational citizenship).

Social Exchange Theory (SET) places the notion of reciprocity and mutuality at the heart of the employment relationship and is used to create an expression of how employee engagement and associated performance is encouraged and experienced (Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005; Francis et al, 2012; Guest, 2014; Reddington and Weber, 2016) – see diagram below.

SET is at the heart of TEDD® – The Employment Deal Diagnostic – and allows us to measure the quality of the relationship through multiple lenses that inform powerful interventions. In doing so, it provides a pathway through the definitional and measurement puzzles. Many organisations have successfully used our approaches and a variety of case studies are cited in this document. 

Social exchange theory (SET) is among the most influential conceptual paradigms for understanding workplace behaviour.

(Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005)
Balance of the deal illustration
Perceived Organisational Support
Psychological Contract
Job Engagement
Organisational Engagement