Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Sandra Guzman Foster


Mark Teachout


Alberto Rubio


Norman St. Clair


The purpose of this study is to examine the moderating role that the respective workforce generational cohorts may have on the relationship between positive practices in organizations and levels of employee engagement of U.S. based adult customer service representatives of all races. Studies show that higher employee engagement positively affects employee motivation, satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately the financial success of the organization. However, the levels of engagement for front line customer service positions are some of the lowest of occupations measured by Gallup and have actually declined in recent years. The broaden and build theory of positive emotions shows that a person who frequently experiences positive emotions not only has greater personal resources, wider range of responses, and scope of attention, but that it leads to an upward spiral of more positive emotions and overall well-being (Fredrickson & Joiner, 2002). Positive practices in organizations include phenomena such as excellence, trust, vitality, flourishing, teamwork, appreciation, respect, empathy, and those processes that are generative, strengthening, and enriching (Cameron et al., 2003; Peyrat-Guillard & Glinska-Newes, 2010). In addition, in a multigenerational workforce, critical events of their history shape each generation resulting in shared norms, values, and expectations in the workplace for that generation (Alwin, 1997; Strauss & Howe, 1991). Therefore, because of these different experiences and values, positive practices may affect some employees more acutely than others.

This study is a quantitative non-experimental correlational study (Creswell, 2014) using a non-probability data collection method of crowdsourcing to collect responses from 249 adult customer service representatives in the United States listed on the LinkedIn website about their attitudes and practices in their workplace. Employee engagement was measured using the employee engagement scale (EES) developed by Shuck et al. (2017). Positive practices in the organization used Cameron et al.’s (2011) 29-item Positive Practices scale.

This study showed that the use of positive practices in organizations predicts higher levels of employee engagement. In addition, the study found that generation does moderate the relationship between positive practices and employee engagement, showing a significant difference in the employee engagement in the Millennials’ generation based on whether positive practices is used in their organization versus the reactions of other generations. This study provides a valuable resource to customer service executives, because the results imply that those employees that are the least engaged today (Millennials) would respond the most dramatically to the use of positive practices in their organizations.