2 minutes

In 1990, when Jack Welch was leading General Electric to ever-greater heights by preaching the power of firing 10 percent of his employees each year, Dr. William A. Kahn advocated a different approach.

Kahn—a professor of organizational behavior at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business—published groundbreaking research in the prestigious Academy of Management Journal in which he coined the term “engagement” in reference to employees and their workplace.

At the time, organizational leaders were focused on a top-down approach to getting employees more motivated to work harder. Their emphasis was on changing the way people thought about their work.


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