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Employee engagement – a key strategy to enhance competitive advantage.

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Employee engagement determines the effort an employee readily extends above and beyond the expected role in job performance. Engaged employees are a source of competitive advantage in the organisation as they are energetic, take initiatives which results into creativity, they utilize their creative personal judgment more effectively and provide open-minded and immediate service to customers. The chosen petroleum company for this study is one of the six ‘supermajor’ petroleum companies in the world, a leading international oil and gas company. The aim of this study is to examine if current employee engagement practices used Company X are effective and what factors hinder the application of these employee engagement practices and recommend effective practices that can be used to implement employee engagement as a strategic tool to gain competitive advantage. The population were 42 employees from five petrol stations that belong to Company X in Durban, petrol attendants, cashiers and supervisors responded to self administered questionnaire which tested 5 parts; meaningful work, positive work environment, trust in leadership, hands on management and growth opportunities. The response rate was 74% and the questionnaire was pretested. The study found a positive relationship between trust in leadership and positive work environment and a meaningful connection between hands on management and positive work environment. The study can benefit all customers of Company X as their needs will be met and the employees will know what is expected from them in order to provide excellent service to customers. The company will gain market share, competitive advantage and save on training costs.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.