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Two-country study of engagement, supervisors and performance appraisal

Elaine Farndale (School of Labor and Employment Relations, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA and HR Studies Department, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

Journal of Asia Business Studies

ISSN: 1558-7894

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



Multinational enterprises are increasingly interested in improving employee engagement across diverse geographies, signifying the importance of understanding antecedents of engagement across different national business systems. This study aims to explore the relationship between an important job resource, perceived performance appraisal fairness and employee engagement in two countries: the UK and India. Critically, the mediating role of perceived supervisor support in these contrasting cultural contexts is investigated, as well as differentiating between two types of engagement: work and organization.


Drawing on a UK-based multinational enterprise operating in its home country and in India, survey data from 249 employees are analyzed.


The survey results indicate that there are positive relationships between elements of perceived performance appraisal fairness and engagement in both countries, and that supervisor support plays an important mediating role. There are, however, important differences between the two countries’ results.

Research limitations/implications

Cross-sectional data from a single firm are a limitation of this study, as well as using national culture as an explanatory variable although this is not measured. Future research should attempt to measure culture, especially in India, where cultural heterogeneity is high.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates the importance of ensuring appropriate mechanisms in different overseas operations to achieve engagement when implementing performance appraisal.


This study expands significantly our knowledge surrounding the engagement construct by including both work and organization engagement, measured simultaneously in two contrasting national contexts. Furthermore, it highlights the value of national business systems cultural theorizing to explain differences in employee workplace experiences.



This study was part of a research project funded by the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation in the USA.


Farndale, E. (2017), "Two-country study of engagement, supervisors and performance appraisal", Journal of Asia Business Studies, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 342-362.



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