Original Research

The role of neuroleadership in work engagement

Leigh A. Zwaan, Rica Viljoen, Dorrian Aiken
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 17 | a1172 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1172 | © 2019 Leigh A. Zwaan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 February 2019 | Published: 11 November 2019

About the author(s)

Leigh A. Zwaan, Department of Personal and Professional Leadership, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, HPCSA, Pretoria, South Africa
Rica Viljoen, Mandala Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa
Dorrian Aiken, Integral Coaching Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada; and, COMENSA, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Time to Think SA, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Leadership Development, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: Research communicated in this article contributes to the fields of neuroleadership and work engagement, and explores the use of Integral Theory’s All Quadrants All Lines (AQAL) four-quadrant model. It also applies the General Method of Theory-Building research in applied disciplines.

Research purpose: The aim of this article is to determine the role that neuroleadership plays in improving work engagement.

Motivation for the study: Human resource development lacks focus in theoretical research because of a lack of clarity of the connections between research and practice and a lack of interest in abstract theoretical issues (Storberg-Walker, 2006). Recent technological advances providing an insight into the biological and physiological bases of social interaction have presented new information on being engaged at work.

Research approach/design and method: The researcher applied the General Method of Theory-Building in applied disciplines to structure the qualitative research approach (Lynham, 2002).

Main findings: Findings deduced from the case study show how organisations apply work engagement. Findings from meta-triangulation and bracketing present an EngageInMind framework for neuroleadership and work engagement. Overall findings confirmed that the EngageInMind framework is relevant and can be applied. Findings further include the review of the application in business and recommendations for improvement.

Practical/managerial implications: The insights derived from this research propose that neuroleadership improves work engagement through its psychological, neurobiological, sociological and organisational dimensions, as presented in the EngageInMind framework.

Contribution/value-add: The EngageInMind framework is the key contribution of this article.


work engagement; neuroleadership; human resources; Integral Theory; the general method of theory-building; meta-triangulation; multi-paradigm; AQAL four quadrants


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Crossref Citations

1. Advancing in the neuroleadership field: a systematic and integrative review
Kelly Guarnier, Paula Chimenti
Cadernos EBAPE.BR  vol: 21  issue: 6  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1590/1679-395120220184x