Letters to the Editor
We thank Drs. Badgett and Ofei-Dodoo for their comments on our article. We agree with the authors’ point regarding the use of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9) to measure work engagement—a positive, work-related state of fulfillment that is characterized by vigor (workforce vitality), dedication, and absorption.1,2 Similar to the UWES-9, the Standpoint Faculty Engagement survey,3 a research-validated tool specifically developed for academic medicine faculty, measures satisfaction and engagement at the institution level and compares engagement across peer institutions. Thus, it helps medical schools learn what drives faculty engagement—that is, the emotional and cognitive attitudes of faculty members toward their workplace experiences and the associated behavioral outcomes, such as organizational contribution, individual output, and retention—at the institutional level.
We believe that citing the organizational theory work more deeply and making comparisons to the business world, while broadly relevant, were beyond the scope of our original study. Yet, it would be useful to investigate the applicability of these concepts to academic medicine faculty, partly since they are not typical “workers” in the business sense. Clinical excellence, enhanced productivity, pioneering research, superior education and training, operational efficiency, and financial solvency represent the lead missions coveted by academic medicine faculty. They have a constellation of roles and responsibilities, which in our view makes them more akin to midlevel managers with significant independent and interdependent decision-making responsibilities. Through their endeavors, they help produce multiple “products” or results, some of which are hard to measure in a cost–benefit context. Plus, the “remediation” of an academic medicine worksite, which ranges from a faculty-member-managed classroom to a multicomponent hospital managed by various people with differing levels of authority (and, at times, priorities), is quite complex.
Overall, we think the authors’ comments on our article are salient and certainly add to the scope of the literature and research that can continue to speak to vitality in the workplace.
Darshana T. Shah, PhD
Professor of pathology and associate dean for faculty advancement, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Huntington, West Virginia; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valerie N. Williams, PhD, MPA
University of Oklahoma presidential professor and vice provost for academic affairs and faculty development, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
1. Schaufeli WB, Bakker AB, Salanova M. The measurement of work engagement with a short questionnaire: A cross-national study. Educ Psychol Meas. 2006;66:701–706.
2. de Bruin GP, Henn CM. Dimensionality of the 9-item Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9). Psychol Rep. 2013;112:788–799.