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Work Motivation: Review of the literature

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  1. Overview.
    1. History.
    2. Definition.
    3. Core tenets of work motivation.
    4. Intrinsic versus extrinsic.
    5. Perspective from which work motivation can be studied.
    6. Different work motivation paradigm.
  2. Work motivation theories.
    1. Content theories.
    2. Process theory.
    3. Work motivation theory conclusion.
  3. Organisational perspective.
    1. Why motivate employees?
    2. What motivate employees?
  4. Conclusion.
  5. References.

Work motivation has been an important component of industrial and organizational psychology since the 1930s (Donovan, 2001:55) and continues to play an important role in organizational research (Büssing, 2001:372). The amount of research on motivation has varied through time. During the 1930s and 1940s, work motivation became prevalent through drive theories i.e. reinforcement or need theories. While the 1950s and 1960s showed a decrease in the amount of attention on work motivation, however further theories were developed based on the cognitive perspective which provided the basis for future theories in the 1960s such as Vroom (1964) or Locke (1968). The 1980s were characterized by researcher trying to co-ordinate the various theories together which resulted in a focus on goal based theory (Kanfer, 1990:76). While most of the drive theories have fallen out of favor in the research community (Kanfer, 1990) the theories remains strongly in the today's literature (Donovan, 2001:53). Research in work motivation has lead to a large scope of result ?about both the factors and processes of behavior and performance in the workplace? (Büssing, 2001:372). Even though most people have an intuitive idea of what motivation is it can be difficult to describe or define properly (Petri et al, 2004:16). Motivation can easily be explained by classifying an employee function at three levels (Mol, 1990:42).

Tags: Work motivation, Work inspiration, Work motivation theories, Employee motivation, Motivation theories

[...] GST is widely accepted and one of the most popular work motivation theory (Donovan 2001:63-64) Bandura's social cognitive Theory Overview: Social cognitive Theory is based on Bandura's Social Learning Theory but is more goals oriented such those goals held by individual are one of the main determinants in behaviour. Social cognitive Theory (SCT) was developed by Bandura (1986) and is comprised of four main characteristic which interact with one another (Donovan, 2001:66-68) Goal establishment: Refers to the process by which individuals create goals and standard that corresponds to their desired behavioural state. [...]


[...] On the whole it seems that the VIE model does provide a valid and useful valid model of work motivation as it is often used as the basis of organisational compensation and is relatively clear cut and coherent (Donovan, 2001:58) Goal based theories Overview: Goal based theory have existed in the work literature for a long time. As early as Ach in 1935 in determining tendencies to Lewin (1961) research on level of aspirations and Ryan (1958) research on intentions, goal have had a predominant place in the work motivation study. [...]


[...] The nature and causes of job dissatisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.). Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. Chicago: Rand McNally 1297-351). Locke, E.A., Latham, G.P. and Erez, M. (1988). The determinants of goal commitment, Academy of Management Review, 13: 23-39. Loher, B.T., Noe, R.A., Moeller, N.L. and Fitzgerald, M.P. (1985). A meta- analysis of the relation of job characteristics to job satisfaction, Journal of Applied Psychology, 70: 280-289. Lussier, R.N. (1997), Management. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing. Martocchio, J.J. [...]

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