Fall 2011 Gender differences on Intrinsic Motivation in Hong Kong Higher Education Hon Keung Yau Man Shan Kan City University of Hong Kong Alison Lai Fong Cheng Abstract The purpose of this paper is to investigate if there are different levels of intrinsic motivation towards study, curiosity and external regulation among males and females. This study focuses are attained by conducting a survey (137 students) among a local university in Hong Kong. Results show that among all students, no matter males or females, their levels of intrinsic motivation towards study, curiosity and external are the same. Burger, Dahlgren, and MacDonald (2006) found that male have higher intrinsic motivation to gamble when compared with female. Another study shows that masculine students have higher intrinsic motivation than feminine students when responding to competition (Conti, Collins, & Picariello, 2001). However, when talking about intrinsic motivation to study, will the result of comparing males and females still be the same? Most Hong Kong people spend more than twenty years to learn as much knowledge as they can to get high academic qualifications. Among all students, there is a question of how students can gain more than others when learning in the same learning environment, and whether either one gender has higher intrinsic motivation towards learning. Motivation is an essential element to directly affect students’ learning and performances. Some students may feel that they are not active but under obligation to learn. It is due to lack of motivation in learning, which would not result in good performance. According to Olsson (2008, p. 7), motivation is a reason or set or reasons for engaging in a specific activity, especially human behavior. The reasons can be basic needs, an object or a goal. Self-determination theory (SDT) by Deci and Ryan (1985, 1991) is currently the most comprehensive theories of motivation with empirical support. According to SDT, intrinsic motivation is defined as the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfactions rather than for some separable consequence (Xie, Debacker, & Ferguson, 2006). It is the degree to which an individual chooses to accomplish an activity for pleasure and enjoyment (Olsson, 2008, p. 2). e-Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership Volume 9, Number 2
Fall 2011 This type of motivation is known as the most optimal kind of motivation as being entirely autonomous (Noel, Clement, & Pelletier, 2001; Remedios, & Lieberman, 2008; Gao, 2008). Students with intrinsic motivation complete tasks for fun or challenge instead of external stimuli, pressures, or rewards. They often have more interest, confidence and excitement in doing the task. According to Brophy (2010), intrinsic motivation emphasizes on motivation as selfdetermination of goals and self-regulation of actions rather than motivation as response to felt pressures. In view of this emphasis of intrinsic motivation, this project tries to investigate different aspects affecting students’ learning so that their self-regulation of actions can be improved and learn without pressure. With this improvement, their academic performance can be enhanced at the same time. As few studies have focus of gender difference on intrinsic motivation for Hong Kong students, this study conducted in a local university in Hong Kong tries to investigate if either one gender possesses higher level of intrinsic motivation. According to Narayanan, Rajasekaran, and Iyyappan (2007), females have higher intrinsic motivation in learning English than males among engineering university students. Meanwhile, another research by Shang (1998), it was found that females have lower intrinsic motivation in physical education classes than males. A study by Schatt in 2011 focusing on subject of music found that female students have higher instrumental musical practice rate than males while the amount of time spent on practice correlated significantly with...
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