Work Motivation Theory and Research at The Dawn Of The Twenty-First Century
Based on this journal, the writers examine progress made in theory and research on needs, traits, values, cognition, and affect as well as three bodies of literature dealing with the context of motivation: national culture, job design, and models of person environment fit. They focus primarily on work reported between 1993 and 2003, concluding that goal setting, social cognitive, and organizational justice theories are the three most important approaches to work motivation to appear in the last 30 years. The writers reach 10 generally positive conclusions regarding predicting, understanding, and influencing work motivation in the new millennium.
Miner (2003) concluded that motivation continues to hold a significant position in the eyes of scholars. Miner’s conclusion is based on a comparison with other middle range theories of organizational behavior (OB). The question remains on an absolute standard, motivation theory and research have fared well over the last quarter of a century. In answering this question, we provide a definition of the construct and an assessment of how the field of motivation in the workplace has evolved and progressed since the year in which the last chapter devoted exclusively to this topic appeared in the Annual Review of Psychology (ARP). We selectively review theory and research, emphasizing work published in the past decade, 1993–2003, with special emphasis given to research on contextual effects and mediating mechanisms. Work motivation is a set of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual’s being, to initiate work-related behavior and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration (Pinder 1998). where motivation is a process resulting from the interaction between the individual and the environment. However, because of space limitations, the writers just focus on national culture, job design characteristics, and person-environment fit, omitting reviews of other exogenous sources of motivation.
The framework used in reviewing the literature is consistent with Locke & Henne(1986). Needs is followed by a focus on (b) personal traits. An individual difference variable rooted in needs is (c) values. Because context affects the extent to which needs are met and values are fulfilled, emphasis is given to (d) national culture, (e) job design characteristics, and (f) person context fit. Needs and values affect (g) cognition, particularly goals. Cognition plays an integral role in each of these concepts. Although (h) affective reactions need not depend on cognition (Bandura 1997), the two usually are reciprocally related (Lord & Kanfer 2002). Finally, affect is influenced by culture as well as by organizational norms (Lord & Harvey 2002). We close with an (i) assessment of progress in the field since 1977.
Aslam et al. (2000) presented a process-based analysis of need structure and need salience derived from the social identity approach to organizational behavior. When personal identity is salient, needs to self- actualize and to enhance self esteem through personal advancement and growth become dominant. When social identity is salient, the need to enhance group based self-esteem through a sense of relatedness, respect, peer recognition, and attainment of group goals dominate. They stated that McGregor’s (1960) Theory Y assumptions apply when the supervisor and employee share the same identity; Theory X assumptions apply when they do not do so.2 People are motivated to attain goals that are compatible with their self-identity. Needs associated with a specific group membership are internalized; they serve as a guide for behavior in a specific working context. Need-based theories explain why a person must act; they do not explain why specific actions are chosen in specific situations to obtain specific outcomes. Moreover, they do...
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