Modelling employee motivation and performance

Elding, Darren James (2005). Modelling employee motivation and performance. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This research reviewed the history of motivation and performance modelling, with particular regards to the performance of employees in a work environment. The evolution of motivational theories was discussed before the motivational models arising from these theories were examined and critiqued. The wide range of, often conflicting, studies and theories in this area has led to a situation where no single model has been able to capture all the complexities of the internal and external influences on human motivation and performance. Models have broadly fallen into one of two categories: cognitive, focusing on the individual’s thought processes and social-cognitive, focusing on the influences from social and contextual variables. Bong [1996] suggested that a broader model of motivation may be developed by adopting either an integrative approach, whereby a general model is built that incorporates the wide range of potential motivational variables, or by building several models that focus on each dimension separately. Needs based and process based motivational theories, which will provide the foundation of any model of motivation, were reviewed in Chapter Three. Chapter Four then introduced the two existing models of motivation models that are the main focus of this study, Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics model and Porter and Lawler’s Expectancy model. Each model was reviewed and critiqued before being amended and expanded to more fully explain the social and cognitive motivational processes and satisfy the criticisms identified. Although there are no obvious areas of overlap between the largely social-cognitive Job Characteristics model and the largely cognitive Expectancy model, Chapter Five explains that by changing the terms used to describe the variables in each model the similarities between them may be identified. Identifying the areas of overlap allows the two models to be integrated into one. This new model of motivation expands upon the original models in that it combines both the social-cognitive and cognitive approaches and also incorporates more of the motivational theories discussed in Chapter Three than either of the two original models. The new model of motivation was tested via a data survey in four organisations. In each case, the level of correlation between the levels of the recorded variables, such as satisfaction and motivation, and those predicted by the model were generally high. The results of the data survey and the performance of the model were discussed in Chapter Six. One of the main aims of this thesis was to produce a model of motivation that was of practical use to the management of an organisation. Such a model should go beyond the existing theoretical models and allow those responsible for motivating a workforce to experiment with alternative job design strategies and evaluate their likely effects upon motivation and performance. Chapter Seven describes the spreadsheet-based model that was built in this study.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Engineering
School or Department: Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management


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