Tests Library

Work motivation scale

Time

3-5 min

Questions

19

Language

English

Type

Attitudes and Beliefs, Self-Report

Suitable for

All positions

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Scale Summary

Work motivation refers to the reasons why people put effort into their jobs, capturing their actual (“do”) and intended (“would”) motives to do their job. These reasons energise them, inspire progress and push them to achieve desired results, determining the form, direction, intensity, and duration of work-related behaviours. As a result, work motivation can take different forms, and what motivates one person may not motivate another.

Based on the well-researched self- determination theory of human motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985), and on a valid and reliable measure of work motivation derived from that (The Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale; Gagné et al., 2015), the present instrument assesses the different types of reasons why individuals put effort into their current job. Specifically, it distinguishes between three main types of motivation:

  • Autonomous Motivation - the extent to which one’s work drive comes either from an identification with work (i.e., the value or meaning of their job is part of one’s sense of self), or from finding one’s work inherently satisfying (i.e., putting effort into one’s job for its own sake).
  • Controlled Motivation - the degree to which one’s work drive comes from instrumental reasons (i.e., social, material, and self-esteem motives).
  • Amotivation - the degree to which one’s work motivation is absent, lacking the intention to put effort into their job.

Scale Outcomes

Work motivation predicts several key outcomes, like performance, job effort, vitality and energy for work, emotional exhaustion, organisational affective commitment, and turnover intentions. Relationships vary depending on type of motivation, as shown below:

  • People with a higher level of autonomous motivation tend to exert more effort into their job. They may have a higher level of performance, whether in terms of proficiency (i.e.., fulfilling the prescribed role requirements), adaptivity (i.e., supporting and coping with change), or proactivity (i.e, initiating change, and being future-directed). In addition, autonomous motivation contributes to individual, team and organisational performance alike. It’s worth noting, however, that between the two subtypes of autonomous motivation, identification with work may be more strongly related to performance than intrinsic motivation, especially when work involves less interesting tasks. In addition, they may experience a higher level of personal energy for work, as well as be emotionally attached to the organisation they work for. So, they tend to have fewer turnover intentions and tend to be less emotionally exhausted, in the sense that they are less depleted from excessive job demands and continuous stress (which is a possible symptom of burnout).
  • People with a higher level of controlled motivation tend to have a higher level of proficiency and proactivity in their job, both showing a higher level of performance. They may also exert more effort into their job, but only when they’re motivated by self-esteem motives. In addition, they may be more emotionally attached to the organisation they work for.
  • People with a higher level of amotivation are inclined to exert less effort in their job, have a lower level of performance in terms of proficiency and adaptivity, experience less energy for work and be less affectively committed to their organisation. In contrast, they may be more emotionally exhausted and experience a higher level of turnover intentions.

Scale Measurement Areas

The HireNest Work Motivation Scale investigates people’s reasons to put effort into their work by considering the following areas of measurement:

Autonomous Motivation

the extent to which one’s work drive comes either from an identification with work, or from finding one’s work inherently satisfying:

  • Identification with Work - the extent to which one tends to identify with the value or meaning of their job to the point that it becomes part of their sense of self, accepting it as part of themselves.
  • Intrinsic Motivation - the extent to which one finds their job interesting and enjoyable in itself, putting effort into it for its own sake.

Controlled Motivation

the degree to which one’s work drive comes from instrumental reasons. They consist of:

  • Social motives - the extent to which one’s work drive comes from a desire to obtain social rewards or to avoid punishments administered by others, like criticism.
  • Material motives - the extent to which one’s work drive comes from a desire to obtain material rewards or to avoid losing them.
  • Self-esteem motives - the extent to which one’s work drive comes from internally feeling pressured, such as from a desire to boost self-esteem, or to avoid shame and guilt.

Amotivation

the degree to which one’s work motivation is absent, lacking the intention to put effort into their job.

Why Measure Work Motivation?

Motivation is a critical element in business. Because it varies greatly among people, and it influences performance, as well as various other positive outcomes like organisational commitment and emotional exhaustion, it’s important to understand the forces that drive people to exert effort into their current job. These insights better equip organisations to structure the work environment in ways that promote productive behaviours while discouraging counterproductive ones.

This scale may be useful in successfully aligning and integrating peoples’ motives to be involved in their work with business needs, expectations and objectives.

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