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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 energize them, inspire progress, and push them to achieve desired results, determining the form, direction, intensity, and duration of work-related behaviors. As a result, work motivation may take different forms, and what motivates one person may not motivate another.
The present scale, based on the Self-Determination Theory of Human Motivation, examines different reasons why people put effort into their current job.
This measure distinguishes three types of motivation based on the origin of one's work drive:
1. Autonomous - Involves an identification with one's work and a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment in the work itself. When people identify with their work and find it inherently satisfying, they’re more likely motivated by their internal drives and goals, rather than by external rewards or punishments.
2. Controlled - Involves engaging in activities because of the potential rewards or punishments that are associated with them. People with high levels of controlled motivation may be motivated by the potential for praise, recognition, or rewards, or by the fear of punishment, failure, or rejection.
3. Absent - Involves the degree to which one’s work motivation is absent, lacking the intention to put effort into their job. People with high levels of absent motivation may be disinterested in their work or may lack the necessary resources, such as knowledge, skills, or support, to engage in their work effectively.
Motivation is a critical element in business. Motivation varies greatly among people and influences performance as well as various other positive outcomes such as organizational commitment and emotional exhaustion. Thus, it’s important to understand the forces that drive people to put effort into their current job. These insights better equip organizations to structure the work environment in ways that promote productive behaviors 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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