Chapter 6 (Textbook) – Psychology and the workplace
Content theories of motivation – focus on the importance of the work itself and the challenges,
growth opportunities and responsibilities work provides for employees.
Achievement motivation theory – is a characteristic of successful executives. Desire to
accomplish something, to do a good job and to be the best.
Eg: In Poland (communist country) level of concern for achievement was as high as the US.
1. Favor work enviro – able to assume responsibility for solving problems.
2. Take calculated risks and set moderate, attainable goals.
3. Need continued recognition and feedback about their progress
- *Managers high in the need to achieve display more respect for their subordinates.
- * Men and women have been found to score significantly high in the need to achieve than
male and female employees who are not entrepreneurs.
- Two types of goals –
- Mastery – developing competence and self-satisfaction through acquiring knowledge
- Performance – goals involve developing competence by performing better than other
people, such as co-workers.
- Study in Netherlands – employees with mastery orientation were more effective on the
job than were those with a strong performance orientation.
- *People with strong performance orientation established lower in job satisfaction and
- Study on Taiwanese employees - found three things in high-tech jobs – perseverance,
competition and level of difficulty of controlling task.
Needs Hierarchy theory – needs hierarchy theory suggests that people always want what they
do not yet have.
Physiological needs, safety needs (shelter and psych security), belonging and love needs ( social
needs for love and affection), esteem needs (admiration and respect for others), self-
actualization (achieving our full-potential).
- *belonging needs can be important motivating forces on the job.
- * routine or boring job DOES NOT satisfy self-actualization needs, no matter how high
- Maslow’s theory has gotten little research support.
Motivator-hygiene (two-factor) theory - which deals with both motivation and job satisfaction.
There are two things – motivator needs (Maslow’s self actualization)– produce job satisfaction
and hygiene needs – motivate employees to high job performance.
Hygiene needs (Maslow’s physio, belonging and safety) are external to the tasks of a particular
job and involve things like- company policy, supervision, interpersonal relations.
*Motivator’s needs played a more important role in job performance in the study on British
- Note” when hygiene needs are satisfied the results are not necessarily job satisfaction, but an
absence of dissatisfaction. Job enrichment (Herzberg believed to focus on internal job factors) :
1. Remove some management control over employees
2. Give employees to work on a whole unit instead of one part of it
3. Provide regular feedback
4. Encourage employees to take on new, challenging tasks and become experts.
Job characteristics theory – of motivation that states that specific job characteristics lead to
psychological conditions that can increase motivation, performance and satisfaction in
employees who have a high growth need.
1. skills variety
2. task identity – doing a whole unit
3. task significance
5. feedback – info of their contribution to the company.
Eg: In research, ppl with high growth need were found to be more uncomfortable with changes
in job characteristics.
Note – The stronger the growth need , the more the person will value the positive emotional
feelings that result from good job performance.
- Increase sense of growth = increase motivation.
Hackman developed Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) – self0report inventory survey. 1. Employees
perception of the job, 2. Employees level of growth need, 3. Job satisfaction.
Process theories of motivation
Valence-instrumentality expectancy ( VIE) – the theory of motivation that stresses that people
make choices that are based on their perceived expectations that certain rewards will follow if
they behave in a particular way.
3. Valence- employees must decide if these outcomes have sufficient value to motivate
them to behave a certain way.
Note – the greater our expectation of receiving a reward, the harder we weill work for it.
Equity theory – by J- Stacy – notion that motivation is influenced by our perception of how
equitably or fairly we are treated at work.
1. Benevolent – ppl described as altruistic, are satisfied when they are under rewarded
compared to other co-workers.
2. Equity sensitive- everyone should be rewarded equally.
3. Entitled –ppl believe that everything they receive is their due. They are only satisfied
when they are over rewarded.
Feeling of unfairly treatment ? – Reduction in level of performance.
Boxed reading.: The work ethic
- Cal Ripken – baseball player; no one has broken his work attendance record!
- Greek, romans and the Hebrews perceived work as a pessimistic thing; curse of gods, sin,
and punishment from god. - Christians – more optimistic; way to serve god; it was okay to make a lot of money, as
long as you don’t enjoy it.
Goal-setting theory – of motivation based on the idea that a person’s primary motivation in the
job is defined in terms of the desire to achieve a particular goal.
- difficult goals may spur greater motivation toward attaining a goal at the expense of
other behaviors, such as not helping others.
- Three factors influence goal commitment: external, interactive and internal.
- Note – goal commitment increases when the authority is physically present, supportive
1. External – the presence of authority, peer influence and rewards
2. Interactive – competition and opportunity to participate in setting goals.
3. Internal – cognitive factors, self administered rewards.
Meta-analysis study on Big five test – ppl who scored high on conscientiousness and low
in neuroticism = high levels of motivation induced goal setting.
- motivating effects are strongest for easy tasks and weaker for complex.
- Goal setting – one of the most practical theory
Process theory – concerned with our thoughts and perception of the job and what we expect
in return. How we perceive = motivation.
Articles published in journals these days are mostly empirical studies than in behavioral
Job satisfaction – refers to the positive and negative feelings and attitudes employee hold about
a job and it is the most frequently studied independent variable in I-O psychology.
- personal factors can influence job satisfaction –age, sex, health , length of job experience,
emotional stability, social status, leisure time, and family/relatives.
*Job satisfaction influences psychological well being even after workers retire from their
* Study on US workers showed: those who reported low-job satisfaction reported improved
psychological health after retirement. And who reported high job satisfaction reported positive
well-begin before and during their retirement.
Note – job satisfaction and life satisfaction is positively correlated.
Measurement of job satisfaction
- anonymous questionnaire distributed to employees through the company’s email
1. Job Descriptive index JDI – five job factor measures – pay, promotion, supervision,
nature of work. Take 15 mins.
2. Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire MSQ – Takes 30 mins to complete; measures levels
of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Job satisfaction polling data
*mangers in government agencies are significantly less satisfied than are managers in
private industry and business.
* more satisfied the workers seem to be, the better is the organizations economic health.
Ten most and least satisfying jobs Most Least
firefighter Clothing salesperson
Physical therapist Hand packer
author Food preparer
Educational admin cashier
Painter Furniture salesperson
Power plant engineer Material handler
Personal characteristics and job satisfaction
Age – job satisfaction increases with age; lowest job satisfaction is reported by young workers.
- * In a study on accountants, baby boomers scored higher in job satisfaction than
generation X and Y.
Gender-this study shows inconsistency and contradictions
Race – more white than non-white report satisfaction with their jobs.
Cognitive ability – does not appear to be significant in job satisfaction
- higher the level of education , the more likely a person is to be dissatisfied.
- * Employees with college degrees were somewhat more satisfied with their jobs t