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4HR002 – Introduction to

People at Work
Week 4: Happiness, motivation
and meaning at work
(Mullins, Chapter 7)
Did you....

Find a news story…

Make progress with your group work
Your group will be allocated a tutorial time for
next week’s class later
Happiness, motivation and meaning

Key question for managers and organisations:

is it possible for people to derive meaning
from work?
The major driver for most people to work may
be money..
...so why don’t all lottery winners retire?
A search for something more
‘meaningful’ by individuals?
Six essentials – From Week 1

5. Meaningfulness. People need to be able to

relate to what they do and what they
produce. Meaningfulness includes both the
worth and quality of a product, and knowing
how they contribute to the whole. There must
be a true connection between the individual’s
work and their values.
Why is it important to organisations?

Meaning at work is linked to employee

retention, engagement, high performance and
effective change management
Lack of meaning leads to cynicism at work and
people working less hard (Holbeche & Springett, 2004)
Related Concepts

Engagement Motivation

at Work

Job Satisfaction Meaning

Is money important?
 Even where employees go to
work for money (is this our  A nurse
primary motivating force?), they
still have choices about what
 A personnel/HR manager
work to do, where to work, how  A coach driver
hard to work, and how long to  Assembly line worker
stay in a role  A junior bank manager
 Consider the following roles, all  Marketing manager
paying £25,000 per annum: which
(See ‘job satisfaction’ slide later)
would you choose?
 Your choice may say something
about what is ‘meaningful’ for
What brings ‘meaning’ at work?

 A sense of community
 Having a higher sense of purpose, especially a
customer-focused purpose
 Congruence or ‘fit’ between personal and
organisational values
 Working for ethical organisations
 Having leaders who 'walk the talk' on values
 Feeling involved and treated like adults
 Able to balance work with other aspects of life
 Challenging jobs and personal growth
 Spirituality at work (Holbeche & Springett, 2004)
Link between meaning and motivation....

 Motivation: helps to explain what people want from

their work-a driving force
 A definition: ‘a set of energetic forces … to initiate
work-related behavior, and to determine its form,
direction, intensity, and duration’ (Pinder, 1984, p.8)
 What we do, how hard, and for how long
 Range of motivation theories: acknowledging that
motivation is complex, individual, an act of choice
(i.e. workers actively decide whether they are
motivated to do something or not)
 Help us to predict future behaviour
Motivation theories

Content Theories Process Theories

e.g. Maslow, Alderfer, e.g Adams*, Vroom*, Locke
•Identify relationship
•Identify and explain the between a range of
things that actually variables which combine to
motivate people at work make up motivation
•Emphasis on needs, e.g. •What starts, sustains and
need for love, growth, directs behaviour
social interaction, power
etc *Covered later in the module

(Mullins, Chapter 7)
Watch the following video clips of Frederick Herzberg
expounding his theories:

Whilst watching, make notes so you can answer these

1) Name ‘the hygiene factors’ (or needs)
2) Name ‘the motivators’
3) What is the role of KITA and how does it affect ‘idiot work’?
4) What is the role of money in Herzberg’s theory?
5) What is meant by ‘job enrichment’?
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Extrinsic Intrinsic
 Relates to tangible rewards  Relates to ‘psychological’
e.g. Salary and other rewards such as oppor-
benefits, security, tunity to use one’s ability,
promotion, contract, work sense of challenge and
environment achievement, receiving
 Satisfaction comes from the appreciation, positive
consequences of what we recognition, treated in a
do caring/considerate manner
 Usually controlled by  Satisfaction and interest
organisation rather than derived from what we do
individual managers  Influenced by actions of
(Mullins, p. 254)
Motivation theories and universal
explanations: a word of caution!
 “The search for a generalised theory of motivation at
work appears to be in vain. A major determinant of
behaviour is the particular situation in which
individual workers find themselves. Motivation
varies over time and according to circumstances.”
(Meudell, 1998)
 How might the motivations of the following
examples differ:
A new graduate trainee
A woman in her 40’s with 3 young children
An unemployed person in their 50’s?
Does motivation lead to high
If motivated, can I run a marathon in record
time? What other factors are important?
General fitness
Running technique
Amount of training beforehand
Other competitors
Weather, environmental conditions
Equipment, e.g. shoes
How I am feeling on the day
HR Consultancy ‘Chiumento’ listed the top ten factors
that make people happy and unhappy at work

‘Happy’ factors: ‘Unhappy’ factors:

1. Friendly, supportive colleagues 1. Lack of communication from the
2. Enjoyable work top
3. Good boss or line manager 2. Uncompetitive salary
4. Good work/life balance 3. No recognition for achievements
5. Varied work 4. Poor boss/line manager
6. Belief that we're doing something 5. Little personal development
worthwhile 6. Ideas being ignored
7. Feeling that what we do makes a 7. Lack of opportunity for good
difference performers
8. Being part of a successful team 8. Lack of benefits
9. Recognition for our achievements 9. Work not enjoyable
10.Competitive salary 10.Not feeling that what I do makes
a difference

(Source ‘bized.co.uk’)
 Note that in this research the same factor can be
both motivational AND demotivational, but not
necessarily to the same degree
 For example, a good salary is only the 10th most
important factor in making us happy, but is Number
2 in factors which make us unhappy
 Lack of communication from the top is the factor
which might make us most unhappy, but doesn’t
feature in the factors which might make us happy.
 Q: Why might this be the case?
Job satisfaction
 Related to motivation theory (e.g. Herzberg-hygiene factors and true
 Is determined by the gap between what one wants from a job, and what
one has in a job (according to Locke, 1976): the bigger the gap between
what we want and what we get, the lower the level of satisfaction
 Individualised explanation-we don’t all want the same thing
 Important to know what you want personally in order to find the most
suitable job!
 Would you expect job satisfaction to be higher or lower during the
recession? BBC news story
 Importance of considering other issues alongside satisfaction, e.g. Levels
of stress, how we are managed, reward etc: even if we love our job, we
may choose to leave. Why?
What contributes to job satisfaction?
High contribution Medium Low contribution
•Relations with •Physical working •Promotion chances
fellow workers conditions •The way the
•Hours of work •Immediate boss organisation is
•Freedom to choose •Employee-manager managed
work methods relations •Pay
•Responsibility •Recognition for
•Variety in the job good work
•Job security •The attention paid
to suggestions
•Opportunities to
(Marchington & Wilkinson, 2008) use abilities
Job satisfaction
From the list below, identify
the five roles with high levels  Farm workers
 Hairdressers
of job satisfaction, the five  Laboratory technicians
with medium levels, and the  Marketing and sales managers
five with low levels:  Management consultants
 Assembly line workers  Nurses
 Bank, building society and post  Painters and decorators
office managers  Personnel, training and industrial
 Bus and coach drivers relations managers
 Care assistants  Postal workers
 Computer analysts and  Retail check desk and checkout
programmers operators

(Marchington & Wilkinson, 2008)

High level of satisfaction
• Hairdressers
• Farm workers
• Care assistants
• Bank, building society and post office managers
• Personnel, training and industrial relations managers
Medium level of satisfaction
• Nurses
• Retail check desk and checkout operators
• Marketing and sales managers
• Computer analysts and programmers
• Painters and decorators
Low level of satisfaction
• Management consultants
• Laboratory technicians
• Assembly line workers
• Postal workers
• Bus and coach drivers
Job satisfaction
 Satisfaction is U-shaped in age: new workers and older
workers are more satisfied (as you get older your enjoyment
of work initially dips down, bottoms out around age 30 or so,
and then steadily rises after that);
 Women enjoy their jobs more than men;
 Job security is of central importance;
 Relative income matters
 In the US there has been a steady decline in job satisfaction
since the 1970s. Stress in Britain has risen sharply.
 Denmark and Ireland come top of world job-satisfaction
league tables.
(Warwick University)
Designing Happy Workplaces: What are Good
and Bad for Job Satisfaction Levels?
 The gender of the boss makes no statistical difference to your
job satisfaction
 Computers at work also make no difference
 But who controls the pace of work is crucial
o When customers do: good for job satisfaction
o Colleagues do: is OK
o Production norms-e.g. Assembly line: bad
o Boss does: very bad
 Equal opportunities at work: good
 Tight deadlines/high-speed work: bad
 Working at home: good
 Small freedoms: very good (e.g. can move desk, change
lighting, etc)
 Dealing with people: very good
(Warwick University)
Possible reflective journal entries

 Reflect on the kinds of

jobs we have discussed
which will provide
satisfaction to you and
 Look at Schein’s career
anchors on the next
slides to see whether
you can identify your
work preferences
Schein’s career anchors (1990)
Schein suggests that each of us has different career priorities from a list of 8:
 Technical/Functional competence - This kind of person likes being good at
something and will work to become a guru or expert. They like to be
challenged and then use their skill to meet the challenge, doing the job
properly and better than almost anyone else.
 General Managerial competence - Unlike technical/functional people,
these folks want to be managers (and not just to get more money,
although this may be used as a metric of success). They like problem-
solving and dealing with other people. They thrive on responsibility. To be
successful, they also need emotional competence.
 Autonomy/Independence - These people have a primary need to work
under their own rules and steam. They avoid standards and prefer to work
 Security/Stability - Security-focused people seek stability and continuity
as a primary factor of their lives. They avoid risks and are generally 'lifers'
in their job.
 Entrepreneurial Creativity - These folks like to invent things, be creative
and, most of all, to run their own businesses. They differ from those who
seek autonomy in that they will share the workload. They find ownership
very important. They easily get bored. Wealth, for them, is a sign of
 Service/Dedication to a cause - Service-oriented people are driven by
how they can help other people more than using their talents (which may
fall in other areas). They may well work in public services or in such as HR.
 Pure Challenge - People driven by challenge seek constant stimulation
and difficult problems that they can tackle. Such people will change jobs
when the current one gets boring and their career can be very varied.
 Lifestyle - Those who are focused first on lifestyle look at their whole
pattern of living. They not so much balance work and life as integrate it.
They may even take long periods off work in which to indulge in passions
such as sailing or travelling.
Further reading and references
 BBC article: ‘Meaning at Work’
 Holbeche, L. & Springett ,N. (2004) In Search of Meaning at
Work, Roffey Park Institute
 Kular, S., Gatenby, M., Rees, C., Soane, E., & Truss, K. (2008)
Employee Engagement: A Literature Review, Kingston
Business School Working Paper Series, Kingston University
 Pinder, C. (1984). Work motivation. Theory, issues and
applications. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman & Co.
 Schein, E. (1990). Career Anchors (discovering your real
values). Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer, San Francisco