Work motivation: Where do the different perspectives lead us?

Anja Van den Broeck, Joseph Carpini, James M. Diefendorff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Work motivation is a crucial, yet complex resource for employees and organizations. Scholars have investigated motivation at work through many theoretical lenses that are often examined in isolation from one another. This chapter seeks to bridge these various perspectives, first by providing a review of dominant theoretical lenses and second by presenting an integrative framework. The historical review includes a consideration of reinforcement theory, Maslow’s need hierarchy, valence–instrumentality–expectancy theory, the theory of planned behavior, goal-setting theory, self-regulation theories, achievement goal theory, regulatory fit theory, and self-determination theory. Together, these theories identify key mechanisms through which work motivation directs and regulates behavior, as well as antecedents and consequences of motivation. The integrative motivation framework distills insights from the various motivational theories, providing a heuristic to understand what (goal choice: characteristics and content), how (goal striving: macro-and micro-processes), where, and when (antecedents: personal and contextual) employees will be motivated to work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Human Motivation
EditorsRichard Ryan
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)9780190666453
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameOxford Library of Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press


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