Questions for Articles 

Steers et al. (2002) Introduction to special topic forum: The future of work motivation

Focus on past  

1. What are the implications for practitioners for answers to the questions posed regarding the future of motivational theories?

 2. What was Vroom’s criticism of theorists’ use of hedonism that caused it to be abandoned as a viable approach to understanding motivation? 

3. What do you think were the limitations of instinct theory (James, Freud, McDougall) that caused it to give way to drive theory? (Thought question). 

4. How much of influence did Skinner’s behaviorist approach on Taylor’s ideas of pay for performance?

6 What did Taylor’s, Herzberg’s and Mayo et al. theories have in common that separates them from Instinct or hedonism theory?  

5. What made McClelland’s need (content) theory, superior to Maslow’s for understanding work behavior? 

6. What are relative advantages and disadvantages of content and process theories to understand work motivation? 

7. What are some advancements made by Porter, Lawler and others to extend expectancy’s usefulness after Vroom’s original formulation? 

8. What more broad theory “acquired” equity theory (Adams)? What makes it a special case of the broader theory?

9. How does self-efficacy (Stajkovic & Luthans) incorporate p * e considerations of motivation?

  Recent developments 

10. What evidence is there to conclude whether or not interest in the development of motivational theory has increased or declined? What has caused this? 

Road ahead

11. What focal points are recommended by the authors of the six AMR papers? 

12 How would you briefly describe to practitioners (HR or manager) what I/O psychologists know about how to motivate workers?

 Latham & Pinder (2005). Work motivation theory and research at the dawn of the 21st century. Annual Rev. of Psy., 56, 485-516.


1. Why did the authors decide to place special emphasis on “contextual effects and mediating mechanisms” in reporting the status of motivational theories?

 2. what are the three primary areas of focus for this review?

 3. Compare and contrast needs, traits, values, affect, and relate them to the three primary area of focus (q 2).


 4. What has happened to Maslow’s theory?

 5. Is there any evidence that our needs for acceptance, status, control, predictability and order are rooted in biology?  

6. What are some shortcomings of need-based theories?


 7. Why it there so much focus on personality and motivation (since 2000)?

 8. What explains why self-monitoring is an important trait that predicts success at work?

  10. How and why do social skills moderate the relationship between conscientiousness and performance (Witt & Ferris, 2003)? 

11. How does an individual’s Goal Orientation, i.e. LGO & PGO, influence what motivates them and how they choose goals (Dweck, 1999)?


12. How do values differ from needs?

 13. Describe how two of your values affect your goal choices. 


 14. Why are values receiving more attention as the workplace becomes more global?

 15.  How would you implement a pay system and a communication system differently for a global organization in two countries with different cultural values for individualism-collectivism, and power distance? 

16. How does self-efficacy affect one’s effectiveness in cross-cultural interpersonal interactions?  

 Job Design Characteristics

 17. Describe a specific job that has high autonomy and one with low autonomy on Cordery’s (1977) three dimensions of autonomy. 

18. Is autonomy important for all jobs? If not, what kinds don’t need it? 

19. Compared to the strength of the situation, little research has addressed “strong” and “weak” personalities on job design and choice, and how the employee shapes the job. Give an example you know about where a strong personality shaped a job.  


20. How would you assess an applicant’s three types of fit (Cable & DeRue, 2002) to maximize the likelihood s/he would work out well as an employee?

21. How would you address the problem (at the individual employee level) that p-e fit is dynamic and not stable?


Goal-Setting Theory

 22. In the Latham et al. (1994) study, why do you think the PDM condition resulted in higher performance? What are the implications for this regarding the use of teams?

 Contextual Conditions

 23. What are some things you can do to control for contextual variables that will minimize problems with goal setting? (P. 497-498)

 Implementation Intentions and Auto-Motive Goals

24. If automatic or unconscious goals produce the same outcomes as conscious ones (Bargh & Ferguson, 2000), why bother to make them explicit? 


 25. What are the implications for the use of feedback depending upon whether or not Learning Goals are treated as dispositional or a state?

26. Do you agree with Gollwitzer (1999) or Lord and Levy (1994) that self-regulation requires a lot of attention or is automatic and does not? What are the implications?

 Expectancy Theory

 27. How can ProMes (based on NPI theory) be used to incorporate the most important assumptions of Expectancy theory?

 Social Cognitive Theory

 28. What are the implications for treating self-efficacy as a general trait (Chen et al., 2004) rather than task specific (Bandura, 203) for developing an employee development program?


 29. Why would negative mood be more highly correlated with creativity than positive mood (George & Zhou, 2002)?

 30. How important is it for a leader to act and appear to act fairly? What are some of the most important outcomes, favorable and unfavorable that can result from treating employees fairly or unfairly?


 31. Which of the theories, GS, cognitive, organizational justice appeal to you? Why?  

32. Why do you think that there has been an increase in interest on affect as a dependent variable, given the earlier work that found that (satisfaction) showed little relationship to performance?

 Locke & Latham (2004) What should we do about motivation theory

1. Why do we even need theories? What value do they provide to the researcher and practitioners? (thought question). 

2. Using a computer model, i.e. input – process (cognitive) – outputs, classify each of Locke’s numbered elements in his integrated model (fig. 1) as to whether they are I-P-O.

 3. Most hypothetical models are typically speculative in nature. Is Locke’s as well?

4. How does Locke suggest the model could be strengthened by adding strengths of the relationships (coefficients) to the paths identified?

5. How does Locke recommend that I/O psychologists use Welch’s notion to create a “boundary-less science of work motivation?

6. In recommendation 3 (what mediates and moderates general variables such as personality), does Locke favor the general or specific action approach?

 7. How might strength of personality traits be important in understanding the extent to which situational variables may moderate behaviors? Give an example.

8. Locke (recommendation 4) argues that we need to consider the sub-conscious. Does this mean we need to revisit Freud?

9. Is there any evidence that sub-conscious goals influence goal achievement?

10. Do you think projective tests are tapping into the same “sub-conscious” that is assumed with automatic (conscious unawareness) goals?

 11. What are some of the things that introspection could be used for to improve our understanding motives for work behavior?

12. How do the authors view the determinism v. free-will issue? What do you think?

13. The authors conclude by arguing that work motivation needs to be studied from new perspectives.” What are some? Which would you most like to study?

   Ryan & Deci (2000) Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being.  Am Psy.  Vol. 55 I

1. If, as Ryan and Deci insist, intrinsic motivation is inherent in everyone, why do individuals differ so much on the General Causality Scale?

2. What was CET designed to explain?

3. According to CET, what are some factors that facilitate intrinsic motivation?

4. Although Ryan and Deci argue forcefully that rewards undermine IM, is there any real evidence?

 5. What was OIT intended to explain?

6. What is the difference between the three forms of extrinsic motivation: introjected regulation, identification and integrated regulation?

7. What is the essential difference between extrinsic forms of regulation and intrinsic regulation? 

8. How is intrinsic motivation linked to relatedness? 

 9. As a leader of an organization, what is the optimal environment you can create to maximize motivation and well being of your employees?

Deci Koestner, & Ryan (1999) Meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation Psy Bull

1.  In the first paragraph of the article, by implication, what do the authors suggest might be a problem with reinforcement effects?

2. How does CET help the researcher to better understand when and how reinforcement, intrinsic rewards affect behavior?

3. What are the differences between rewards that are:

(1) task noncontingent, (2) task contingent, (3) performance-contingent,  (4) completion-contingent, (5) engagement-contingent, and (6)  free-choice  (no rewards)

4. Why is the distinction between rewards that are controlling or informational important to CET?

5. What is the role of “cue value” influence in determining if rewards will undermine intrinsic motivation?

6. What is the expected effect of verbal rewards?

7. How does “discounting” work in Bems’ attributional explanation?

8. How does CET go beyond Bem’s theory?

9. What are the basic criticisms of pervious meta-analytical studies?

10. How do we handle “boring tasks” at work if they are not intrinsically motivating?

11. What were the DVs for intrinsic motivation?


12. For free choice and self-report, did the effect of verbal rewards on intrinsic motivation differ for children and college students?

13. Which type of reward is most like that used in applied settings and what was the principal finding for effects on intrinsic motivation for free choice and self-report? What are the implications for performance contingent rewards in the work setting?

14. What do you make of Figures 1 and 2?

15. What were the findings for unpublished studies, dull v. interesting tasks, and most important informational v. controlling feedback?

16. What are the implications for work behavior given the findings that performance contingent rewards undermined free-choice behavior, but not for self-report?

17 Why do Deci, Ryan and Koestner feel that free choice is a better measure of IM than self-report?

18. How would you incorporate the authors’ suggestions for use of tangible rewards in the real world 656) of managers?

19. How do expected and unexpected verbal rewards affect IM?

20. What are the authors’ conclusions regarding the effects of using rewards for gaining short term control of behavior?

 Cskiszentmihalyi (1999). If We Are So Rich, why aren't we happy? American Psychologist, 5

1. Csikszentmihalyi appears to interchanges the idea of "materialism" and "wealth" depending on the need to buttress his argument. Are they the same? Does it matter? 

2. Have you experienced "flow"?  Using introspection to describe a situation where you have experienced flow. If you have not, interview someone who has and get them to describe it.

3. Do you have an autotelic personality? If so, was it inherited or learned?

4. How can an employer utilize this theory to maximize employee motivation?

5. How does the concept of autotelic fit with Deci and Ryan's OIT theory? 

   Locke & Latham (2002)  Building a practically useful theory of  goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey  American psychologist  

Core findings:

1. What relationship did McClelland find for goal difficulty (probability of success) and effort, and how did this differ from what Locke and Latham found  for difficulty, effort and performance? 

2. Why is performance better with assigned difficulty goals than “do your best” goals?

Goal Mechanisms

3. What are the four mechanisms by which goals affect performance?

4. “When people are confronted with a task that is complex for them, urging them to do their best sometimes leads to better strategies (Earley, Connolly, & Ekegren, 1989) than setting a specific difficult performance goal.” (Latham & Locke, 2002). Why is this so?


 5. How do the moderators that alter the relationship between goal setting and performance (commitment, Feedback, Task complexity) influence performance?

Personal Goals as Mediators of External Incentives

6. Why does assigning a challenging goal alone raise self-efficacy?


7. What function does a goal play in leading to satisfaction?

8. Explain the paradox, that those who accomplish higher goals are less satisfied.

9.  With regard to the practical applications, what effect does setting high goals have on productivity and self-regulation?  

New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory: Locke, E. A., & Latham (2006)  

1. How can managers apply knowledge gained from research in goal-setting theory to motivate employees? What are some key moderators of goal setting that they should keep in mind?

2. How is goal-setting theory similar to expectancy theory? How does it relate to the competence, autonomy and relatedness components of intrinsic motivation theory?

3. In what situations are learning goals more effective than goals that focus on achieving specific performance outcomes?

4. How is goal setting important to personal (individual) and organizational growth?

Judge et al. (2002). Relationship of personality to performance: Motivation: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 797-807.

1. What explains the previous inconsistency in attempts to “…empirically link personality characteristics with motivation variables…” (Gellatly, ’96)?

2. Why did the authors choose to use the three theories, GS, expectancy, and self-efficacy as the motivational criteria with the FFM as preditors? 

3. What assurance did the authors have to show that the personality measures were classified properly?

4. Why do you think the true score correlations (rho) were higher than the average correlations (r) in Table 1?

5. Which three traits showed the weakest relationships with the three criteria?

6. Do you think the authors should have used the FFM or some other? Why?

7. Through what different mechanisms do you think N and C operate to influence performance?

8. Do you agree with the authors that even though the correlations were small that personality traits do predict motivational level?

 Judge, Bono, Erez, & E. Locke (2005). Core Self-Evaluations and Job and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Self-Concordance and Goal Attainment   JAP 90,        

Yardi & Weiner (1996) Misbehavior in Organizations: A motivational framework. Organizational Science

 Mount et al. (2006) Relationship of personality traits and counterproductive work behaviors: The mediating effects of job satisfaction. P psych  

Bass (1997) Does the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm transcend org and nat'l boundaries? Am Psy

1. According to the article, it seems that the majority of studies conducted were conducted in 1st world countries not in 3rd world countries. Would the findings on both the transactional/transformational leadership paradigm shift greatly with a more balanced world view?

2. Under what condition or situation in a work environment would a transformational leader have to engage in moral uplifting of employees?

3. In terms of effectiveness, why do you think that contingent reward falls in line right behind transformational leadership?

4. In the wake of technological advancement, it is very unlikely that the roles, responsibilities, tasks, and duties attached to one's job will remain static. Do you think that both transactional and transformational leadership will come into play if employees need to be motivated to learn new skills or participate in training activities? Why or why not?

   Rogelberg, S. G. (2007). Job satisfaction & job satisfaction measurement. Encyclopedia of  I & O Psych, p. 410-413

 Judge et al. (2002)   Five-factor model of personality and job satisfaction: A meta-analysis. J. of Applied Psych, 87,  

Currall et al. (2005) Pay satisfaction and organizational outcomes. P Psych, 58,

1. How might the relationship between pay satisfaction and organizational outcomes be affected if the public school district administration decided to implement and enforce a pay secrecy policy?

2. What, if any, are the differences between groupthink and collective action?

3. Currall et al. found that shared employee attitudes can influence organizational outcomes. How can employees use this information to their advantage? How can managers use this information to their advantage?

4. Under what conditions are collective attitudes, norms, and behaviors expected to impact organizational functioning?  

Colella, et al (2007) Exposing pay secrecy. Acad Mgt Rev.

If everyone in a certain position was paid equal amounts, thus creating no reason for a pay secrecy system, how do you believe this would affect employee performance? What motivation theories can you think of that can be applied to your reasoning?

2)Personally, have you ever been in an organization where pay secrecy has become an issue? If so, what types of problems did it create? If not, do you believe that the pros of a pay secrecy system outweigh the cons?

3) Do you think any of the Big Five Personality traits would significantly predict whether one likes or dislikes a pay secrecy system?

McBriarty (1988) Performance appraisal: Some unintended consequences. Pub Pers Mgt

1. What was the new element in the appraisal process that caused the greatest problems?

2. What were its effects on morale and teamwork?

3. What were its effects on task performance, and which tasks actually got done?

4. What are McBriarty's objections to the use of the job descriptions in the task performance appraisal?

5. What was the one measure that McBriarty found the most dysfunctional, and why?

6. What were the effects of supervisors having to endorse ratings of people they may never even have seen?

7. How do you think this system would have affected military operations during wartime? (In 1974 the Vietnam war was already winding down and almost over).

 Judge, T., et al. (2002). Job satisfaction: A cross-cultural review. Handbook of Industrial, Work and Organ Psych, V. 2

 Frese, Kring, Soose & Zempel  (1996). Personal Initiative at Work: Differences between East and West Germany. Acad Mgt J. V. 39(1), 37-53.  
















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