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					New Perspectives in Work Motivation: When Context and Time Matter


Panel Symposium Submitted to the 2007 Academy of Management Meeting


                  Gilad Chen (co-chair and panelist)
          Associate Professor of Management & Organization
                 Robert H. Smith School of Business
                        University of Maryland
                    College Park, MD 20742-1815
                         Phone: 301-405-0923
                 E-mail: giladchen@rhsmith.umd.edu

                  Ruth Kanfer (co-chair and panelist)
                       Professor of Psychology
                   Georgia Institute of Technology
                       Atlanta, GA 30332-0170
                       Phone: (404) 894-5674
                   E-mail: rk64@prism.gatech.edu

                     Wendy Boswell (panelist)
                 Associate Professor of Management
                       Mays Business School
                      Texas A&M University
                  College Station, TX 77843-4221
                       Phone: (979) 845-4045
                    Email: wboswell@tamu.edu

                        Ellen Kossek (panelist)
               Professor of Labor & Industrial Relations
                      Michigan State University
                 East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1032
                        Phone: (517) 353-9040
                       E-mail: kossek@msu.edu

                      Kaumudi Misra (panelist)
                          Ph.D. Candidate
               School of Labor and Industrial Relations
                     Michigan State University
                       East Lansing, MI 48824
                       Phone: (517) 882-2386
                    E-mail: misrakau@msu.edu
                                   Sharon Parker (panelist)
                                Professor of Work Psychology
                                Institute of Work Psychology
                                   University of Sheffield,
                                   Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
                                 Phone: +44 (0)114 222 3283
                               E-mail: s.parker@sheffield.ac.uk

                                   Connie Wanberg (panelist)
                       Curtis L. Carlson Professor of Industrial Relations
                                 Carlson School of Management
                                    University of Minnesota
                                    Minneapolis, MN 55455
                                     Phone: (612) 624-4804
                               E-mail: cwanberg@csom.umn.edu



                                         ABSTRACT

The purpose of the proposed panel symposia is to stress a new perspective of work motivation,
which explicitly considers the contextual and time influences. First, we propose an expanded,
person-centric conceptualization of work motivation that emphasizes less well-studied but
increasingly relevant antecedents and consequences of motivational processes. Second we seek
to stimulate inquiry and exchange with respect to more fully delineating key contextual factors
and the associated person dynamics that influence work motivation. Third, we seek to promote
the science-practice interface by embedding discussion of motivation theory and research in the
context of current organizational concerns, including the impact of increasing diversity,
compensation practices, workforce retention, employee development, and team effectiveness.
The focus on context – defined as a set of dynamic conditions and consequences – rather than on
singular variables and their immediate impact, is hoped to further connections between theory
and research on work motivation and important phenomena in other domains, including
leadership, human resource management, and organizational cognition.
Relevance to each Academy division symposium is submitted to:

      Human Resources: Human resource management is concerned with individual-, group-
       and organizational-level drivers of performance. The present symposium is relevant to
       the HR division, for several reasons. First, organizational and demographic changes over
       the past few decades have substantially influenced policies and procedures for managing
       human resources. Changes in compensation practices, work design and the greater use of
       teamwork are discussed in terms of how these features of their impact on employee
       motivation. Second, increasing workforce diversity has raised important concerns about
       managing and retaining talented older workers and managing intergenerational issues.
       Presenters will discuss the impact of recent changes in the work context, career
       development, and nonwork life demands as they impact employee motivation.
       Implications for the development of successful human resource practices to address
       emerging issues will also be discussed.
                    Key Words: Employee Motivation; HRM Systems; Work Design

      Organizational Behavior: Work motivation represents a topic of central importance to
       this field. Over the past decade, increasing attention has focused on predicting
       motivational tendencies over time and work roles as a function of goals and the
       development of effective regulatory strategies. The presentations in this session will
       address these issues in terms of understanding the impact of contextual and nonwork
       demands on behavior over time and the use of longitudinal research designs that may
       assess lagged and cross level influences on different portions of the motivational system.
       The emphasis on context and change influences on motivation over time also offers
       opportunities for understanding the role of leader behaviors in the entrainment of
       effective motivational strategies for performance.
                    Key Words: Work Motivation; Contextual Influences; Person-Situation
                      Interactions

      Managerial and Organizational Cognition: The MOC division is concerned with the
       study of how organization members model reality and how such models interact with
       behaviors. The present symposium is relevant to this division’s domain, as work
       motivation involves an inter-related cognitive processes, in which individuals (and
       collectives) attempt to create fit between their behavior and the environment their operate
       in. For instance, panelists in this session will address such issues of how employees’
       conceptions of competence (self-efficacy) and other motivational cognitions are affected
       by the design of work, the teams their work in, and the broader organizational systems.
       Cognition will also be apparent in our discussion of how changes in careers and non-
       work circumstances may impact employees’ motivation.
                    Key Words: Motivational Beliefs; Perceived Environment; Malleability of
                       Motivation
                                   Panel Symposium Overview

       Work motivation represents a fundamental determinant of effective individual behavior

and performance in organizations. Over the past century, research advances in work motivation

have provided a cohesive picture of the cognitive processes and mechanisms by which

individuals adopt goals and implement self-regulatory processes to facilitate strong performance

accomplishments (Kanfer, 1990). Although person and situational factors have long been

recognized as critical determinants of motivational processing, the bulk of theory and research on

contextual determinants has focused on broad features of the job, such as skill variety (Hackman

& Oldham, 1976), or the influence of group phenomena, such as norms (Hackman, 1992), and

their effects on motivation and attitudes at specific points in time.

       Over the past few decades, however, sweeping organizational, economic, and

demographic changes have occurred that have substantially changed the nature of work for many

individuals. Although theory and research on motivational processes remain useful, real-world

changes in the workplace and shifting organizational needs have raised new questions about the

influence of context on motivation and the dynamics of motivation change. In turn, these

concerns have spawned the development of new perspectives and methodologies for the study of

work motivation. For example, in contrast to earlier performance-centric formulations, new

formulations tend to adopt a more person-centric conceptualization that emphasizes how cultural,

nonwork, and interpersonal variables operate to influence an individual’s motivation to adopt

and sustain goals that facilitate high levels of performance over time and across work roles. The

emerging trend toward understanding work motivation and performance as a function of

individual and contextual inputs that interact in a dynamic fashion over time broadens the scope

of motivation theory and research to better understanding the effectiveness of an organization’s
management of human capital in terms of promoting performance, adjustment, and growth at the

individual, group, and organizational levels.

       Kanfer, Chen, and Pritchard (forthcoming) are currently finalizing an edited book on new

perspectives in work motivation that attempts to capture these new perspectives on work

motivation and more precisely indicate how context and time affects work engagement and

motivational processes. Accordingly, the purpose of this panel discussion is to provide a forum

for chapter authors to present and discuss their conceptualizations from this new perspective, to

review recent empirical advances, and to foster new ways of thinking about work motivation that

may more effectively address contemporary organizational concerns.

                                         Panel Session Format

       The proposed 110-minute panel symposium will begin with a brief overview presentation

(10 mins). Next, each of the five panelists will make their topical presentation (15 mins each),

with each presentation followed by a brief question and answer period with the audience (5

minutes). The session will conclude with a moderated discussion period (15 minutes).

                                         Panel Session Content

       Overview. Ruth Kanfer will begin the session by providing an overview of panel

discussion objectives, and a summary of past and present knowledge in terms of how the field

has progressed and where it is heading, and a brief description of core motivational processes,

including motivational states, goal adoption, and goal striving. Kanfer will also present a new

heuristic framework that approaches work motivation from a multilevel perspective that

organizes inputs in terms of content, context, and change variables. In her overview, Kanfer will

also provide a short set of common questions to be addressed by each of the panelists.

Specifically, each panelist will address the mechanisms and dynamics by which a unique set of
contextual features influence and are influenced by motivational processes, including

motivational states, goal adoption, and goal pursuit. Panelists will also indicate major gaps in

current knowledge in their area, identify promising methodological advances, and identify

promising directions for future research. The first three presentations pertain to organizationally-

driven contextual influences, including systems-level human resource practices, job and work

design, and teams. The next two presentations address the role of person-driven contextual

influences, including career and work role transitions and nonwork demands. A brief summary

of each presentation is provided below.

       Organizational systems and work motivation. Wendy Boswell will address the impact

of changes in technical and social organizational systems (e.g., organizational culture and

climate, employee involvement, performance evaluation and feedback, and reward systems) on

employee motivation. Boswell’s presentation will also consider how work motivation theories

and principles could help develop and align organizational systems more effectively.

       Job and work design influences on motivation. Sharon Parker will discuss work

design as a particular pertinent contextual factor because of its potential for a sustained and

cumulative impact on motivation. Her chapter with Ohly proposes developing a more precise

understanding as to how work design affects motivation. First, she proposes extending research

beyond consideration of particular intrinsic motivational states to incorporate a more

differentiated view of extrinsic motivation, as well as including regulatory focus and goal

orientation as potential motivational states affected by work characteristics. Second, she presents

ideas about how work design affects the processes of goal generation and goal striving, which is

a topic that has had little attention to date. Finally, taking a more dynamic approach to job design
than is typical, she considers how motivational states and processes might affect job

characteristics through processes such as job crafting.

       They propose that work chacteristics can affect a broader set of motivational states than

currently considered, such as They also theorise as to how work characteristics and their

interaction affect goal generation and goal striving. For example, they propose that, through their

impact on motivational states as well as non-motivational states, and through both conscious and

unconscious processes, work characteristics can affect the extent to which individuals pursue

goals that are difficult, learning and promotion-focused, and complex (i.e., higher level, longer-

term, and more encompassing).

       Motivation in and of teams. Gilad Chen will address issues related to the

generalizability of motivational concepts to the team-level, and how such generalization may

serve as basis for studying the interplay between individual and team motivation. In addition, his

presentation will consider the differential influences of team-level and individual-level factors on

motivational processes, from a developmental, time-based multilevel perspective.

       Motivation in the context of career and work transitions. Connie Wanberg’s

presentation will then portray the relevance of motivation theory and constructs to career

transitions, such as initial career choice, organizational entry, job loss, career reevaluation, and

retirement. Wanberg’s presentation will emphasize the importance of motivation, and especially

effective self-regulatory skills, in handling such major career transitions.

       Nonwork life and work motivation. Ellen Kossek and Kaumudi Misra will consider

how non-work factors, such as employee care-giving demands and cultural socialization

regarding work and family relationships, affect and are affected by motivational processes. Their

presentation will take into account how such non-work factors might either promote or hinder
motivation at work, as well as how employee motivation might affect the effectiveness at which

employees can balance between work and non-work demands.

       In summary, the purpose of the proposed symposia is threefold. First, we propose an

expanded, person-centric conceptualization of work motivation that emphasizes less well-studied

but increasingly relevant antecedents and consequences of motivational processes. Second we

seek to stimulate inquiry and exchange with respect to more fully delineating key contextual

factors and the associated person dynamics that influence work motivation. Third, we seek to

promote the science-practice interface by embedding discussion of motivation theory and

research in the context of current organizational concerns, including the impact of increasing

diversity, compensation practices, workforce retention, employee development, and team

effectiveness. The focus on context – defined as a set of dynamic conditions and consequences –

rather than on singular variables and their immediate impact, is hoped to further connections

between theory and research on work motivation and important phenomena in other domains,

including leadership, human resource management, and organizational cognition.
                                           REFERENCES

Hackman, J. R. 1992. Group influences on individuals in organizations. In M. D. Dunnette & L.

       M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology: 199-267.

       Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. 1976. Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory.

       Organizational Behavior & Human Performance, 16: 250-279.

Kanfer, R. 1990. Motivation theory and industrial and organizational psychology. In M. D.

       Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology: 75-130. Palo

       Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Kanfer, R., Chen, G., & Pritchard, R. 2007. Work motivation: Past, present, and future.

       Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Forthcoming.