Whereas motivation has portrayed a significant managerial issue for decades, employee engagement has relatively recently been identified as a topic of growing popularity in the world of business and management research.
Current research that connects the concepts of employee motivation and engagement has had a focus on quantitative analysis and the employee perspective, investigating what factors are of importance to employees in their engagement at work. As there were no studies exploring the managerial perspective of how different kinds of motivation influence employee engagement, we were able to identify a gap in existing research.
The purpose of our study was to develop a deeper understanding of how managers in private and public sector organizations perceive the influence of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation on employee engagement, and in addition, explore whether there is a difference in perceptions between managers working in the public and private sectors.
In order to be able to reach our purpose and fulfill the objectives of our study, we conducted eight semi-structured interviews with eight managers, four from the public sector and four from the private sector, about their perceptions of motivation and engagement. The collected empirical material was then coded into a thematic network where basic, organizing, and global themes were identified.
The thematic network was used to organize our subsequent analysis of the material, from which we drew the conclusions of our study. From the findings of our study we could conclude that managers perceive intrinsic motivation as generally having a larger influence on the psychological aspects of employee engagement.
We also found that extrinsic motivation is of importance to employee engagement, albeit to a lesser extent psychologically but rather as a part of the total package that is offered to the employee by the organization and the manager. No differences were found in the perceptions between managers in public and private sector organizations as groups, but rather the differences appeared between the managers as individuals.
The theoretical contributions of this study were made largely in regards to the qualitative and managerial aspects with which it contributes, as there were no prior studies exploring the managerial perspective with the objectives of developing an in-depth understanding within the field. This study can be of use to managers who are struggling with questions of how employee engagement may be enhanced. Finally, based on the limitations of this study, we were able to make suggestions for future research.
Source: Umeå University
Authors: Bergström, Emma | Garcia Martinez, Melanie