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Motivation, Engagement and Job Design


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Aly Kelleher
  • Assessment: a 2000-word coursework essay (100%)

Module description

This module discusses central concepts within the field of organisational psychology. You will engage with, and critically evaluate, the traditional theoretical approaches to Motivation Theory and its application in a work context, and learn about the ability of motivation theories to explain employee behaviour, and their contribution to outcomes such as performance and job satisfaction. The module also examines the development and application of employee engagement, including key issues relating to why employees choose to engage or withdraw from their work. It will also provide you with insight into individual factors that influence employee motivation, engagement and how jobs are (re)designed, e.g. emotion and cognitive styles, self-efficacy, job  crafting and the self-regulation of behaviour.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Introduction to motivation and the distinction between the two traditional theoretical approaches to motivation
  • Content theoretical approach to motivation: Maslow, Aldfer and Herzberg
  • Process theoretical approach to motivation: equity theory, expectancy theory and goal-setting
  • Job design and pay for performance: development, the Job Characteristics Model and proactive approaches to job redesign
  • Engagement: how it is defined and conceptualised in the literature
  • Needs revisited: motivation theories which sought to overcome the limitations of classical needs theories
  • Cognition revisited: modern process theories and their attempts to overcome the limitations of early process theories
  • Affect, engagement and flow, including Affective Events Theory (AET) and job satisfaction, core affect and self-regulation
  • The role of time in motivation, including how time is ignored in Motivation Theory and its importance

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand and be able to critically evaluate motivation theories with acknowledgment of their history and development
  • understand the development of job design approaches and theory, e.g. Job Characteristics Model and job crafting
  • understand the application of motivation theories and job design in organisations for increasing motivation, and their contribution to outcomes such as performance and job satisfaction
  • understand the role of, and relationship between, emotion and cognitive styles in employees’ motivation at work, e.g. Affective Events Theory (AET)
  • understand the concept of employee engagement and its development
  • know how to critically evaluate the key components of employee engagement based on the two approaches to engagement, e.g. Kahn vs Schfauli et al.
  • understand the potential contribution of employee engagement to positive organisational outcomes.