Motivation requested - Work motivation and the work environment of IT consultants

University dissertation from Intellecta infolog

Abstract: DOCTORAL DISSERTATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG, 2011 Abstract Wallgren, L. G. (2011). Motivation requested - Work motivation and the work environment ofIT consultants. Department of Psychology, University ofGothenburg, Sweden. The aim of the thesis is to exarnine the psychosocial work environment, with a focus on the work motivation, ofInformation Technology (IT) consultants. The thesis is based on five empirical studies. Study I (N=167) and Study II (N=380) are cross sectional studies, and Study III (N=320) is a two-wave longitudinal study. All participants in Studies I, II and III responded to a questionnaire on background variables, job demands, job control, motivators and perceived stress. The model used in Studies I, II and III is a mediational one that proposes that the effect of job demands and job controi on perceived stress is indirect rather than direct. The hypothesis of motivators as a mediator was tested using full structural equation modeling (SEM) to estimate direct, indirect and total effects. The sample in Study IV consists of 12 IT consultants who were interviewed in order to understand what motivates IT consultants in their work environment. In Study V, six team leaders at an IT consultancy firm were interviewed in order to understand how team leaders perceive and construct their subordinates' motivation. The results from Studies l, II and III highlight the importance of the presence of high levels of motivators in reducing the perceived stress among IT consultants. High job controi was significantly related to high appraisals of motivators, and motivators were negatively related to perceived stress. Additionally, the results from these three studies indicate that job demands are positively related to perceived stress. In Studies I, II and III, motivators were measured using antecedent conditions that may lead to motivation (e. g., recognition, achievement, variety and the possibility for growth). The results from Study IV conflrm that variety in tasks, job autonomy, praise for a job weil done, the chance to acquire new skills, and the sense of accomplishment affect IT consultants' work motivation. One of the main results from Study V is that managers have rather vague ideas about the motivation of their subordinates. One interpretation is that managers do not think that increasing the work motivation oftheir subordinates is an important part oftheir job. The conclusion ofthis thesis is that, among IT consultants, motivators and job demands are important elements in the job stress framework Motivation is a major component that explains organizational behavior and increases commitment and performance among employees. If a healthy work environment cannot be provided at the individual level, over time, the lack of such an environment will have implications at the organizationallevel. IT workers, who live at the edge of constant change, such as new technologies, require a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. In its study of contemporary IT workers, this thesis may generate important lessons for managing a major sector of the workforce oftomorrow. Keyword<: IT consultants; IT professional; IS professional; Knowledge workers: Conceptions of motivation; Motivation; Job demands; lob controi ; Stress; Structural equation modeling; Longitudinal; Narratives; Leadership; Gender differences; Transactionalleadership; Transformationalleadership Lars Göran Wallgren, Department of Psychology, University ofGothenburg, Box 500, SE 40530, Gothenburg, S1I'eden. E-mail: [email protected] !SSN 1101-718X ISRN GU/PSYKlAVH--240-SE ISBN 978-91-628-8228-0

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