Generation Y knowledge workers' experience of work motivation: A grounded theory study

by Alexander, Keri M., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 264 pages; 3682566


Despite the vast amount of research on work motivation, theorists still lack consensus regarding what truly motivates employees; yet employee motivation is widely recognized as critical to organizational survival in the global marketplace. In the knowledge economy, knowledge workers are the key to knowledge creation and, thus, organizational survival and success. Thus, organizations that wish to survive in the current economy must find ways to capitalize on the strengths of knowledge workers by developing an understanding of the motivating forces driving knowledge workers. Research suggests differences in employee motivation across age groups and generations. As Traditionalists and Baby Boomers approach retirement and exit the workforce, Generation Y, born between 1981 and 1997, is becoming a major part of the workforce. Thus, organizational leaders must develop an understanding of what motivates knowledge workers from Generation Y to contribute to the organization's goals and objectives, thereby contributing to higher levels of organizational performance; however, scholarly research has yet to address the work motivation experiences of Generation Y knowledge workers. This grounded theory study explored the work motivation experiences of Generation Y knowledge workers through a review of key motivation theories and exploratory, in-depth interviews with Generation Y knowledge workers in the healthcare industry, toward an understanding of Generation Y's intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, demotivators, and process of and approach to work motivation. The data revealed that Generation Y knowledge workers in the healthcare industry have a strong desire to contribute, both to their organizations and to their communities. The desire for purpose, which can be achieved through the attainment of social acceptance and self-worth, served as the primary motivator for the research participants.

AdviserLaura Markos
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organization theory; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3682566

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