Inclusive Practice

INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL TOPIC FORUM THE FUTURE OF WORK MOTIVATION THEORY RICHARD M. STEERS RICHARD T. MOWDAY University of Oregon DEBRA L. SHAPIRO University of Maryland The topic of employee motivation plays a central role in the field of management—both practically and theoretically. Managers see motivation as an integral part of the performance equation at all levels, while organizational researchers see it as a fundamental building block in the development of useful theories of effective management practice. Indeed, the topic of motivation permeates many of the subfields that compose the study of management, including leadership, teams, performance management, managerial ethics, decision making, and organizational change. It is not surprising, therefore, that this topic has received so much attention over the past several decades in both research journals and management periodicals. Whereas several recent articles have examined how far we have come in researching work motivation, this special forum focuses on where we are going.1 That is, we ask the questions: What is the future of work motivation theories? What are the critical questions that must be addressed if progress in the field is to be made? What is the future research agenda? How can we extend or modify current models of work motivation so they continue to be relevant in the future? And where are entirely new models of motivation needed to further our understanding of employee behavior and job performance in contemporary organizations? To understand where the field is going, however, we must first understand where it has been. This introduction represents an overview of the field of work motivation from a theoretical standpoint and lays the foundation for the articles that follow.2 The term motivation derives from the Latin word for movement (movere.) Building on this concept, Atkinson defines motivation as “the contemporary (immediate) influence on direction, vigor, and persistence of action”

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