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Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale: Its Value for Organizational Psychology Research

By Tremblay, Maxime A.; Blanchard, Céline M. et al. | Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, October 2009 | Go to article overview

Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale: Its Value for Organizational Psychology Research


Tremblay, Maxime A., Blanchard, Céline M., Villeneuve, Martin, Taylor, Sara, Pelletier, Luc G., Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science


The Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale (WEIMS) is an 1 8-item measure of work motivation theoretically grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000). The purpose of the present research was twofold. First, the applicability of the WEIMS in different work environments was evaluated. Second, its factorial structure and psychometric properties were assessed. Two samples of workers (military: N = 465; civilians: N = 192) voluntarily completed questionnaires. Using the WEIMS's 3 indexes (work self-determination index, work self-determined and nonself-determined motivation, respectively), results of regression analyses were supportive of its ability to predict positive and negative criteria in the workplace. Results also showed the adequacy of both its construct validity and internal consistency. Its factorial structure was also invariant across samples. Finally, its quasi-simplex pattern and relationships with psychological correlates further supported the self-determination continuum. Overall, these findings provide evidence for the applicability as well as the reliability and validity of the WEIMS in organisational settings. Results are discussed in regard to the applicability of self-determination theory to the workplace.

Keywords: work motivation, self-determination theory, scale validation

Work motivation is an enigmatic topic in work and organisational science (Kanfer, Chen, & Pritchard, 2008). Given today's economy, a motivated workforce represents botìi a competitive advantage and a critical strategic asset in any work environment. In organisational research, work motivation has been the subject of more theories than any other topic (Baron, 1991); organisational researchers see employee motivation as a fundamental building block in the development of effective theories (Steers, Mowday, & Shapiro, 2004). Indeed, programs of research guided by expectancy-valance theory, self-regulation and goal-setting formulations, social exchange and justice approaches, and selfperspective (e.g., self-determination theory [SDT]; Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000) have stimulated the development of organisational and managerial practises to promote positive worker attitudes (e.g., employee commitment) and enhance job performance (e.g., individual and team effort).

An issue that warrants attention in motivation research is the method and approach used to assess this construct. Assessments of employee motivation need to be practical, fast, flexible, and accessible through different means. Short, theory-grounded measures leading to concrete applied venues are key to addressing these organisational needs. This paper will thusly define and review different approaches to studying and assessing motivation in the workplace. Emphasis will be given to a subjective approach grounded in SDT, which should prove valuable and practical for use in rapidly changing organisational environments.

Definition and Types of Motivation Measure

Pinder (1998) defined work motivation as "a set of energetic forces that originates both within as well as beyond an individual's being, to initiate work-related behaviour, and to determine its form, direction, intensity and duration" (p. 11). Motivation is thusly manifested by attention, effort, and persistence. The ability to measure factors that energize, channel, and sustain work behaviour over time (Steers et al., 2004), is essential for capturing employee motivation and for developing interventions aimed at enhancing motivation, and in turn, job satisfaction and performance. To date, most research on the influence of individual factors in work motivation has investigated differences that can be captured through self-report measures of personality, affect, interests, and values (Kanfer et al., 2008). Within the organisational psychology literature, there are four major measurement systems used to assess work motivation. These include projective, objective, implicit/explicit, and subjective measures.

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