Motivation to work

  • Ruth Holdsworth
Part of the Psychology for Professional Groups book series


Motivation, or finding out what leads people to behave in the way they do, is a major preoccupation of psychologists (see Cofer and Appley, 1964). They have varied in their standpoints from, on the one hand, seeing behaviour as traceable back to basic instincts, propensities or innate and acquired goal-seeking behaviours (as McDougall’s, not by any means final, list of 18 instincts) to the other extreme, where all behaviour is seen to be determined by external stimulation. Evans, in his chapter on motivation, lays before the reader a number of theories lying along this continuum from Freud through to Pavlov and Watson.


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  1. Cofer, C.N. and Appley, M.H. (1964) Motivation: Theory and research. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  2. Entwistle, J. and Wilson, A. (1974) Degree of Excellence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Goldthorpe, J., Lockwood, D., Bechofer, F. and Platt, J. (1968) The Affluent Worker. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Herzberg, F., Mausner, B. and Snyderman, B. (1959) The Motivation to Work. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Inkson, J.H.K. (1971) Achievement motivation and occupational choice. Australian Journal of Psychology, 23, 20–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Maslow, A.H. (1970) Motivation and Personality (rev. edn). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
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  8. Roethlisberger, F.J. and Dickson, W.J. (1939) Management and the Worker. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
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Annotated reading

  1. Vroom, V.H. and Deci, E.L. (eds) (1978) Management and Motivation. Harmondsworth: Penguin. A wide-ranging selection of articles covering most aspects of motivation at work. Provides good coverage of major writers and researchers (e.g. Maslow, Herzberg, Taylor and McGregor) as well as more general writings on motivation and work, and contributions on managing motivation.Google Scholar
  2. Warr, P. and Wall, T. (1975) Work and Well-being. Harmondsworth: Penguin. A simple and comprehensive text summarizing research and practice on the stresses and strains of work and how work can be made more satisfying.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The British Psychological Society 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Holdsworth

There are no affiliations available

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