Fr-OR-S77-3 - The Effect Of Performance Pressure On Scholars' Intrinsic Motivation And The Meaningfulness Of Work

Work Motivation
Oral Presentation
Part of:
15 minutes
Positive organizational behaviour
Work Motivation
The effect of performance pressure on scholars' intrinsic motivation and the meaningfulness of work
A. Lehtivuori*
Content: Purpose: Performance management (PM) has become a widely applied managerial method of directing university research personnel’s behavior in western societies. However, as PM relies on extrinsic incentives to produce desired outcomes it poses a risk of damaging scholars’ intrinsic motivation and the meaningfulness of work. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether performance pressure inflicted by the PM system has undermined scholars’ intrinsic motivation and work meaningfulness. Although the undermining effect has been studied quite extensively in the lab, studies examining this phenomenon in higher education context are still somewhat scarce.
Methodology: The data of this study is based on a survey conducted among Finnish university research personnel (n=672). The data was collected from 12 faculties of three universities using a total population sampling.  Multivariate regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that performance pressure can undermine scholars’ intrinsic motivation and the meaningfulness of work thus supporting the suggestions of self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci 2000).
Limitations: The nature of the study limits both the ability to make causal inferences and generalize the results beyond the surveyed population.
Research/practical implications: The study implies that the intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives can be incompatible with each other also in work environment thus providing support for self-determination theory. The study also highlights potential risks of using performance management in universities.
Originality/Value: This study contributes to the undermining effect debate by examining the undermining effect in the context of academic work from the viewpoint of SDT.

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