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Whether thinking about the performance of individuals or teams, it is useful to understand what motivates people.



Read Chapter 2 of “Understanding Organizations” by Charles Handy entitled “On the Motivation to work”. (provided as part of your course pack).

Additional Resources

Chapter 12 (in the 6th edition) of “Management and Organisational Behaviour” is dedicated to “The nature of work motivation”. At the end of the chapter there is a list of additional reading.


As well as reflecting on how these theories and models relate to your own work experiences, you can also use them to assist your understanding of students’ experiences of work.


Read “Career Success” from “Understanding Careers” by Kerr Inkson (Provided in your course pack).


Select two or three items produced by employers - job advertisements, information about placements or graduate opportunities or general information for potential employees from their websites.

What motivational theories seem to be at work here? For example, do they suggest that high rewards or job security are important? Do they use phrases such as ‘being part of’ the organisation or ‘achieving your potential’?

When your organisation (or you personally) encourages students to undertake work experience, what inducements do you use? If you are working in a Student Employment Service, perhaps the basic needs to earn enough to continue study are paramount. On the other hand, if you are arranging unpaid internships, the motivating factors will be different.

Discuss your ideas with fellow students and your tutor using the online discussion board.