Intrinsically or extrinsically driven : generational differences in workplace motivation and engagement
Kerr, Marilyn Dianne
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The general aim of the study was to explore the relationship between work engagement, multigenerational workforces and employee motivation within a selected Rand Water plant. The value of the investigation, into the role that work engagement plays in motivating multigenerational workforces, may afford managers with the tools to manipulate certain variables within their control, to increase workplace engagement. Three questionnaires were administered, namely the Work Engagement Scale (WES), the Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale (WBNSS) and the Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale (WEIMS). A response rate of 33, 6% was obtained from a sample of 488 employees. The data showed that the generational cohorts appeared to experience similar degrees of engagement, and that all three generational groups were motivated similarly by intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The data also showed that all three groups indicated similar degrees of satisfaction with the three psychological needs related to autonomous, intrinsically motivated behaviour. There were two notable differences, namely the difference between the Generation Y and the Baby Boomer cohorts in terms of the cognitive and emotional dimensions of engagement as well as the difference in the indicated degree of satisfaction of the psychological need for autonomy between Generation Y and Generation X cohorts. The limitations of the study were identified and recommendations for the organisation and for future research were made.