Work Orientation Theory: John Goldthorpe and How Attitudes affect Motivation
John Goldthorpe and his colleagues offer us a sociological model of workplace motivation: Work Orientation Theory.
Goldthorpe’s theory is culturally rooted in 1960s Britain. But I do think the principles underpinning it are worth bearing in mind.
In Work Orientation Theory, Goldthorpe and his colleagues suggested that different people bring different attitudes to work, based on their social environment and life history. And those attitudes affect their motivation.
Watching this video is worth 2 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)
This video is part of course module number 3.7.2
Program 3: Managing and Leading Individuals
Course 7: Motivation
Section 2: Process Models of Motivation
Primary videos about Process Models of Motivation include:
– Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne Experiment https://youtu.be/jRMO43s5NGY
– Victor Vroom and Expectancy Theory https://youtu.be/WDgF7Avijlc
– John Stacy Adams and Equity Theory https://youtu.be/ksnCw96vg7M
– Douglas McGregor and Theory X & Theory Y https://youtu.be/fS5iqEf1Azs
– Rensis Likert and High Producing Managers https://youtu.be/MTgkCe_hhWs
– Chris Argyris and the Immaturity-Maturity Model of Motivation https://youtu.be/L_QqwdwE_LI
– Edwin Locke: Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation https://youtu.be/737RGCTC1aE
Goldthorpe and his colleagues suggested that different people bring different attitudes to work, based on their social environment and life history. This is something we can readily agree will always be true, to a greater or lesser extent.
They looked at three worker types. Each has a distinct social background and therefore a specific orientation towards work. Goldthorpe’s types were:
• Affluent – whose orientation is ‘Instrumental’
• Professional – whose orientation is Bureaucratic
• Traditional – whose orientation is Solidaristic
Note – Goldthorpe was working before the massive changes in the 1980s in Northern Europe and North America by politicians like Thatcher and Reagan.
1. Think about whether John Goldthorpe’s late 1960s British types are relevant to you. (1 MC CPD Point)
2. More important, reflect on the social types that are relevant in the culture within which you work. (2 MC CPD Points)
3. How can these insights allow you to better motivate the team and the people around you? (3 MC CPD Points)
Goldthorpe’s book is out of print now (and somewhat out-of-date). But if you are interested:
The Affluent Worker: Political attitudes and behaviour (Cambridge Studies in Sociology) by John H. Goldthorpe, David Lockwood, Frank Bechhofer, and Jenifer Platt https://geni.us/s6Di8
For a solid introduction to motivation:
– HBR Guide to Motivating People https://geni.us/sO2IKgn
The best of modern thinking on motivation, in accessible business books. These are all modern classics:
– Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us https://geni.us/uq3EBO
– Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action https://geni.us/vjErAN
– Lead, Motivate, Engage: How to INSPIRE Your Team to Win at Work https://geni.us/ABkZEx
– Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smart https://geni.us/E39I
– Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations https://geni.us/uMaP
– The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work https://geni.us/tiEkeH
Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
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