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Advancing Science of Work and Knowledge for People and Organisations

As is well known, individuals differ in their abilities and interests, and these differences influence how well they “fit” in
various careers. Because careers tend to attract individuals with specific patterns of abilities and interests, individuals in
similar careers often have similar abilities and interests. Given this, one might naturally wonder why people in similar careers
ever experience different occupational outcomes. In other words, if people in similar careers have roughly equivalent abilities
and interests why are not all engineers, teachers, and mechanics equally successful in and satisfied with their work? One
important reason for this discrepancy is that, in addition to abilities and interests, individuals also differ in their motivation(s)
for working. Thus, equally talented and interested engineers, teachers, and mechanics may each want something very different
from their job. When their jobs only satisfy some of their motivations for working, differential outcomes are likely to result.

As an area of research, work values are actually quite old. In some ways, the modern conceptualization of work values can be seen
as the product of a gradual merging of two historical lines of psychological research: that of needs (which began in 1938 with the
work of Henry Murray) and that of values (which began in 1928 with the work of Eduardo Spranger). Interestingly, early writers
disagreed on the difference between needs and values. While a small group saw needs and values as interchangeable (e.g., Maslow),
others saw needs as emerging from biological necessity and values as the culture- and experience-shaped psychological representations
of those biologically derived needs.

In both camps, though, needs were generally viewed as a basic construct that served to motivate behavior toward ways and means of
continually satisfying individual needs. Because work is a prime place for many people to seek satisfaction of their needs, work was a
natural locus for need based theories, which sought to identify the needs that motivated various types of behavior, especially career
choice, job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction.

 

Aim

1. To better understand and assess work needs and values. 

2. To better understand and assess motivation to work.


Our Research Interest

1.The history of the construct of work values.

2.The relevant characteristics and basic psychometric properties of several popular measures of work values.

3.The usefulness of assessing work values in disability-focused organization contexts.

4.The challenges of assessing work values in disability-focused organization contexts.