Can you directly motivate employees? Exploding the myth

Stephen Flynn
  • Development and Learning in Organizations, January 2011, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/14777281111096771

What is it about?

The article proves that employee motivation is a function of the organisational environment.

Why is it important?

Employee motivation is offered as a management tool in the popular literature. This is a false promise. The motivations possible are enabled and constrained by the organisational environment. Thus employee motivation is not something an individual manager can 'do' unto her employees. The article encourages managers to direct their efforts towards enhancing the organisational environment and then permit employees to draw their own intrinsic motivation from the work itself.


Stephen Flynn

The article draws on the concept of organisational maturity to describe a number of key dimensions of the organisational environment that most enable and constrain employee motivation.

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