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Breaking Engagement Apart: The Role of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Engagement Strategies

  • Molly L. Delaney (a1) and Mark A. Royal (a1)
Abstract

Employee engagement has long been an instrumental component of human capital strategies and continues to dominate the conversation about how high-performing organizations attract and retain their best talent. Engagement is a construct of component parts, however, and we believe there is still much to be learned about engagement by taking an in-depth look at those components. This article examines employee motivation as a core element of engagement, including its antecedents and outcomes, the types of motivation and the dynamics between them, and the ways organizations can foster and harness motivation for improved engagement. Our research identifies a large and consistent motivation gap, such that employee intrinsic motivation is consistently higher than extrinsic motivation. This gap signals that investments in engagement can yield a higher return if strategically focused on motivation, and so we offer recommendations regarding how to close this gap via intrinsically and extrinsically motivating work structures and environments. The goal is to create a new dialogue around engagement and encourage organizations to break it down in order to understand it more fully.

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Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Molly L. Delaney, who is now at Google, Inc., 1600 Ampitheater Way, Mountain View, CA 94043. E-mail: mollyldelaney@google.com
References
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Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • ISSN: 1754-9426
  • EISSN: 1754-9434
  • URL: /core/journals/industrial-and-organizational-psychology
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