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Tutorial 2
Work Motivation in the 21st Century: Mapping New Directions for Theory and Research

Ruth Kanfer
Georgia Institute of Technology

Recent advances in psychological theory and changes in the workplace have spurred a major shift in the way that researchers conceptualize and study employee work motivation. Developments in personality, emotion, and cognition have refocused attention on the influence of nonability individual differences on work choices and goal striving. Economic, technological, and organizational changes have encouraged new research on the influence of sociocultural and environmental factors on motivation. Such research has focused on aspects of workplace behavior such as employee development, organizational citizenship, and organizational attachment. The emergence of new theories, paradigms, and organizational concerns provides a rich matrix for the study of work motivation in the coming decades. This tutorial will review progress over the past century, describe promising trends in theory development, and illustrate their potential for application to a variety of organizational issues. 

Specific topics to be addressed in the tutorial are as follows: (a) the evolution of work motivation through the late part of the 20th century; (b) the rise of person-centered paradigms; (c) motivation in the context of engagement, (d) motivational approaches to workplace change, and (d) motivation over time. Examples of progress and enduring issues in each area will be discussed. 

Ruth Kanfer is currently a professor of psychology in the School of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her PhD from Arizona State University, was a postdoctoral fellow and visiting professor at the University of Illinois, and served on the psychology and industrial relations faculty at the University of Minnesota prior to moving to Georgia Tech in 1997. Her research interests are in work motivation, nonability predictors of skill training and job performance, work transitions, and workforce aging. She is author of over 60 publications and two edited books, and has served on the editorial boards of industrial-organizational, applied, experimental, and social psychology journals. She is past division chair of the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management.

Coordinator: Gilad Chen, Georgia Institute of Technology

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