Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 11, Iss. 4, October, 2007, pp. 473-498
@2007 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


An Approach to the Study of Dynamics of Work Motivation Using the Diary Method

JosÚ Navarro, University of Barcelona
Carlos Arrieta, University of Barcelona
Cristina BallÚn, University of Barcelona

Abstract: This study is concerned with work motivation as a dynamic process. Twenty workers kept a motivation diary over a period of several weeks. Using a PDA they recorded their level of motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and perceived instrumentality with respect to the task being carried out. The time series obtained were analyzed using common procedures in the study of dynamic systems in order to determine whether motivation followed linear or nonlinear patterns. The results revealed highly nonlinear dynamics for the different variables studied. The implications of these findings are discussed and questions are raised regarding the basic assumptions underlying current theories and models of motivation, for example, the assumptions of linearity and stability.

Keywords: work motivation, nonlinear dynamics, complexity, Hurst exponent, diary method