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career research blog

The latest career research insights to grow your career

Filtering by Tag: motivation

The critical factors that help job seekers get hired

Andreas Hirschi

Based on an analysis of 47 studies, a recent meta-analysis identified the critical factors that make job search interventions effective. The study shows that teach job search skills, improve self-presentation, boost self-efficacy, encourage proactivity and goal setting, and help to enlist social support are most effective. The analysis also shows that developing job search skills in combination with enhancing motivation is critical. The bad news is that job search interventions are less effective for long-term unemployed than for people who more recently lost their jobs.

Liu, S., Huang, J. L., & Wang, M. (2014). Effectiveness of job search interventions: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 140(4), 1009-1041.

Different motivations at different job search stages

Domingo Valero

People can pursue a goal because it is fun or inherently interesting (so called autonomous motivation) or because they feel pressured and obliged to do so (so called controlled motivation). Research typically shows that autonomous motivation is more beneficial and sustainable for a wide variety of outcomes (e.g., performance, satisfaction, well-being) while controlled motivation is usually related with detrimental outcomes.
A recent study now shows that such findings may need a more nuanced look. Researchers studied the development of motivation and job search behaviors across 5 weeks in students who would soon enter working life. Autonomous motivation decreased across time, but was consistently related to job search behaviors. In contrast, controlled motivation was also related to job search behaviors, but only towards the end of the 5 weeks. This shows that although autonomous motivation may have more sustainable effects on job search behaviors, when time gets short, also controlled motivation does the trick.

Journal of Applied Psychology


Late-career employees need to take their careers in their own hands

Noemi Nagy

In order to maintain their health, motivation, and work ability, older employees should proactively manage their careers, as researchers from the Netherlands revealed in a recent study. The authors found that by changing tasks and relationships at work (so called job crafting) aging workers could adjust their jobs to their changing goals and motives, thus improving current as well as future person-job fit.

Kooij, D. T. (2015). Successful aging at work: The active role of employees. Work, Aging and Retirement1(4), 309-319.



Doing what you are good at increases satisfaction with work but does not reduce exhaustion

Claire Johnston

The more individuals use their skills at work, the more positive they feel about their work each day. This is especially true for individuals who are motivated internally, for example, by self-development. However, according to the same study, using skills at work does not help to reduce feelings of exhaustion. Doing what you are good at thus can make you happier at work. However, using your skills does not necessarily mean that work feels less demanding.

Work and Stress

Employees who are better embedded in their communities are more attached and motivated at work

Franziska Baumeler

Community embeddedness enhances the feeling of also being more integrated in one's organization, according to a US study. This higher organizational embeddedness then leads to higher work motivation and identification with one's organization, as the study further shows. This suggests that being connected into a community outside of work can positively influence outcomes at work. The study is further evidence that work and nonwork areas of life are closely related and can be mutually beneficial.

Human Relations

Hope influences motivation and performance

Domingo Valero

Young employees that describe themselves as hopeful are more motivated and perform better at work, according to a study among Swiss apprentices. The study suggests that hope can increase work motivation and motivation in turn to increases supervisor-rated performance. Being hopeful for your future can thus be an important psychological asset in the early career.

Journal of Career Development

Role models motivate for greater achievement

Domingo Valero

Having role models motivates for greater achievement, according to a Canadian study. This only works, however, if the role model stands for a goal that can be attained and that is relevant to one's own work. Otherwise, a role model can even have negative consequences on a person's self-view. People should thus rather take the well-seasoned, competent older colleague with a similar job description as a career role model instead of the topshot new recruit from a different division.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology