Driving academic motivation – what brings us to the table?

Alan Johnston, Stefanos Nachmias, Duminda Rajasinghe

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperpeer-review


Motivation is a well discussed topic which has been debated for a century or more, with many models proposed, discussed and critiqued over that time. From Content to Process theories to more modern contemporary models the desire to get the best out of people and to understand what makes individuals and groups tick, has challenged managers and academics through time. Johnston (2016) focussing on academics’ motivation suggests that the two key drivers in the motivation of academics were expertise and search for meaning, suggesting that academics pride themselves in knowledge and application of that knowledge. He advocates the importance of intrinsic motivation in the academics’ psyche as the fundamental categorisation, and although recognises the importance of extrinsic motivation suggests this has a lesser role. Mullins (2005) associates intrinsic motivation with psychological reward, while associating extrinsic motivation with material rewards. A criticism of Johnston’s paper is the small nature of the study, it was conducted on a small scale at one university, and as such while valid in its findings did not provide enough evidence for generalizability or for real depth of analysis or critique. This study expands the field and draws on a greater number of Universities and respondents to identify if there is evidence across the sector. The paper remains focussed on Business School academics as the focus for the research, however there remains opportunities in the future to expand the scope and research whether there is consensus across academia or whether Business Schools differ from other subject disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017
EventBritish Academy of Management 31st Annual Conference (BAM2017) - Warwick University
Duration: 5 Sept 2017 → …


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management 31st Annual Conference (BAM2017)
Period5/09/17 → …
Internet address


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