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Über dieses Buch

Today, companies are more than ever dependent on a highly motivated workforce and hard-working employees. The purpose of this book is to expand the conceptual boundaries of work effort (WE) in order to gain critical insights into what makes people work hard. In spite of the acknowledged importance of WE, the concept was hitherto weakly understood, inconsistently defined, and lacked a clear conceptualization due to a lack of theoretical and empirical research. At theoretical level, this dissertation enhances the understanding of the WE concept, notably with respect to its antecedents. At practical level, the refined understanding will increase the leaders’ ability to impact and manage their employees’ WE levels.



Chapter 1. Introduction

The purpose of this doctoral dissertation is to expand the conceptual boundaries of work effort (WE) in order to gain critical insights into what makes people work hard. Research on the meaning of work for individuals has answered the question why people work from various perspectives. Yet, despite the gigantic body of motivation research that evolved from the middle of the twentieth century until today, the question why some people work harder, i.e., exert more effort at work, than others, is still open to academic debate.
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The Concept of Work Effort: Current Status of Research and Knowledge Development


Chapter 2. The Meaning of Work Effort

In their article on the prospects of motivation research in the twenty-first century, Locke and Latham (2004) stress the necessity to develop clear and precise definitions of the concepts under study, which has often been neglected in previous research. The result is that studies on the same phenomenon with a similar research design yield divergent findings, because the different definitions lead to different measures and conceptualizations. This definitional problem also applies to WE.
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Chapter 3. Antecedents of Work Effort

The analysis of the identified relevant body of literature considered within the scope of this dissertation yielded three broad categories of aspects impacting the level of WE, being consistent with other researchers in the field: non-financial workplace attributes, individual characteristics, and financial incentives. Non-financial workplace attributes can be further classified into job characteristics, social-interpersonal aspects, and organizational attributes. Individual characteristics describe individual differences referring to attitudes and emotions that vary both within and between persons, as well as demographic characteristics.
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Chapter 4. Consequences of Work Effort

After the WE construct and its antecedents were critically examined in Chapter 2 and 3, this chapter is concerned with the consequences of WE. Although the focus of this dissertation is on its predictors, a critical examination of the WE consequences seems useful to enlighten the WE phenomenon in its entirety in order to sharpen and complete the readers’ conceptual understanding, and to highlight the most important outcomes employers need to be aware of and manage to be able to capitalize on the positive WE effects while avoiding the negative ones. In the following, the positive outcomes are represented at the attitudinal, behavioral, and emotional level to underline the various benefits associated with WE (4.1).
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Chapter 5. Synthesizing the Current Status of Knowledge on Work Effort

The purpose of Part I of this thesis was to critically examine the current status of research and knowledge development on the concept of WE to derive a conceptual framework that synthesizes the current theoretical and empirical insights and, thus, represents the basis for further expanding the conceptual boundaries in Part II. Accordingly, the conceptual framework is presented in Chapter 5.1, followed by several remarks that complete the picture and set the stage for further expanding the framework (5.2).
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Expanding the Conceptual Boundaries of Work Effort


Chapter 6. Fresh Insights from Alternative Psychological Disciplines

This chapter presents two alternative psychological disciplines that shed additional light on the WE phenomenon. First, the field of extreme sports psychology is examined to understand what motivates extreme athletes and to transfer the gained insights to the workplace and relate them to the WE phenomenon (6.1). Second, survival psychology is investigated in a similar way, focusing on the individual traits that characterize survivors (6.2).
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Chapter 7. Conclusions

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight and discuss the core findings of this dissertation. The first subchapter provides a summary of the key insights in order to point out what makes people work hard and what managers can do to increase their subordinates’ WE levels (7.1). Afterwards, the theoretical and practical contribution of the study is underlined to reemphasize its theoretical value and practical relevance (7.2).
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