How to measure Intrinsic Motivation in ten scales: - technical history

Background

Intrinsic™ has been developed by adapting some well established techniques for use in the work situation, and the basic logic derives from a synthesis of the best known need and process approaches to explaining what motivation is fundamentally all about. Its development can be traced from 3 main areas of research:

  • Adler, Maslow and Herzberg’s work on self-actualisation;
  • Lewin, Vroom and Porter & Lawler’s theories surrounding level of aspiration;
  • Murray, McClelland & Atkinson, Weiner, Rosenberg and Rotter’s work relating to achievement motivation

Development of the Work Style Preferences questionnaire

The original version of this questionnaire consisted of 96 items and just three scales labelled Achievement, Security and Power which were considered to be the “Big Three” needs encompassing all others. The responses of over 300 managers and professionals who completed it were factor analysed in order to explore the component parts of each of these dimensions.

The three different types of Power are evident in Factors 2, 4, and 5, and Factor 7 was clearly the Affiliation element of the Security/Structure scale (see Figure 1). Factor 3 seemed to be a mixture of Achievement and Autonomy components, so ten new items specifically about working alone were written to create the Independence scale as a separate dimension from the Achievement scale. The best items were then selected from the Achievement and Structure factors to form new twenty item scales, and from the Systems Power, People Power, Personal Power, and Affiliation factors to form new ten item scales.

Figure 1: Factor analysis of the original Work Style Preferences questionnaire

  FACTOR / THEME NEW SCALE  
 

 
  1. SECURITY 1 – staying the same, not taking risks, preferring routine, avoiding competition, choosing less responsibility

STRUCTURE

 
  2. POWER 1 – directing other people, being a manager, organising and controlling people, making use of their talents, influencing people

PEOPLE POWER

 
  3. ACHEIVEMENT 1 – working alone, being independent, gaining a sense of fulfilment vs working in a team and with others generally

ACHIEVEMENT (+ INDEPENDENCE)

 
  4. POWER 2 – having confidence and taking risks

SYSTEMS POWER

 
  5. POWER 3 – having status, a high salary, material benefits, recognition and authority

PERSONAL POWER

 
  6. ACHEIVEMENT 2 – (a separate dimension of this scale which had less face validity and was therefore dropped)

  7. SECURITY 2 – having support from other people

AFFILIATION

 

Development of the Work and Life Attitudes questionnaire

The original version of this questionnaire consisted of 105 items and the same three scales as in the present version.

The short-term striving scale was a slightly reworded version of Rosenberg’s (1965) Self-Esteem Scale. Factor analysis suggested that all ten of the items it contains should be retained, but it was doubled in length by writing new items that are approximately opposite to Rosenberg’s as the standard deviation was only 4.01. Permission to use this expanded version was granted by Dr. Florence Rosenberg, the widow of Professor Morris Rosenberg, and the new items are included in the questionnaire between his first five and his last five in order to maintain the same order of positive and negative items.

The Medium-term striving scale was based on Rotter’s (1966) Internal-External Control Scale. Rotter’s original version consists of 29 items, each of which is a forced choice between two often somewhat unrelated statements. It includes six dummy items and five which relate to political beliefs, so just 18 items were used and these were split into 36 separate statements. Factor analysis suggested that only the 19 statements loading on the first factor should be included in the new version of the measure, and these were six whole items and seven half items from Rotter’s scale. Permission to use these was granted by Professor Rotter, and a twentieth item was devised which is now question 32: “Achieving good results depends on having the right opportunities”.

The General Orientation scale was based on items from an existing measure of resultant achievement motivation which were subsequently dropped. The factor analysis suggested that the best items were about striving for success or thinking about it and avoiding failure or worrying about it, and 20 new items were written which aimed to present a clear choice between two sets of priorities or ways of operating.

Motivational Factors

Validation research has shown that each of the ten scales relates to a distinct type of role or way of working, so all job descriptions can be set out under the ten scale headings. For ease of interpretation they are grouped according to the different types of work they represent:

Understanding and Implementing

1. Achievement

Technical specialist / analyst: controlling own area of expertise

2. Systems Power

Generalist / business leader: comfortable with broad ranging responsibility

3. People Power

Line manager / coach: making good use of others

Working within Systems

4. Structure

Change agent vs maintainer: prefer to work without imposed structure vs content to work within existing systems

Teamworking and Communicating

5. Independence

Consultant: preference for working alone

6. Affiliation

Team worker: consulting colleagues vs self-reliant

7. Personal Power

Project leader: comfortable with project responsibility and a high profile role

Taking Action

8. Short- term striving

Self- starting: confident vs careful

9. Medium- term striving

Goal focused: getting things done vs getting them right

Striving for Success

10. General Orientation

Entrepreneurial vs operational: doing the best job possible vs focusing on results

 

Reliability

Internal consistency

Coefficient alpha was calculated in order to compare the figures for the six scales in the original version of the questionnaire and those for the ten scales in the new version (n = 190). The results are shown in Table 1.

The figure for the new Achievement scale is lowest because it must inevitably contain a mix of items such as "reasonable risk" which may be chosen by default when presented opposite "high risk" (Systems Power scale) and "low risk" (Structure scale). However, as shown below (Table 2), the test-retest coefficient for this scale is 0.77.

The alpha coefficient for the new Short-term striving scale is higher than that for Rosenberg's original scale as a result of doubling its length, and the standard deviation has increased from 4.01 to 13.76.

Original Scale Alpha

New Scale Alpha

Standard Deviation

Scale

Achievement

.74

.48

7.65

Independence

xxx

.75

7.28

Structure

.94

.89

13.77

Affiliation

.94

.71

6.70

Systems Power

.91

.69

6.25

People Power

.91

.82

7.52

Personal Power

.91

.77

6.94

Gen. Orientation

.66

.66

9.24

Medium-term str.

.82

.83

11.94

Short-term str.

.83

.92

13.76

Table 1 : Comparing alpha coefficients for the original and new scales

 

Test-retest reliability

Table 2 presents the results of a study carried out on a group of 44 managers and professionals who first completed the questionnaire within approximately one week of being made redundant, and then again after a time interval of between six weeks and seven and a half months (45% after more than four and a half months). Between the first and the second testing all of these individuals were being given counselling to help them find another job.

The most striking feature of these results is that there are generally more shifts in the figures for the three scales in the second half of the measure than for those in the first half. The mean score on Short-term striving increased by 2.36 points, the mean score on Medium-term striving by 2.68 points, and the standard deviation for the General Orientation scale by 2.61 points. It seems likely that the usually traumatic experience of being made redundant has generally had a greater impact on the way these individuals perceive their belief in themselves, their control over situations, and their tendency to strive, than on the way they perceive the elements that are important to them in the work situation. It is also likely that the counselling they received between the first and second testing served to increase their confidence and determination to succeed (at getting another job), and that by the time of the second testing they had a clearer perspective on their inclination to strive for new challenges or consolidate their position as indicated by the General Orientation scale.

1st Testing

2nd Testing

Test-Retest

Scale

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Coefficient

Achievement

72.91

7.27

71.98

8.96

.77

Independence

25.86

6.45

25.71

6.89

.80

Structure

48.23

12.08

47.86

13.77

.84

Affiliation

28.18

6.66

27.80

6.31

.78

Systems Power

27.93

5.99

28.84

5.93

.71

People Power

40.46

5.90

41.07

6.16

.80

Personal Power

26.25

6.91

26.75

7.04

.85

Gen. Orientation

58.32

6.62

59.02

9.23

.53

Medium-term str.

68.80

10.97

71.48

11.56

.74

Short-term str.

83.55

11.61

85.91

10.99

. 75

Table 2: Test-retest coefficients

Self and colleague ratings and correlation with other instruments

The Intrinsic™ manual contains detailed information regarding evidence from self and colleague ratings and from correlation with other instruments. For a copy of the manual please contact Getfeedback on 01491 845 532 or email intrinsic@getfeedback.net.