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Psychological Testing to Assess Motivation in the Workplace

Every employer seeks to find new employees that are a perfect match for the available position in their company.Many employers are now leaning towards organizational psychologists to assist them in finding the “perfect” employee.Organizational psychologist are able to assist companies in screening possible employees for personality traits that are necessary for the person to be successful at the potential job.

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Employers have also started to integrate psychological testing into the interview process to assist psychologists in picking out potential candidates who hold these desired traits.

In addition, psychological testing is used to test current employees to determine what company improvements are needed to improve overall success. A largely researched topic in this area of psychology is motivation and reasons for motivation in employees. Article Summary The ability to measure factors that energize, channel, and sustain work behavior over time is essential for capturing employee motivation and for developing interventions aimed at enhancing motivation, job satisfaction, and performance (Tremblay, Blanchard, Taylor, Pelletier, & Villeneuve, 2009).

Tremblay et al. (2009) suggests that self-determination theory (which focuses on why a person is motivated) applies to activities which people find interesting, challenging, or pleasing. This type of motivation is called intrinsic motivation. In addition, activities that are not experienced as interesting or pleasing are unlikely to get accomplished, unless there is an instrumental reason in doing so. This is called extrinsic motivation.

The self-determination theory states that intrinsic motivation leads to the most positive outcomes, whereas extrinsic motivations lead to more negative outcomes such as counterproductive performance and employee withdraw (Tremblay et al. , 2009). Low work motivation has been linked to depression in employees, higher turnover rates, and job burnout (Tremblay et al. , 2009). Since better job performance, employee engagement, and employee retention as all considered vital for overall success of a company, it is important that research be conducted on tests that are able to determine otivational characteristics in company employees. The Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale (WEIMS) The WEIMS is a 18-item self-report scale that was developed by Tremblay et al. (2009) to measure both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in employees. The scale is also theorized to determine successful job performance based on six types of motivation determined by the self-determination theory. Participants were asked to provide their answers to the 18 items on a Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 (does not correspond) to 5 (corresponds exactly) (Tremblay et al. , 2009).

The researchers then created a formula to assess the scores of the scale. The total score derived from the formula reflects the individuals’ level of self determination. This research was conducted to determine the accuracy of using the WEIMS in different work environments to determine levels of motivation in employees. The WEIMS was hypothesized to predict positive and negative motivators based on the self-determination scale and to determine psychological ideas related to work motivation (Tremblay et al. , 2009). In addition, this research aimed to gain reliability and validity of the WEIMS scale.

Three separate studies were conducted in an attempt to support the proposed hypotheses Effectiveness of the WEIMS In the first study, the WEIMS showed mid to high correlations for each type of motivation. Researchers indicated that this represents an indication of construct validity (Tremblay et al. , 2009). This study also determined that results indicated that extrinsic motivation was the main reason why employees were involved in their work. In study number two, results again indicated extrinsic motivation as the main motivation for employees (Tremblay et al. 2009). Results also indicated that a positive work environment leads to higher levels of self-determination, which in turn leads to the employee being more engaged in their work and a higher level of job satisfaction (Tremblay et al. , 2009). In addition, organizational support and positive work environment also showed a positive correlation with four of the types of motivation. In the third study, results were identical to the first two studies. This indicates that the reliability and validity of the WEIMS measure is positive (Tremblay et al. , 2009).

In addition, the original hypotheses that the WEIMS predicts positive and negative motivators based on the self-determination scale was supported (Tremblay et al. , 2009). The overall effectiveness of the WEIMS measure, as used in an employment setting, was positive. “The WEIMS has construct, content, and criterion validity for organizational settings” (Tremblay et al. , 2009, p. 221). In addition, results of all studies were consistent with the hypothesis that as self-determination increases, job satisfaction and commitment rises as well (Tremblay et al. , 2009).

This study also supports that the WEIMS has the ability to predict positive and negative work experiences based on extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Tremblay et al. (2009) did specify that although the found results are promising, further research is needed in order to determine if the WEIMS is useful in predicting future motivational behaviors based on this evaluation. Conclusion The use of psychological tests, such as the WEIMS, are able to provide employers with information that could potentially be used for improvement of overall work settings and ultimately the improvement of work performance.

The use of the WEIMS by employers can contribute to a better understanding of of employee motivation and overall organizational functioning (Tremblay et al. , 2009). Increased motivation of employees is a critical asset in maximizing company profits in the current economy. With increased motivation of employees comes a more sufficient means of production, resulting in better quality and quantity of company products. Overall, psychological testing is able to assist employers in determining weaknesses in employees and the company.

Using the results of testing to develop training strategies and programs to counteract negative feedback is vital in the improvement of any work setting. Psychological testing can also be used for positive feedback for the company, by using testing results to determine which employee traits work well for the success of that specific employer. The WEIMS, specifically, shows promising influence in determining both positive and negative aspects of employee motivation. This tool, if used correctly, has the potential to have a large impact on the way employers address overall motivation in the workplace.

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