Meaning and Motivation of Work LO5335

Blackburn, Richard (
Sun, 4 Feb 1996 10:35:42 -0500

(Apologies at the outset for multiple postings, but I am trying to reach
as many knowledgeable individuals on this issue as possible.)

As a list member I have done more lurking than participating, and
I have appreciated the insights gleaned from more active list members.
Given the discussions I have seen, I think LO list members represent the
"experts" who may be able to assist me in a research project concerning
"The Meaning and Motivation of Work in the 21st Century." In addition,
the cross-industry and cross-cultural representation reflects the insights
that would enhance the ultimate contribution of this research.
We know that jobs are changing. But what can be said of work
itself? In particular, what can be said about how the meaning and
motivation of work might change in the future? As the result of a grant
from the Foundation for Excellence in Consulting and Management, I am
collecting data to provide the funding organization with information about
work in the 21st century. Two different data collection efforts are
currently underway to address these questions: a short survey (Option A,
below) and/or a Delphi (expert-based, round-robin, iterative surveys)
procedure (Option B, below). I am using this electronic medium to solicit
possible participants in one (or both) of these efforts.
If you are willing to participate in this project, please
continue. For your participation, I will provide an executive summary of
the results of the project. If you are not interested, "delete message"
and thank-you for your time.

[...Host's Note: If you want to participate in Dick's survey please email
to him directly, not to the list. If you would like to discuss this topic
on the LO list, that's fine. -- Rick (your host)...]

OPTION A: Please respond to the following questions as briefly
(or as extensively) as you desire and return to me at your convenience

Definitions of terms like meaning, motivation, and work are left
up to you. The frame of reference for your responses may be the meaning
and motivation of YOUR work in the 21st century (say up through the next
10-20 years), or the work of OTHERS in general (all employees), or the
work of some particular COHORT(S) of others (non-managers, managers,
executives, etc.). Whatever choice(s) you make, please indicate.

1. What do you think will be the CONTEXT OF WORK in the next
10-20 years? That is, under what conditions will work be undertaken early
in the next century?

2. What will be the MEANING OF WORK in the same time period?

3. Given your responses to questions 1 and 2, what do you believe
will be the MOTIVATION TO WORK in the same time period?

If you are willing, please include the following demographic
information. This will enable me to interpret responses more completely,
as well as provide you with the executive summary promised earlier.

Name Position
Address Organization
Age Years in the Work Force

Feel free to e-mail your response to me directly, not to the list.

OPTION B: For the DELPHI PROCEDURE I am recruiting a group of
experts (members of this list have the necessary expertise) willing to
complete a series of brief surveys on the meaning and motivation of work
in the 21st century. The three or four surveys will be iterative in
nature, with succeeding surveys based on a compilation of expert responses
to the previous surveys. While these surveys will be brief, each will
need to be completed and returned in a timely manner to insure that
sufficient iterations of the Delphi Process can be completed in a
reasonable amount of time. If you are interested in participating in this
portion of the project, please e-mail your response to me, not to the
list. I will add your name to the experts' list. The first Delphi survey
will be sent near the middle of February.

Thank-you for your willingness to participate in this research
effort if you choose to do so. I will post general results of this work
on the list at some time in the future.

Dick Blackburn (looking for a rest stop on the Information Superhighway)
Associate Professor 
  of Management
Kenan-Flagler Business School
Carroll Hall, CB #3490
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-3490
Phone:  919-962-3162
Fax:  919-962-4425

"Blackburn, Richard" <>