IT Managers’ Narratives on Subordinates’ Motivation at Work: A Case Study

IT Managers’ Narratives on Subordinates’ Motivation at Work: A Case Study

Lars Göran Wallgren (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Svante Leijon (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Kerstin Malm Andersson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/jthi.2011070103
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Abstract

Little is known about managers’ perception of their subordinates’ motivation, especially how this perception influences managerial behavior. This study, conducted in the growing IT consultancy sector, focuses on how IT consultancy first-line managers construct their subordinates’ motivation. Since work motivation is a complex phenomenon, there is variation in how managers reduce this complexity. The empirical data was collected in semi-structured interviews with six team leaders (three female, three male) and are presented as narratives. In their narratives, the female team leaders present a more transformative view of their subordinates while the male managers present a more transactional view. The authors interpret this variation in the narrations as evidence that the issue of subordinate motivation is not seen as strategically important. This interpretation cast doubts on certain assumptions in organizational psychology theory.
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The It Consultancy Firm

In an IT consultancy firm there is typically little direct contact between the IT managers (the team leaders) and the IT consultants (the subordinates). After the IT team managers assign the IT consultants to the customers, the IT consultants locate to the customers’ place of business where they are under the supervision of the customers. In this increasingly common professional workplace, where consultants tend to work independently from their statutory employers, managers must trust significantly in their subordinates’ self-motivation. According to Jackson and Carter (1995), when a workforce is complex, fragmented and physically remote, an understanding of the organization’s members is a necessity.

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