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Intrinsic Motivation at Work: What Really Drives Employee Engagement Paperback – April 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise from the Publisher

"Solidly grounded in research and theory, Intrinsic Motivation at Work allows readers to view the problem of motivation in a different light and provides many practical, easy-to-implement techniques to engage and retain employees--techniques that do not depend upon additional expenditures of money."
--Steven Kerr, Senior Advisor, Goldman Sachs; former Chief Learning Officer, G.E.; and author of Reward Systems

"This second edition elegantly captures the essence of engagement and how leaders can create and sustain it. Valuable reading for anyone wishing to create or lead a 21st century organization."
--David W. Jamieson, PhD, President, Jamieson Consulting Group; Past President, American Society for Training & Development, and coauthor of Managing Workforce 2000

"Ken Thomas continues to contribute to our understanding of the mystery of employee engagement. He provides leaders with a roadmap that will not only guide them in working with their talented teams, but also help them understand their own motivation."
--Beverly Kaye, founder and CEO, Career Systems International, and coauthor of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em and Love It, Don't Leave It

About the Author

Ken Thomas earned his doctorate degree at Purdue University and has been a Research Fellow, Harvard Business School followed by professorships at Graduate School of Management, UCLA; School of Business Administration, Temple University; Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburg. Currently he is Professor Emeritus, Naval Postgraduate School of Business and Public Policy, Monterey, CA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Second Edition edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576755673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576755679
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #807,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By foraminut on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
I assign this as the textbook in a Master's degree program. The concepts are clearly written, well-explained, and enthusiastically presented. I highly recommend the 2002 version for those reasons.

The 2002 version discussed the concepts, then chapter by chapter addressed how both team members and managers might apply each of the concepts. This format made it easy to read and to follow; my students were able to absorb the ideas readily and apply them in practical environments.
However, in 2009, Mr. Thomas divided the book, so that the same concepts are discussed twice: once in the first half applied to employees, and then in the second half applied to managers. The claim that the revision was needed to incorporate 'new' material is not warranted; there is no 'new' material which might advance the subject matter. However, there is 'new' material which promotes his apparent new business relationship with a company newly recited in this version, and promotes the principals of that company, and the tools they sell. I have written my objections to the publisher well over two years ago, and have yet to hear from either publisher or author.
My current students must buy the 2009 revision -- I instruct them to ignore any reference to Mr. Thomas' new friends, their tools, or their company. In fact, my students now read the chapters together (in the front half and then the back half of the book) which were originally found within one chapter. This is unduly complicated; I see no reason for the existence of the 2009 version other than self-promotion, as there are no 'substantive' differences between the two versions.
All of the above notwithstanding, this is the seminal work on the subject, and is (with the above caveat to ignore certain promotional material within it) the best discussion of the concepts available. Mr. Thomas is a good writer, and his development of his ideas is convincing and academically supportable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barry D. Leskin on August 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Intrinsic Motivation

Dr. Ken Thomas's book, "Intrinsic Motivation at Work: What Really Drives Employee
Engagement," is an easily readable, interesting contribution to the field of motivation. That is not always true of the contribution from academics. I found the style down-to-earth and concepts and ideas very thought-provoking.

Thomas has a history of breakthrough concepts and theory in the management area, especially conflict management, in which he is an international expert. It extends his contributions to the field of motivation--and the hot topic of employee engagement. He provides a solid conceptual framework for understanding employee engagement.

Thomas puts work engagement into a historical context. He documents changes in work from the mid 20th century to the present, showing how work today requires more judgment and self-management from employees. He breaks self-management into four essential steps: committing to a meaningful purpose, choosing the best way of accomplishing that purpose, making sure one is performing work activities competently, and ensuring that one is actually accomplishing the purpose.

The book's core is a description of four "intrinsic rewards" employees get from today's work and their importance in energizing and sustaining employee engagement. The four rewards are a sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. He summarizes research findings about these intrinsic rewards--on retention, work performance, job satisfaction, professional development, reduced stress, and other outcomes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Often I hear leaders say, "I really need more staff!" Yet the challenges of today's economy have squeezed hopes for more headcount from many organizations.

"More people" can sometimes be the answer, but let's face it: there's a lot of productivity that's currently being left on the table with employees who are disengaged--unwilling to go "the mile", let alone "the extra mile", so to speak.

It's one thing to recognize there's an issue. Yet how does a leader go about re-engaging his teams?

Ken Thomas delivers another winner with this second edition of Intrinsic Motivation at Work. Make sure you're buying this second edition as it has been expanded since the title was first published.

One of the many things I appreciate about this book is that it's based on extensive research, yet you don't have to be a researcher to get value from it. It's practical, informal, yet doesn't sacrifice the value just to make it accessible.

I appreciate a comment Ken makes early in the book: "Workshops have shown us that it is easier to learn how to engage other people when you first learn how to monitor and manage your own intrinsic motivation." You may think you want this book to re-engage your teams but you'll find it helpful in doing the same for you.

Here's how I plan to use this book: combine the insights with the new Work Engagement Profile. This easy-to-use assessment provides objective, reliable insights on how engaged a person (or team) is, then helps chart a path to re-engaging. The combination of this book and the assessment provides all that we need as leaders to start re-engaging ourselves and our teams.

Andy Kaufman
Host of the People and Projects Podcast
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