Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale
Marylène Gagné Ph.D, Jacques Forest Ph.D, Marteen Vansteenkiste Ph.D, Laurence Crevier-Baud Ph.D, Anja Van den Broeck Ph.D

Motivation Typology and the continum of Self-Determination Theory.
To understand the motivation at work, it is important to understand that it is a multidimensional concept, that can take different forms.  The traditional dichotomy between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is generally well known in psychology, but this macroscopic vision of the motivation is not sufficiently precise to understand the behavior at work. It is also at this level that the SDT particularly helps to understand the motivation to work, because of the distinction between four types of motivation that vary according to their degree of self-determination. Autonomous motivation includes the intrinsic and identified motivation, while controlled motivation encompasses introjected and extrinsic motivation. At the end of the continuum we find the lack of motivation.

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The MWMS is a worldwide renowned test

The MWMS is available on our platform only. The authors of the test are recognised researchers on motivation. The test have excellent psychometric qualities and has been the subject of many studies.

Marylène Gagné, Jacques Forest , Maarten Vansteenkistec , Laurence Crevier-Braudd , Anja Van den Broecke. 

The Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale: Validation evidence in seven languages and nine countries, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 05 Feb 2014

What is the motivation
Motivation is a central concept in human resource management, since it refers to the efforts and energy invested in the work. This energy is used to trigger and regulate behavior at work and therefore determines the direction, duration and intensity of job behavior.

Why you need to assess it

Companies want to have motivated employees, but still need to know where their staff’s motivation come from. Motivation is a concept that does not vary only in intensity but also in quality. In other words, motivation can take several forms that may exist in varying degrees in the worker. The relative presence of various types of motivation leads to psychological, physical, behavioral and economic consequences for an employee.
How to assess motivation
A useful and particularly effective framework to understand and stimulate the motivation to work is the self-determination theory (SDT), developed mainly by two American researchers, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan from the University of Rochester. For more information we recommend you read an article by one of the test’s authors (MWMS). Compared to other known theories, the SDT has the merit of identifying on a continuum all the types of motivation and their different consequences. It also allows to show and explain what is the "fuel" for the right motivation, and what are the possible fuel sources in the workplace.

Four types of motivation

Intrinsinc Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to the fact of performing one or more tasks at work with interest, pleasure or inherent satisfaction. Workers who are intrinsically motivante show that they have a lot of fun working, and that they enjoy performing tasks related to their jobs. Intrinsic motivation is relatively similar to the concept of flow, which is a transient absorption, a state of fun and intense concentration.

Identified Motivation
The identified motivation are related to the tasks carried out by personal conviction, because they are considered important or because they are in line with the personnes values. These tasks are not necessarily pleasant, but it is important for the person to achieve them. For example, someone who decides to attend the weekly meetings of their work unit not because it is a pleasant task in itself, but because it's important for that person to get involved. Employees with a high level of identified motivation argue that their job allows them to reach their goals in life, or that their job fits well with their personal values.
Introjected Motivation
This type of motivation deals with overall involvement of the ego and personal value contingent upon performance. For individuals with a high degree of this type of motivation, their personal value will change (in their eyes) in synchrony with their performance at work. For example, a seller may consider it a personal « value » if his sales figures are looking good, and considers that he’s not as good as usual in off-peak periods. His self-esteem is contingent on his performance, which is not the case with most types of self-determined motivation. Individuals with a strong degree of introjected motivation say that they are working to avoid losing their reputation, or that they must be the best in their field to feel good.

Extrinsic Motivation
This form of motivation is one that is the least self-determined and that involves action by compliance, seeking external rewards and avoiding punishments. Individuals with a high level of extrinsic motivation do their work because it provides them a certain standard of living. Their work allows them to make a lot of money, or the main reason why they go to work every morning is the wages and benefits that it provides. Extrinsic motivation meets the economic function of work (versus expressive). Obviously everyone needs a living wage, but the deleterious aspect of extrinsic motivation is particularly evident in individuals who attach great importance to this type of motivation. Extrinsic motivation in itself is not necessarily problematic, it’s rather the importance accorded to it that could be problematic.

Self-determination theory (SDT)

The self-determination theory proposes a multidimensional conceptualization of motivation comprising autonomous and controlled forms. Whereas autonomous motivation relates positively to people’s optimal functioning (e.g., well-being, performance), controlled motivation is less beneficial. To be able to use the self-determination theory in the field of organizational behaviour, the Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale was developed and tested using data from 3435 workers in seven languages and nine countries.

Test validity
Factor analyses indicated that the 19 items scale has the same factor structure across the seven languages. The MWMS improves over similar work motivation scales in several ways. First, evidence for its factorial validity exists for seven languages across nine different country samples. Convergent and discriminant validity tests across the countries also indicate that the psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness as well as the theoretically derived antecedents to work (e.g., leadership and job design) are predictably related to the different forms of motivation, which in turn are predictably related to important work outcomes (e.g., well-being, commitment, performance, and turnover intentions). 

The Authors of the MWMS

Marylène Gagné Ph.D.
Jacques Forest, Ph. D.
Maarten Vansteenkiste, Ph.D.

(PhD University of Rochester) is professor of organisational behaviour and head of discipline for Management and Organisations at the UWA Business School. She is interested in what motivates paid and volunteer workers. Her research examines how organisations, through their structures, cultures, rewards, tasks, and management, affect people’s motivational orientations towards their work. She also examines the consequences of these orientations for individual and organisational performance, and for individual mental health. Her work has been published in both management and psychology journals and books, which have been cited over 6000 times. She has edited the Oxford Handbook of employee engagement, motivation and self-determination theory. She served as associate editor (2012-2015) for the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology and currently sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Business and Psychology, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Canadian Psychology and the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.
Mr. Forest is an organizational psychologist and a CHRP. He is a research professor at ESG UQAM. He holds a doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Montreal. In addition, he made a postdoc at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. In 2006, he received an award at the popular science contest the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) as well as the Emerging Talent Award professorial research from the ESG-UQAM in 2011. Mr. Forest is frequently asked to give media interviews and make interventions in business. His work check the antecedents and consequences of motivation to work and trying to see how it is possible to reconcile performance and wellbeing.
During the last year M. Vansteenkiste did his masters studies at the University of Leuven (Belgium), he spent one year with Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, the founding fathers of Self-Determination Theory, at the University of Rochester (USA). He is currently supervising several doctoral students who study motivational dynamics in very diverse fields, including eating regulation, ecology, parenting, and physical education. He focus on motivational dynamics in his research. He tries to understand how different reasons for engaging in an activity and pursuing different goals are related to outcomes, such as performance, persistence, learning, and well-being. Often, it is assumed that better outcomes will follow when people are more strongly motivated to engage in an activity. Yet, research findings show that it is critical to consider the type of motivation (i.e., autonomous or controlled) and the type of goals (i.e., intrinsic or extrinsic) people have for engaging in an activity to understand whether they will be productive, engaged, and persistent. Through his research, he tries to expand Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000), a well-known and empirically validated motivation theory. He has been using SDT as a source of inspiration to study motivational dynamics in a variety of life domains including education, parenting, psychotherapy, ecology, work and unemployment, and sports and exercise.

Laurence Crevier-Braud Ph.D.
Anja Van den Broeck Ph.D.

holds a BA in Psychology with honors thesis at the University of Quebec in Montreal conducted under the direction of Robert J. Vallerand (2008). She is currently a doctoral student in I / O psychology under the direction of Jacques Forest at UQAM. She is currently pursuing her research on the passion for work, performance and well-being on the basis of the dualistic model of passion. Since 2009, she collaborates with the LRISP and is currently working to validate the Quebec version of the revised-Personality Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1992).
Anja Van den Broeck is an Associate Professor Work and Organizational Studies at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the KU Leuven. She is specialized in work and motivation psychology. Her research goal is to examine how, and under which circumstances individuals may thrive at work. In her research, she focuses on job design, well-being including burnout and work engagement, and motivation in terms of needs, values and qualitative different types of motivation. She has published in journals such as the Journal of Management and the Academy of Management Annals. Apart from her scholarly interest, Anja engages in sharing her knowledge with a broader audience and helping organizations to increase the motivation and well-being of their employees. 


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5 minutes

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15 years and older

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Self-determination theory

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Individual or in Group