The Importance of Enjoying Work

Topic(s): job performance, job satisfaction, motivation, stress
Publication: Journal of Management (2012)
Article: Driven to Work and Enjoyment of Work: Effects on Managers’ Outcomes
Authors: L. Graves, M. Ruderman, P. Ohlott, T. Weber
Reviewed by: Thaddeus Rada

Work motivation, a topic that is relevant to almost all employees in almost every organization, is a common research area in I-O psychology. Within the vast motivation literature, two types of motivation that have emerged in recent years are the ‘driven to work’ and ‘enjoyment of work’ motives. The ‘driven to work’ motive is based on the feeling that people should work (they feel compelled to), while the ‘enjoyment of work’ motive emphasizes intrinsic motivation and personal enjoyment of the work itself. Recently, researchers (Graves et al., 2012) conducted a study to identify the role that these two types of motivation have on managerial performance, career satisfaction, and psychological strain.


Using a sample of over 300 managers, the researchers found that, while the ‘driven to work’ motive did not seem to be substantially related to the outcomes in question, the ‘enjoyment of work’ motive was related to the outcomes. Specifically, managers who reported higher levels of work enjoyment were also likely to have higher levels of job performance and career satisfaction, and lower levels of psychological strain, compared to managers who reported lower levels of work enjoyment.


Based on these results, it appears that the ‘enjoyment of work’ motive is an effective and desirable motive to cultivate in managers. Fortunately, this motive may be emphasized in a variety of ways, including training, personnel selection, and through a company’s culture; doing so may result in a number of positive outcomes for managers. By conjunction, some positive outcomes for employees may be expected as well.


Graves, L.M., Ruderman, M.N., Ohlott, P.J., & Weber, T.J. (2012). Driven to work and enjoyment of work: Effects on managers’ outcomes. Journal of Management, 38, 1655-1680.