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Below you will find text from an article about work motivation.  General academic words from the Academic Word List are highlighted in bold.  Note how many words there are.  This shows that a good knowledge of words from the Academic Word List can really help inform your reading and writing.  You'll also see that the referencing system uses numbers and footnotes, which might be different from the referencing system that you use in your studies.  You don't need to know about other referencing systems in depth, but be aware that you may come across different referencing systems as you are reading.


  • Skim read the article to get a general idea what it is about.  What is the gist of the article?  Write a few sentences to summarise it.
  • Look at the words in bold.  Think of a synonym (a different word with the same meaning) for each.
  • Paraphrase the following key points from the text:
    • Work motivation is important to work mental health, as it is closely linked to employee satisfaction and psychological wellbeing.
    • Self-Determination Theory differentiates people's motivation in terms of either being autonomous or controlled.
    • Extrinsic motivation has four subtypes: integrated regulation, identified regulation, introjected regulation and external regulation.

The article is licensed under CC-BY which permits reuse in any form or medium as long as the original author is cited.  The reference for the article is: Yasuhiro Kotera, Muhammad Aledeh, Annabel Rushforth, Nelly Otoo, Rory Colman and Elaina Taylor 2022. A Shorter Form of the Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale: Construction and Factorial Validation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 19 (21), pp. 1-11.

You can access the full article through the University of Derby's Research Repository.

Work Motivation as Key for Workplace Mental Health

​​​​​​1. Work Motivation as Key for Workplace Mental Health

Work motivation is in essence why individual employees engage in work, and the psychological factors that facilitate this [1]. Employees with high levels of work motivation perform better in their roles [2], and can significantly increase the productivity of the organisation [3]. Low work motivation has been associated with absenteeism [4,5] and poor goal achievement [6]. Work motivation is closely linked to employee satisfaction [7] and psychological wellbeing [8], and positively associated with autonomy and feelings of social relatedness [9]. Additionally, work motivation has a strong positive association with psychological empowerment [10]. A positive change in work motivation was significantly related to an improvement in employee exhaustion, and that a negative change in work motivation was related to both an increase in exhaustion and depression [11]. More than 10 million working days are lost as a result of employee stress, depression and anxiety per year, with an annual cost of GBP 10 billion to the UK economy [12]. Stress related illnesses affected 22% of EU workers [13]. A systematic review reported high emotional exhaustion (20–81%) in Arab world workers [14], and 1.4% of Korean workers experienced work-related depression [15]. Significant correlations were found between work motivation and mental health problems. Those with lower work motivation tended to experience work-related mental health problems compared to those with higher work motivation [16–19]. Additionally, issues with work motivation were a significant explanatory variable for depression, anxiety, and stress, accounting for 34–50% of the variance in these issues. Work motivation is important to work mental health [20].

2. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is one of the most established motivation theories [21]. SDT differentiates people’s motivation in terms of either being autonomous or controlled [22]. The most autonomous motivation is regarded as intrinsic motivation, whereas the most controlled motivation is regarded as extrinsic motivation. Additionally, no motivation to work is understood as amotivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to people participating in activities in which the motivation for doing so lies in the behaviour or act itself [23]. Intrinsic motivation is that motivation when workers are motivated to do what they find interesting and enjoyable, and it is often associated with better mental well-being [24]. Intrinsic motivation is often expressed as passion for work. Intrinsically motivated workers feel that work activities themselves are already a reward for them. In contrast, extrinsic motivation is when employees work because it leads to some external rewards such as money and/or fame [25]. In general, intrinsic motivation is associated with positive organisational outcomes including good mental health, whereas extrinsic motivation is associated with negative ones such as poor mental health and shame towards mental health problems [26,27]. Extrinsic motivation can be further categorised into four subtypes: Integrated regulation, identified regulation, introjected regulation and external regulation (in the order of autonomy). Integrated regulation arises when an employee has fully integrated a motivation within themselves. They work because they believe work is part of their identity, that is, who they believe they are. Identified regulation relates to employees who acknowledge the value of the work activity. They work because they understand that matters to them. Introjected regulation is present when workers are motivated by self-image. They engage in work activities because they want other people to see them in a certain way. Lastly, an employee with external regulation works only because that brings them an external reward [28]. Amotivation refers to no motivation to work at all. Amotivation can occur for example when an employee does not believe that they can perform in ways required of them [28]. Amotivated employees often exhibit a low level of mental health and shame towards their own weaknesses [29].


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