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Motivating Knowledge Workers: Lessons to and from the Corporate Sector


  • Ruth Dunkin


There is pressure on Australian universities to adopt organisational structures, job design, remuneration and performance management systems based on corporate sector best practice. However, these systems and practices are often at least 20 years old and are based on command-control bureaucracies that dominated the manufacturing and service industries. They are not only alien to universities but are increasingly seen as inappropriate to knowledge-based professional organisations in the corporate sector because the underlying assumptions about what motivates people are at odds with what research shows motivates professional “knowledge-workers”. This research identifies sources of motivation that resonate with what has underpinned traditional university remuneration, promotion and performance schemes. However this does not mean that there is no need for change to those traditional schemes. As academic work becomes more complex and the academic labour market more differentiated, there is a need to recognise this greater diversity within extended promotional and reward schemes...

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Dunkin, 2003. "Motivating Knowledge Workers: Lessons to and from the Corporate Sector," Higher Education Management and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 15(3), pages 41-49.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:edukaa:5lmqcr2jgms6

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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald Inglehart & Tatiana Karabchuk & Stanislav Moiseev & Marina Nikitina, 2013. "International Research Laboratories in Russia: Factors Underlying Scientists’ Satisfaction with their Work," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 7(4), pages 44-59.
    2. Aleksandra Pop-Vasileva & Kevin Baird & Bill Blair, 2011. "University corporatisation: The effect on academic work-related attitudes," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(4), pages 408-439, May.

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