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Employee relations and motivation

Module information>

Academic Direction
Birkbeck, University of London
Modes of Study

This module will examine key aspects of the labour contract - power and motivation. 

Please note the availability of this module is for Term 2: January to March.

Topics covered

Topics in this module include motivation and performance, and related job attitudes such as engagement, organisational commitment and job satisfaction in the political and economic context of employment. Consequently, the module is concerned with power, control, participation, diversity and autonomy at work; so the material should give rise to some lively discussions.

Learning outcomes

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate theories of motivation at work.
  • understand the central role of motivation in the context of the employment relationship.
  • recognise the impact of changes in the employment relationship (such as pay, job design, employee involvement and opportunities) on motivation.
  • identify problems and the most feasible approaches to the measurement of motivation and performance in work settings.
  • evaluate issues related to diversity in the workplace.


One two-hour unseen written examination​.

Essential reading

  • Latham, GP (2007). Work motivation: History, theory, research, and practice. Sage.
  • Pinder, C (2008). Work motivation in organizational behaviour. Routledge.
  • Kanfer, R (2008). Work motivation: Past, present, and future. Routledge.
  • Steers, R, Porter, L and Bigley, G. (eds.) (2003). Motivation and Work Behaviour. London: McGraw-Hill.