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Title: Motivation and identity: A psychoanalytic perspective on the turn to identity in motivation research
Authors: Driver, Michaela
First Published: 2-Jan-2017
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US), Tavistock Institute
Citation: Human Relations, 2017
Abstract: Taking the recent turn to identity in motivation research as its starting point, the study attempts to move the field further beyond instrumentalizing and fractionalizing conceptions in which motivation is simply a question of pulling the right levers. Drawing on a psychoanalytic, particularly Lacanian, perspective and an analysis of 51 narratives shared by employees from a number of occupations, it develops a more fine-grained and complex understanding of how motivation functions in the context of identity work. Specifically, the study explores how motivation is invariably mapped onto internal struggles with unconscious subjectivity and desire. These may align individuals more with organizational ideals of the properly motivated employee but also create an empowering space in which they can work through work-related fantasies and find enjoyment on their own terms. The implications of this perspective are discussed.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0018726716669577
ISSN: 0018-7267
eISSN: 1741-282X
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, SAGE Publications (UK and US), Tavistock Institute. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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