Examining the influence of affect on workplace motivation

Brooke N Watson, Purdue University


Research has repeatedly shown that when individuals anticipate they are capable of achieving positive outcomes, see outcomes as important, and feel they are on-track toward achieving desired outcomes they are more likely to have higher motivation and approach those tasks. Pleasant mood states have also been shown to influence behavioral motivation outcomes. Organizations have recognized the importance of managing and motivating employees in the workplace. In the current study, mood states were either manipulated in one of two experimental conditions or remained baseline in a control condition for 253 participants. Participants were randomly assigned into one of the three conditions, but all participated in a business game simulation whereby they assumed the role of the President of a Hollywood movie studio. Individuals that reported more pleasant mood states were more likely to approach tasks with the perception that they could achieve positive outcomes. They were also more likely to devote more effort and sustain effort devoted to tasks longer than participants that reported more negative affective states. Several mediating implications for the influence of mood states on behavioral outcomes were noted. Overall, the results did not suggest significant support that mood or affect influenced performance above and beyond motivation. Future research aims and implications are discussed.




Devine, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Occupational psychology|Personality psychology|Organization Theory

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