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Attributional theory, organisational culture and motivation

Xenikou, A.; (1995) Attributional theory, organisational culture and motivation. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis concerns the effect of attributions for failing in a creativity task and organisational culture (OC) on motivation to engage in similar tasks. In chapter one the relationship between situational attributions, attributional style (AS), and motivation is reviewed. A reformulation of Amabile's model of the social psychology of creativity is suggested on the grounds of recent developments in attributional theory. An extension of Amabile's theory is also proposed by investigating various social facilitators of creativity. In order for the proposed extension of Amabile's theory to be further elaborated within the organisational setting, the effect of organisational culture on creativity and innovation is reviewed in chapter two. Five studies were conducted to test a series of hypotheses derived from the above research. In study one, the moderating role of situational attributions in the relationship between failure and subsequent motivation was empirically shown in terms of the refined attributional theory of Weiner. Since the literature in AS has questioned the psychometric properties of the various measures of the concept, study two concerns the development of a more reliable and valid measure of AS. Results showed that a generalised expectancy for negative events is a predictor of low confidence and pessimism. In study three the new measure of AS was used to test for the hypothesised influence of AS on after-failure motivation through its effect on situational attributions. The suggested extension of Amabile's social psychology of creativity was also tested by examining whether pro-creativity social norms facilitate creative behaviour. The findings demonstrate that the globality facet of AS and the perceived social norms for creativity determine the perception of situational attributions, which in turn predicts the level of after-failure motivation. In order to examine the effect of social norms on motivation to be creative in the organisational setting, organisational norms as a manifestation of OC had to be measured. The fourth study was a psychometric assessment of four questionnaire measures of OC which showed the more reliable and valid measure to use. In addition, study four provided some evidence that the organisational norms of creativity, internal co-operation, and achievement constitute the cultural dimension of openness to change, while the norms of centralisation of power and competition are associated with resistance to change. The fmal study investigated the effect of OC on employees motivation to be creative through the mediating effect of situational attributions for failure and expectancy of future success. The hypotheses of this study were partly supported. The final chapter discusses the findings and the limitations of this thesis, drawing out possible implications for future research.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Attributional theory, organisational culture and motivation
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of)

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