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Unequal involvement, unequal attainment? A theoretical reassessment and empirical analysis of the value of motivation in the labor market
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2018 (English)In: Social Science Research, ISSN 0049-089X, E-ISSN 1096-0317, Vol. 76, p. 169-185Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Inequality has often been explained by stable individual traits or by the structural features of labor markets. This study argues that we also should consider task involvement when we account for labor market inequality. Three mechanisms derived from experimental research link task involvement to performance: individuals involved in tasks are more focused on the work process, are more dedicated to mastery and problem-solving, and have stronger product quality perseverance. Despite the significance of task involvement as a motivation, its potential implication for labor market inequality is so far rather unacknowledged. We aim to develop its theoretical implications in the labor market context and test the expectation that task involvement is related to wage attainment by analyzing representative data for Sweden (LNU) and Europe (ESS). We theoretically locate our account within relational sociology, emphasizing that wage inequality is determined by interactions between worker attributes and the features of work organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 76, p. 169-185
Keywords [en]
Work motivation, Task involvement, Intrinsic motivation, Wages, Labor market inequality, Labor market performance
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160918DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.08.007ISI: 000447247800014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160918DiVA, id: diva2:1255192
Available from: 2018-10-11 Created: 2018-10-11 Last updated: 2018-11-12Bibliographically approved

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Westerman, Johan
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NB
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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