Motivational processes in occupational health (MOTIVATION)

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Research on health and motivation in the workplace: How can we make the workplace a health-promoting place?

A major focus in both science and practices today is well-being in the workplace. The aim of the project is to use motivational concepts to better understand occupational health in the 21st century.

We want to combine research into important factors in the work environment with the knowledge we have about motivational processes. The purpose is to gain greater insight into what is required if we want healthy and productive employees and organizations.

Work motivation is an important factor to consider when it comes to occupational health. The reason is that
motivation represents the energy that activates employees’ behavior in the workplace. Motivation originates in the interaction between the individual and the work environment. We want to increase knowledge about not only "why", but also "how" the workplace has implications for employee health and well-being.

Self-determination theory

We will use self-determination as a theoretical framework. This is one of the world's most recognized theories of motivation. It relates to the interaction between the external forces acting on us, and the motives and needs inherent in human nature.
Self-determination theory emphasizes stimulating and mobilizing the individuals inner force in work and problem solving.

The theory distinguishes between different types of motivation. It is thus more concerned with the type/quality of employee motivation, than the amount of motivation. We assume that these different types have implications for work-related health. Thus, one of our tasks will be to investigate, among other things, what factors contribute to the "good" type of motivation, in order to promote occupational health.
Leading experts in self-determination theory are researchers in the project, including the theory's founder, Professor Edward L. Deci.

The project has three thematic focus areas, all of which relate to the overall theme.

Quantitatively and qualitatively

In addition to these thematic focus areas, an important aspect of the project is the methodological approach.

The project will use a unique combination of rigorous quantitative and qualitative research methods, to gain more in-depth knowledge of optimal working conditions and outcomes in organizations.




«Motivational processes in occupational health»


Professor Anja H. Olafsen (USN)


The Research Council of Norway (NFR) has allocated NOK 8 million for the project period 1 December 2020 to 31 November 2024, through the program "Research project in welfare, working life and migration (VAM)

Collaborative project:

MOTIVATION is a collaboration between researchers at USN and the University of Rochester (USA).

The researchers in the project: