The study of work motivation centers on why employees initiate, terminate, or persist in specific work behaviors in organizations. Most traditional theories of work motivation are built on the premise that individuals act in ways that maximize the value of exchange with the organization. However, the nature of an individual’s work motivation may also involve an internal, individually rooted need or motive—for example, to enhance one’s self-esteem, to achieve, or to affiliate. These motives are assumed to be part of the unique, internal core of a person’s self-concept.

Structure of Self-Concept

Current theories purport that the self-concept is a multidimensional knowledge structure that helps individuals organize and give meaning to memory and behavior. Indeed, psychologists have argued that attaching an object or event to the self ...

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