Mapping site-based construction workers’ motivation: Expectancy theory approach

Parviz Ghoddousi
Nima Bahrami
Nicholas Chileshe
M.Reza Hosseini


The aim of this study is to apply a recently proposed model of motivation based on expectancy theory to site-based workers in the construction context and confirm the validity of this model for the construction industry. The study drew upon data from 194 site-based construction workers in Iran to test the proposed model of motivation. To this end, the structural equation modelling (SEM) approach based on the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) technique was deployed. The study reveals that the proposed model of expectancy theory incorporating five indicators (i.e. intrinsic instrumentality, extrinsic instrumentality, intrinsic valence, extrinsic valence and expectancy) is able to map the process of construction workers’ motivation. Nonetheless, the findings posit that intrinsic indicators could be more effective than extrinsic ones. This proffers the necessity of construction managers placing further focus on intrinsic motivators to motivate workers. 

Full Text:



Abdel-Razek, RH, Abd Elshakour, MH & Abdel-Hamid, M. (2007) 'Labor productivity: benchmarking and variability in Egyptian projects', International Journal of Project Management, 25 (2), 189-197.

Adedokun, OA, Ibironke, OT & Olanipekun, AO. (2013) 'Vulnerability of Motivation Schemes in Enhancing Site Workers' Productivity for Construction Industry's Sustainability in Nigeria', International Journal of Sustainable Construction Engineering and Technology, 4 (1), 21-30.

Alkilani, SZ, Jupp, J & Sawhney, A. (2013) 'Issues of construction health and safety in developing countries: a case of Jordan', Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, 13 (3), 141-156.

Almohawis, SA. (1986) 'Motivation of Construction Workers in Saudi Arabia: An Expectancy Theory Approach', Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Texas, Austin, Ann Arbor.

Anderson, JC & Gerbing, DW. (1988) 'Structural equation modeling in practice: A review and recommended two-step approach', Psychological Bulletin, 103 (3), 411-423.

Bagozzi, RP & Yi, Y. (1988) 'On the evaluation of structural equation models', Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16 (1), 74-94.

Borcherding, JD, Samelson, NM & Sebastian, SM. (1980) 'Improving motivation and productivity on large projects', Journal of the Construction Division, 106 (1), 73-89.

Bostic, TJ, Rubio, DM & Hood, M. (2000) 'A validation of the subjective vitality scale using structural equation modeling', Social Indicators Research, 52 (3), 313-324.

Browne, MW & Cudeck, Y. (1993) ' Alternative Ways of Assessing Model Fit', in KA Bollen & JS Long (eds), Testing structural equation models, 136-162.

Chiang, C-F & Jang, S. (2008) 'An expectancy theory model for hotel employee motivation', International Journal of Hospitality Management, 27 (2), 313-322.

Chinowsky, P & Songer, A. (2011) 'Introduction', In P Chinowsky & A Songer (eds), Organization management in construction, Spon Press, New York.

Cox, R, Issa, R & Koblegard, K. (2005) 'Management's Perception of Key Behavioral Indicators for Construction', Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 131 (3), 368-376.

Crosthwaite, D. (2000) 'The global construction market: a cross-sectional analysis', Construction Management and Economics, 18 (5), 619-627.

Dainty, ARJ & Asad, S. (2005) 'Job Motivational Factors for Disparate Occupational Groups within the UK Construction Sector: A Comparative Analysis', Journal of Construction Research, 6 (2), 223-236.

Dainty, A & Loosemore, M. (2013) Human Resource Management in Construction Projects, Routledge.

Deci, EL & Ryan, RM. (1985) Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior, Springer.

Doloi, H. (2007) 'Twinning Motivation, Productivity and Management Strategy in Construction Projects', Engineering Management Journal, 19 (3), 30-40.

Dubois, A & Gadde, L-E. (2002) 'The construction industry as a loosely coupled system: implications for productivity and innovation', Construction Management and Economics, 20 (7), 621-631.

Durdyev, S & Mbachu, J. (2011) 'On-site Labour Productivity of New Zealand Construction Industry: Key Constraints and Improvement Measures', Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, 11 (3), 18-33.

Dwivedula, R & Bredillet, CN. (2010) 'Profiling work motivation of project workers', International Journal of Project Management, 28 (2), 158-165.

Enshassi, A, Mohamed, S, Mayer, P & Abed, K. (2007a) 'Benchmarking masonry labor productivity', International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 56 (4), 358-368.

Enshassi, A, Mohamed, S, Mustafa, ZA & Mayer, PE. (2007b) 'Factors affecting labour productivity in building projects in the Gaza Strip', Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 13 (4), 245-254.

Fornell, C & Larcker, DF. (1981) 'Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error', Journal of Marketing Research, 39-50.

Ghoddousi, P & Hosseini, MR. (2012) 'A Survey of the Factors Affecting the Productivity of Construction Projects in Iran', Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 18 (1), 99-116.

Gudiene, N, Banaitis, A & Banaitiene, N. (2013) 'Evaluation of critical success factors for construction projects â an empirical study in Lithuania', International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 17 (1), 21-31.

Hair, JF, Anderson, RE, Tatham, RL & Black, WC. (1998) Multivariate data analysis, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Han, S, Park, S, Jin, E, Kim, H & Seong, Y. (2008) 'Critical Issues and Possible Solutions for Motivating Foreign Construction Workers', Journal of Management in Engineering, 24 (4), 217-226.

Hazeltine, CS. (1976) 'Motivation of construction workers', Journal of the Construction Division, 102 (CO3), 497-510.

Horta, IM, Camanho, AS, Johnes, J & Johnes, G. (2013) 'Performance trends in the construction industry worldwide: an overview of the turn of the century', Journal of Productivity Analysis, 39 (1), 89-99.

Ibironke, O, Adedokun, O & Hungbo, A. (2011) 'Drivers and Challenges of Motivation for Casual Workers on Construction Sites', Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences, 2 (5), 413-417.

Islam, MA & Khadem, MMRK. (2013) 'Productivity determinants in Oman construction industry', International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 12 (4), 426-448.

Jarkas, A & Bitar, C. (2012) 'Factors Affecting Construction Labor Productivity in Kuwait', Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 138 (7), 811-820.

Jarkas, A & Radosavljevic, M. (2013) 'Motivational Factors Impacting the Productivity of Construction Master Craftsmen in Kuwait', Journal of Management in Engineering, 29 (4), 446-454.

Kaming, PF, Olomolaiye, PO, Holt, GD & Harris, FC. (1998) 'What motivates construction craftsmen in developing countries? A case study of Indonesia', Building and Environment, 33 (2â3), 131-141.

Kazaz, A, Manisali, E & Ulubeyli, S. (2008) 'Effect of basic motivational factors on construction workforce productivity in Turkey', Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 14 (2), 95-106.

Khaled, M & Remon, F. (2013) 'Factors Influencing Construction Labor Productivity in Egypt', Journal of Management in Engineering, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000168.

Khan, MS. (1993) 'Methods of motivating for increased productivity', Journal of Management in Engineering, 9 (2), 148-156.

Khan, W & Mufti, EO. (2012) 'Effect of Compensation on Motivating Employees in Public and Private Banks of Peshawar, Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, 2 (5), 4616-4623.

Kline, RB. (2005) Principles and practice of structural equation modeling, The Guilford Press, New York.

Koontz, H & Weihrich, H. (1993) Management: a global perspective, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Lawler, EE. (1971) Pay and organizational effectiveness: A psychological view, McGraw-Hill New York, null

42 Levesque, C, Copeland, KJ, Pattie, MD & Deci, EL. (2010) 'Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation', in Peterson, P, Baker, E & McGaw, B (eds), International Encyclopedia of Education (Third Edition), Elsevier, Oxford, 618-623."

Liao, H-L, Liu, S-H & Pi, S-M. (2011) 'Modeling Motivations for Blogging: An Expectancy Theory Analysis', Social Behavior and Personality, 39 (2), 251-264.

Loosemore, M. (2012) 'Impediments to reform in the Australian Building and Construction Industry', Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, 3 (2), 1-8.

Maloney, WF & McFillen, JM. (1983) 'Research needs in construction worker performance', Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 109 (2), 245-254.

Maloney, WF & McFillen, JM. (1986a) 'Motivation in unionized construction', Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 112 (1), 122-136.

Maloney, WF & McFillen, JM. (1986b) 'Motivational implications of construction work', Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 112 (1), 137-151.

Mansfield, NR & Odeh, NS. (1991) 'Issues affecting motivation on construction projects', International Journal of Project Management, 9 (2), 93-98.

Marsh, HW & Balla, J. (1994) 'Goodness of fit in confirmatory factor analysis: The effects of sample size and model parsimony', Quality & Quantity, 28 (2), 185-217.

Mason, A. (1978) Worker motivation in building (occasional paper No.19), Institute of Building, Berkshire, UK.

Mitchell, TR & Biglan, A. (1971) 'Instrumentality theories: Current uses in psychology', Psychological Bulletin, 76 (6), 432.

Mitchell, TR & Beach, LR. (1976) 'A review of occupational preference and choice research using expectancy theory and decision theory', Journal of Occupational Psychology, 49 (4), 231-248.

Nasrabadi, T, Hoveidi, H, Bidhendi, GN, Yavari, AR & Mohammadnejad, S. (2008) 'Evaluating citizen attitudes and participation in solid waste management in Tehran, Iran', Journal of Environmental Health, 71 (5), 30.

Navarro, E. (2009) 'A Review of Maslow, Herzberg and Vroom in the Construction Industry over the Last 25 Years', In Proceedings of 25th Annual Conference, ARCOM (Association of Researchers in Construction Management).

Ng, ST, Skitmore, RM, Lam, KC & Poon, AW. (2004) 'Demotivating factors influencing the productivity of civil engineering projects', International Journal of Project Management, 22 (2), 139-146.

Ogunlana, SO & Chang, WP. (1998) 'Worker motivation on selected construction sites in Bangkok, Thailand', Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 5 (1), 61-81.

Olomolaiye, PO & Ogunlana, SO. (1988) 'A survey of construction operative motivation on selected sites in Nigeria', Building and Environment, 23 (3), 179-185.

Olomolaiye, PO & Price, ADF. (1989) 'A review of construction operative motivation', Building and Environment, 24 (3), 279-287.

Olomolaiye, PO. (1990) 'An evaluation of the relationships between bricklayers' motivation and productivity', Construction Management and Economics, 8 (3), 301-313.

Regis, HP, Falk, JA & Dias, SC. (2008) 'Expectancy Theory', in SR Clegg & JR Bailey (eds), International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA.

Rose, T & Manley, K. (2011) 'Motivation toward financial incentive goals on construction projects', Journal of Business Research, 64 (7), 765-773.

Roudsari, BS & Ghodsi, M. (2005) 'Occupational injuries in Tehran', Injury, 36 (1), 33-39.

Ruthankoon, R & Ogunlana, SO. (2003) 'Testing Herzberg's two-factor theory in the Thai construction industry', Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 10 (5), 333-341.

Ryan, RM & Deci, EL. (2000) 'Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions', Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25 (1), 54-67.

Schreiber, JB, Nora, A, Stage, FK, Barlow, EA & King, J. (2006) 'Reporting structural equation modeling and confirmatory factor analysis results: A review', The Journal of Educational Research, 99 (6), 323-338.

Smithers, GL & Walker, DH. (2000) 'The effect of the workplace on motivation and demotivation of construction professionals', Construction Management & Economics, 18 (7), 833-841.

Statistical Centre of Iran (2011) 2011 National Population and Housing Census of Iran Report (available at: ).

Sunindijo, R, Hadikusumo, B & Ogunlana, S. (2007) 'Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Styles in Construction Project Management', Journal of Management in Engineering, 23 (4), 166-170.

Tabassi, AA & Bakar, A. (2009) 'Training, motivation, and performance: The case of human resource management in construction projects in Mashhad, Iran', International Journal of Project Management, 27 (5), 471-480.

Tabassi, AA, Ramli, M & Bakar, AHA. (2012) 'Effects of training and motivation practices on teamwork improvement and task efficiency: The case of construction firms', International Journal of Project Management, 30 (2), 213-224.

Tenenhaus, M, Vinzi, VE, Chatelin, Y-M & Lauro, C. (2005) 'PLS path modeling', Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, 48 (1), 159-205.

Thomas, KW. (2009) Intrinsic Motivation at Work : What Really Drives Employee Engagement, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA.

Triandis, HC, Hough, LM & Dunnette, MD. (1990) Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, 2nd edn, Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA.

Uwakweh, BO. (2006) 'Motivational Climate of Construction Apprentice', Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 132 (5), 525-532.

Van Eerde, W & Thierry, H. (1996) 'Vroom's expectancy models and work-related criteria: A meta-analysis', Journal of Applied Psychology, 81 (5), 575.

Vroom, VH. (1964) Work and motivation, Wiley, New York.

Wabba, MA & House, RJ. (1974) 'Expectancy Theory in Work and Motivation: Some Logical and Methodological Issues', Human Relations, 27 (2), 121-147.

Wigfield, A & Eccles, JS. (2000) 'Expectancyâvalue theory of achievement motivation', Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25 (1), 68-81.

Yi, W & Chan, A. (2013) 'Critical Review of Labor Productivity Research in Construction Journals', Journal of Management in Engineering, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000194.

Yisa, SB, Holt, GD & Zakeri, M. (2000) 'Factors affecting management motivation in the Iranian construction industry: a survey of site managers', In Proceedings of 16th Annual Conference, ARCOM (Association of Researchers in Construction Management), 6-8 September.

Zakeri, M, Olomolaiye, PO, Holt, GD & Harris, FC. (1996) 'A survey of constraints on Iranian construction operatives' productivity', Construction Management and Economics, 14 (5), 417-426.

Zakeri, M, Olomolaiye, P, Holt, G & Harris, F. (1997) 'Factors affecting the motivation of Iranian construction operatives', Building and Environment, 32 (2), 161-166.



Share this article: