Motivating Construction Workers

by Alexander Laufer, Asst. Prof.; Civ. Engrg. Dept., Texas A & M Univ., College Station, Tex.,
G. Douglas Jenkins, Jr., Asst. Prof.; Management Dept., Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 4, Pg. 531-545

Document Type: Journal Paper


The paper opens with a review of previous construction motivational studies and an examination of their dated theoretical basis which demonstrate their limited usefulness. The contemporary approaches to motivation are then presented. The massive experience that has accumulated regarding the application of motivational programs in other industries is discriminately used to develop a new approach to motivate construction workers. The proposed guidelines are developed along the three variables that affect motivation: the individual, the job, and the work environment. The major implications for construction managers included in the findings are: (1) Management should play an active and continuous role in managing on-site motivational processes; (2) employees' desired outcomes should be tied to performance; and (3) on large projects, management should focus on eliminating performance obstacles. The paper also examines various managerial approaches to motivate construction workers and concludes that construction management would benefit from a general move toward a more participative decision-making style of leadership.

Subject Headings: Labor | Motivation | Project management | Managers | Employee compensation and benefits | Decision making | Leadership

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