Ashridge Business School Motivation Study

Ashridge Business School Motivation Study


In 2008 Ashridge conducted research entitled „the Ashridge Management Index‟ to understand more about the issues and challenges facing managers. The survey covered a variety of key topics including leadership, communication, learning and development; it also provided some interesting data about personal and organisational motivation. As a result of this research we felt there would be value in looking more closely at motivation and particular questions included:

  • Managers‟ views about the current motivational approaches offered by their employers, for example are organisations using the right approach? And what are the key factors which motivate managers?
  • Do managers find it easy to motivate their staff?
  • What are the implications of these findings for leaders, HR directors and managers?

We distributed a survey questionnaire to some of those managers involved in the earlier survey and also to a new group of individuals attending Ashridge programmes during the first three months of 2009. As a result, a total of 210 managers responded to our survey. In addition, we conducted a number of company interviews including the engineering consultancy firm, Halcrow Group. See Appendix 1 for these interviews.


Key Findings:

The evidence of our survey confirms much of what we already know about what motivates people but our findings indicate that many employers get it wrong when it comes to managing motivation and employee engagement.

  • Nearly half, 46 per cent, of managers in our survey say their organisation does not take the right approach to motivating them.
  • This means that only about half of managers surveyed are positive about their employers, saying their organisation takes the right approach to motivating them. Those working in the private sector feel more positive – 62 per cent of managers say the approach is right compared to 46 per cent among those in the public sector. Given how much is known about motivation these seem relatively low figures.

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