Conceptualising self-determination theory as an indicator for improving construction worker motivation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The construction industry is one of UK’s most important economic sector and assessing the motivation of construction workers involves systematic application of psychological research on human behaviour to the problems of workplace H&S. This paper presents the 'bottom-up' approach to worker motivation with emphasis on construction operatives and supervisors regarding the H&S motivation for their roles. The study depicted the types of motivation using the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a reliable framework to conceptualise operatives and supervisors’ motivation using the traffic light system. The phenomenological research conducted 22 semi-structured, open-ended interviews focusing on the theme of motivation in relation to H&S and the data was thematically analysed. The result reveal that no worker showed signs of lack of motivation (red) but rather, there were variations amongst workers undertaking their roles for either extrinsic (amber) or intrinsic (green) factors. Twelve workers discussed issues of intrinsic motivation e.g. happiness, enjoyment and satisfaction at work while 10 workers discussed issues considered as extrinsic motivation e.g. family, money, career progression, and project delivery. This study adds to existing body of knowledge around the antecedents of motivation for construction workers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ARCOM Conference 2021: Recover, Rebuild and Renew
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Jul 2021


  • motivation
  • safety
  • self-determination
  • theory
  • intrinsic
  • extrinsic
  • traffic light


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