Original Research

Motivational values and gendered research performance

Chris W. Callaghan
Acta Commercii | Vol 17, No 1 | a427 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v17i1.427 | © 2017 Chris W. Callaghan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2016 | Published: 31 March 2017

About the author(s)

Chris W. Callaghan, School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Orientation: Given theory offered by Kuhn and Lakatos that predicts academic research can be non-innovative, this research sought to test the extent to which the motivational values of highly productive researchers are innovative.
Research purpose: The aim of the research was to test theory predicting the structure of motivational values of academics in the South African university context.
Motivation for the study: The study was motivated by a lack of knowledge about whether innovative and self-transcendence (the prioritisation of the needs of others) values characterise highly productive researchers.
Research design, approach and method: A large South African university was sampled. Multiple linear regression and structural equation modelling techniques were applied.
Main findings: Findings indicate that non-innovative and gendered motivational values of security (sensitivity to uncertainty and safety issues) are associated with higher productivity. However, hedonism (self-oriented) and benevolence (self-transcendent) values are both found to be negatively associated with research productivity.
Practical/managerial implications: Supporting Kuhn’s perspective, innovative values such as self-direction are not found to be related to research productivity. Contribution/value-add: This study provides evidence in support of theory which predicts that academic research might not be motivated by innovative values.


human resources; research productivity; motivational values


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