“Organizational collective motivation (OCM) is an emergent area of research and practice, which enables leaders to address both individual and collective aspects of motivating employees across the organization. OCM offers the opportunity to help leaders motivate employees collectively in organizations and develop the connectedness needed to work together to achieve success.”

Organizational Collective Motivation A New Framework for Motivating Employees in Organizations

“… collectively orientated behavior is frequently lauded as vital to organiza- tional effectiveness”—Staw, 1984

The workplace we have known for centu- ries is shifting. Organizations have become  more global over the last several decades,  and organizations utilize a workforce of  knowledge workers working in virtual  workplaces. These virtual organizations  face the risk of losing organizational inter- connections, including those connections  with coworkers and organizational leaders.  Organizational leaders have traditionally  connected and motivated their workforce  with daily personal interactions focused  on encouraging individuals to improve  employee performance and organizational  effectiveness to achieve organizational  goals (Latham, 2007; Staw, 1984).

A new challenge is how do you moti- vate not only individuals but the whole  organization collectively where individuals,  teams, and working groups may not be in  the same location? Organizational collec- tive motivation (OCM) is an emergent area  of research and practice, which enables  leaders to address both individual and  collective aspects of motivating employ- ees across the organization. OCM offers  the opportunity to help leaders motivate  employees’ collectively in organizations  and develop the connectedness needed to  work together to achieve success. This arti- cle provides a working definition of OCM  and the elements that can build OCM.  We offer recommendations for applying  OCM that can help leaders motivate their  employees collectively across the whole

organization to succeed, resulting in posi- tive change and a thriving organization.

Organizational Collective Motivation

Collective motivation was first conceived  in work settings in the early 1980s (Lawler,  1982). This early work is based on indi- vidual beliefs and centers around the  expectancy theory of motivation where  an individual contributes to the collec- tive because they believe they will receive  intrinsic (recognition, advancement) or  extrinsic (pay, job security) rewards.

Organizational Collective Motivation  (OCM) was first coined by Black (1994)  and founded on individual based beliefs  of collective motivation. Black studied  collective motivation at three levels of  analysis: workgroup (unit), department,  and organization. Black’s study is the first  time a researcher operationalized collective  motivation as a construct in the “psycho- logical, organizational, and/or motivational  literature” (p. 115). Her findings confirmed  collective motivation is a distinct psycho- logical construct existing at all levels in an  organization. She also found that individu- als and collectives are collectively motivated  to contribute to an organization based on  the expectancy of individual or organiza- tional outcomes (intrinsic or extrinsic).  Additionally, her work showed that employ- ees who see themselves as members of  the organization and can identify with the  organization are collectively motivated to  contribute. This expectancy of effort and  identification with the organization were  found to be significant elements of OCM.

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Other researchers show collective  motivation is based on collective beliefs.  Collective beliefs are shared within the  collective (organization’s members) and  define the collective identity while indi- vidual beliefs are what exist within the  individual. This article extends the original  work done by Black by building in shared  beliefs of collective motivation with indi- vidually based beliefs to develop a more  comprehensive meaning OCM.

A Case Study

The case study takes place in a govern- ment (public sector) organization with  members of a training program who are  currently in leadership positions and  on track to become senior management  leaders. This organization was studied  because it has long history of continuously  transforming itself and its workforce to  meet global demands and technological  advancements. Data were collected through  16 in-depth interviews and over 250 pages  of memos. The interviews were open- ended to learn more about the meaning of  OCM with a focus on the interviewee, his/ her co- workers and direct reports, and the   motivation to contribute to the collective.  Through comparative and content analysis  of the data, the meaning and elements  of OCM emerged. The meaning of OCM  developed in this study expands current  research to include both individual and col- lective beliefs:

OCM is a distinct and separate moti- vational construct that exists in all lev- els of the organization and is based on  individual and collective beliefs. OCM  is developed from both individual and  collective motivational aspects. These  aspects emerge as individuals and the  collective work towards organizational  goals and are influenced by organi- zational, job, and leadership aspects.  OCM develops from 19 motivating  elements that are common to both  individual and collective motiva- tional aspects.

The meaning and elements will be dis- cussed in the next two sections.

The Meaning of OCM

Data analysis showed people are collectively  motivated to contribute to the organiza- tion based upon five aspects: individual,  collective, organizational, job, and leader- ship. The meaning of OCM is presented in  Figure 1, which will be discussed next.

OCM develops from both individual  and collective beliefs, which set the  conditions for individuals and the col- lective to be motivated to contribute to  the organization’s performance because  participants discussed both types of beliefs.  For example:

You have to find out what motivates  that individual person, because  what motivates one person to better

themselves, and to perform for the  organization, is not the same as the  person sitting next to them.

But we had the same motivation at  the same time. We were going to  succeed. And everybody that came  down that initial—especially the first  six months when we grew rapidly, we  all were motivated to make sure that  the organization succeeded, and that  the transition from Fort Monmouth to  Aberdeen was going to be a success.

With the two belief bases established  for OCM, each of the five aspects were  analyzed to determine how the aspect  developed, affected, or influenced OCM.  Findings show individual aspects influ- enced individuals to be collectively  motivated to contribute to the organiza- tion. Collective aspects also influenced  groups to be collectively motivated to  contribute to the organization and develop  shared motivational states. This is new to  motivational research since the limited  research on OCM developed from either  individually based or group based beliefs,  but not both. Individual and collective  aspects were determined to be further  influenced by organizational, job, and lead- ership aspects. Using examples from data  collected, all five aspects and their contribu- tion to the understanding how to best apply  OCM will be discussed next.

Figure 1. The Meaning of OCM

29Organizational Collective Motivation: A New Framework for Motivating Employees in Organizations

Individual Aspects

Individual aspects were found to develop  OCM within three areas. The first area  is individual identity, which reflects the  motivations of individuals to contribute  to the organization based on who they are  and how they identify with the organiza- tion (collective). One participant described,  “It’s my personal work ethic, and I will just  always strive very hard,” and another “You  had to look at what was right for the bigger  organization, and that’s typically one of my  touchstones.” Employee voice emerged in  this aspect. Having a “voice” is a motivator  for individuals, has been suggested as a  motivator for collectives, and is positively  related with an employee’s ability to iden- tify and see themselves in the organization.  For example:

So, I think everybody felt like they  were an important player, they had a  voice, they were being listened to— even if you didn’t do what they recom- mended you at least got a chance to  say it and somebody considered it.

The second area is individual commitment  to the organization and is shown by giving  extra effort and making personal sacrifices  for achieving organizational goals. Extra  effort is characterized by Bass (1985) as the  work an employee does beyond the expecta- tions of the contract with their leadership.  Participants shared:

It was just a high-performing orga- nization that everybody’s morale  seemed to be high, and so folks went  the extra mile for things.

It was overly, to the point where I took  it so personally to get those vehicles  out that I made a lot of life choices  with my family that I’m still paying  for today.

Commitment to the organization also  developed from leadership action and  support for individuals. This is because  leaders who support what an employee  believes about one’s self while also develop- ing the importance of one’s contributions  to the collective, enhances an individual’s  collective motivation to contribute to the

organization’s well-being and success. One  participant stated:

At the time, my [leader] sat down with  me and said “This is what I need you  to do. You need to take control, and  you need to be able to do this.” And  he kinda motivated me that way, and I  think that’s what drove me, it was like  he had faith that I could do it.

The third area is individual value of effort  that reflects the motivation to contribute  based on the value of the outcome seen  from engagement with the organization.  The expected outcomes of effort could have  intrinsic or extrinsic value for the individ- ual and analysis showed intrinsic value as  meeting individual goals, career growth, or  feeling worthy, and extrinsic value as mon- etary or being recognized for their work.

I guess when I know my contribu- tions are counting, I know that, not  that I have to be physically or verbally  told that, you know, what you’re doing  is good, when I can see it myself and  I can make sense of it and I know  what I’m doing is contributing to  the overall good of the organization  or benefiting the [customer] or, you  know, somehow it shows what I’m  doing is worth something.

Collective Aspects

Collective aspects were found to support  OCM within three areas. The first area,  collective identity, develops from group  norms and shared values. Analysis of our  interviews showed how individuals and the  collective were motivated by the behaviors  and attitudes of the collective, which reflect  the social norms of the collective (Shamir,  1990). One participant shared:

I mean, during the first several years  of it, it was just—everyone was so  focused and worked so many hours  and people made fun that all you’re  doing is making a bunch of brief- ing charts and you’re not building  anything, but the dedication and the  motivation was unbelievable and I  really think that those that may not  have felt that originally just seeing the  majority of the people that did that

were so dedicated and so loyal and  wanted this to become something,  I think it just brought other people  along with them, you know, because  you saw so many dedicating so much  of their own time to accomplishing  the same vision.

These social norms manifested themselves  from social groundwork and social sup- port (Susimetsa, 2006). Analysis showed  social groundwork is from coworkers who  are dedicated, excited, and show mutual  respect within the collective. Social support  was seen from one participant when they  referred to being motivated to contribute  to the organization by coworkers who help  each other and produce effort for the collec- tive. For example:

There were over 80 people driven  toward success. Each sub-organiza- tion worked collectively. There was  no “This is my team, that’s your  team.” It was like 80 people all push- ing towards whatever goal made the  whole office successful.

The second area is collective commitment  and came from collective efficacy, group  cohesion, shared vision, collective goals,  collective empowerment, and leadership  support for the collective. Collective goals,  such as fielding certain vehicles, drove  commitment: “We had a very consistent  goal, [to] field lifesaving capability, and  everybody was on the same page through- out the [program management office].” The  shared beliefs and bonds of the collective  that they can accomplish goals (collective  efficacy and group cohesion) emerged from  data that supports concepts and research  on collective motivation. For example:

. . . It was the end of the fiscal year,  which was also crazy. But we had the  same motivation at the same time.  We were going to succeed…especially  the first six months when we grew  rapidly, we all were motivated to make  sure that the organization succeeded.

It was almost that we circled the  wagons, and we weren’t going to let  the negativity from the other parts of  the organization seep into our group.  We had to realize that there were a lot

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of negative aspects that could drag us  down, and we were just going to circle  the wagons and not let it infiltrate.

The third area was collective actions and  reflects the actions the collective takes to  contribute to the organization. Actions  discovered included collaboration, collec- tive engagement, and the producing of

organizational outcomes. One participant  discussed collaboration to develop an  organization outcome by saying, “You saw  people collaborating that never collaborated  and hated each other starting to collaborate  because there was a common cause.”

These individual and collective aspects  form from individual and collective beliefs  and are the direct motivators that contrib- ute to the organization’s success. Further  analysis determined these two aspects are  influenced by three additional aspects:  organization, leadership, and the job itself  that we will briefly highlight.

Organizational Aspects

Organizational aspects include why the  organization exists, how it is perceived,  and how it functions to achieve its goals.  This includes understanding the organiza- tion’s mission and vision, which are crucial  because they define the organization’s  purpose, why it exists, create a shared  understanding of the future, and enable  the development of collective goals (Lawler,  2006). Participants in this case study  shared that collective goals need to be clear,  challenging, and focused.

A positive, professional perception of  the organization, internally and externally,  was also shown to motivate the individual  and the collective to contribute. One par- ticipant discussed how being a member of  a public organization comes with certain  expectations and responsibilities that  may not be viewed the same in a private  organization “as government employees

we are stewards of those tax payer dollars,  and if those dollars are wasted, then that’s  a problem.” Developing and maintaining  a positive view of the public sector is one  of the reasons the individual and collec- tive are motivated to perform for a public  organization.

Leadership Aspects

Collective and individual motivations are  two outcomes of the leadership’s ability  to motivate individuals and collectives to  perform and accomplish goals. Leadership  aspects include leaders who were directive  and effective at accomplishing goals, trans- formational, and open-minded. As one  participant said, “I think it was the leader”  because he was “open to everybody’s  ideas.” Leaders who are also trustworthy  and respected motivated employees and the  collective to contribute to the organization:  “… We had extremely strong leadership that  was well respected and subordinates need  to know that what their leader is telling  them is the truth.”

Transformational leadership includes  attributes of charisma, inspirational leader- ship, consideration of the individual, and  intellectual stimulation, which are used

by the leader to motivate employees to be  concerned less about oneself and more  focused on achievements of the group or  collective. Transformational leadership  drives collective motivation because an  employee identifies with their leader and  their leader identifies with the organiza- tion, team or group goals, and values (Bass  & Bass, 2008). For example:

It’s developing the people reporting  to me so that they can go forth and do  better things for other people. I think  that’s just what a good leader does.  That’s how we can contribute. That’s  how I’ll be the best. That’s how the  organization will be the best.

Job Aspects

Job aspects discovered include the way  a job is designed, how individuals and  the collective view the job, and align with  job design theory. One participant dis- cussed how their job developed intrinsic  and extrinsic stimuli to motivate them  individually and as part of the collective.  This resulted in leaders knowing they  were responsible for working on the big- gest and most important program: “The  number one, I think we knew that—part  of it we knew that this was the biggest  program. This is the direction in which  we were going; from a big team effort.”  Another participant discussed how a new  job  motivated them to contribute because  they had been so beaten down, and this  job was “a new, exciting adventure. I had  never done anything like this before.” Data  also showed how working on a project  important to the organization, motivated  the collective to come together and contrib- uted to developing a new office.

The next section presents the 19 ele- ments of OCM developed in this study as  a component of the meaning and what it  takes to build OCM.

The Elements of OCM

The elements of OCM represent the com- mon motivators for both the individual  and the collective in organizations. These  elements are what influence the individual  and collective to be contributors to the

Motivated employees will give extra effort to the organization because they are motivated from an individual aspect and collective aspect for the entire organization to succeed. The workforce will engage at all levels because their needs are being met. If the whole organization is collectively motivated to achieve organizational goals, this will keep the workforce motivated whether they work together in person, day-to-day, or virtually.

31Organizational Collective Motivation: A New Framework for Motivating Employees in Organizations

organization. Nineteen OCM elements  were found and aligned into four broad   categories (organizational influences,  beliefs, commitment, and collective reason)  shown in Table 1. Of the 19 elements, six  developed from literature and are italicized  in Table 1. These six elements are founda- tional to motivating individuals and the   collective and include job design, norms  and values, identification with the orga- nization, goal setting and commitment,  expectancy of effort and outcome, and  rewards—intrinsic and extrinsic.

The additional 13 elements of OCM  developed from analysis of the interview  data and aligned to the four broad catego- ries. These elements include leadership,  organizational climate, organizational  culture, organizational vision and mis- sion, situation affecting the organization,  group cohesion, collective goals, collective  efficacy, individual, collective, and organi- zational beliefs, and purpose beyond self.

Organizational Collective Motivation Framework

The Organizational Collective Motivation  (OCM) framework was created to guide  leaders on key aspects needed to develop  a workforce that is both individually and  collectively motivated. An organization  whose workforce is both individually and  collectively motivated will thrive because  its members will be engaged and com- mitted to organizational success. Leaders  who use the framework and implement  methods to operationalize the 19 elements  have the opportunity to get projects done  more efficiently, organizational change  to be less traumatic, and fiscal goals to  be met because the whole organization is  motivated to understanding and achiev- ing these goals. Finally, OCM is a positive  approach to help leaders focus on leverag- ing those motivations that bring meaning  and purpose to individuals and collectives  within organizations. Figure 2 shows the  two main concepts (the meaning and ele- ments of OCM) of the OCM framework  and illustrates the relationships among  the concepts.

Table 1. The 19 Elements of OCM Developed in this Study

Organizational Influences

• Job design. • Leadership. • Organizational climate. • Organizational culture. • Organizational vision and mission. • Situations affecting the organization.


• Collective efficacy. • Norms and values. • Identification with the organization. • Individual, collective, and

organizational beliefs.


• Goal setting and commitment. • Group cohesion. • Empowerment. • Engagement. • Collaboration. • Collective goals.

Collective Reason

• Expectancy of effort and outcome. • Rewards—intrinsic and extrinsic. • Purpose beyond self.

Figure 2. The Organizational Collective Motivation (OCM) Framework

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Implications for Practice (Recommendations)

Any leader, manager, or supervisor who  understands the importance of motivating  employees to contribute and perform for  the organization will benefit from under- standing OCM and how these elements  can create successful organizations with  engaged and committed employees. As  organizations change in the future and  become more virtual and global, it is criti- cal leaders look at all methods to connect  employees and motivate them to contribute  to the organization’s success on both an  individual and collective base.

This is where the OCM framework  can help because it consists of both indi- vidual and collective motivating elements  which provide benefits to an organization  by bringing the organization together to  perform as a whole system. Motivated  employees will give extra effort to the orga- nization because they are motivated from  an individual aspect and collective aspect  for the entire organization to succeed. The  workforce will engage at all levels because  their needs are being met. If the whole  organization is collectively motivated to  achieve organizational goals, this will keep  the workforce motivated whether they work  together in person, day-to-day, or virtually.

Next, we offer three recommendations  for leaders to develop and implement OCM  in their organization.

Recommendation One. Organizational  leaders and members need to have an  understanding of individual and collective  aspects of OCM and implement methods  to invoke these aspects. First, start with  increasing communications with individu- als in the organization to understand what  motivates them as an individual. This is  important because motivation is directly  linked to the performance of individuals in  an organization (Latham, 2007). There are  several ways to do this:  » Align individual and organizational

norms and values. The organiza- tion needs to establish its norms and  values which could be done through  a strengths-based whole system  framework such as SOAR (Stavros &

Hinrichs, 2009). SOAR stands for com- bining strengths, identifying opportuni- ties, leveraging aspirations, and using  measurable results to motivate the  whole. Once the group’s norms and val- ues are established, an example of how  alignment could happen is to reward  the individual and collective for actions  that are in alignment with expected  norms and values.

» Enable the individual to identify with  the organization based on their role  and letting them know what is expected  of them. Identification should be  approached from two views: self-con- cept and organizational identification.  To enable self-concept, social aspects of  the organization should be enhanced  to help individuals identify with the  organization. Examples of socialization  could include casual lunch meetings or  organizational outings such as picnics.  Identification with the organization  needs to be fostered by development  of a common identity for the organiza- tion that individuals and the collective  can identify with. An example of this  would be for the collective to develop  the aspirations or goals for the organi- zation that reflects the identity of the  organization.

» Give individuals a voice in the orga- nization so they can have input and  influence organizational outcomes.  This can be accomplished through  several methods. For example, one-on- one discussions with leadership enable  individuals to be heard, focus groups  enable the collective to have a voice, and  have every employee participate in orga- nization’s strategy planning sessions,  which SOAR is designed to do (see:

» Empower individuals to make decisions  for themselves and the organization.  Examples of empowerment would be  developing a team and giving them  resources to accomplish goals. Another  example would be to empower individ- uals to develop new ideas for improv- ing the organization and developing  innovative projects.

» Determine motivating rewards or  outcomes which set the expectancy of

individual and collective efforts. Under- standing what motivates the individual  and the collective would need to be  developed through continuous dia- logue. For example, if it is determined  that a motivator for an individual or col- lective is to spend more time with their  family, then reward them with time off  rather than a cash reward.

» Develop methods to increase commit- ment from individuals in the organiza- tion through engagement. Engagement  of the individual and collective  increases commitment to the organiza- tion and can be accomplished in many  different ways. For example, individuals  can be engaged in projects for which  they enjoy working or have expertise.  Another example is collectives can be  engaged by giving a team challenging  goals and rewards for a project.

Secondly, seek to understand what moti- vates the collective and implement those  items that will provide the best results  for the organization. Understanding  could be developed through surveys,  focus groups, and/or discussions with  units or teams from the organization.  For example, to build group cohesion the  collective may want events or projects  that enable them to become cohesive.  The focus of the survey or discussions  should include four aspects:  » Identifying social aspects of the col-

lective that they would like to see in  the organization. This would help  drive towards identification with the  organization. The survey or discus- sion could focus on how to bring more  socialization to programs and what  events could help develop social aspects  of the collective. For example, having a  meeting someplace fun such as a park  or restaurant.

» Understanding the ideal composition  (skills, mix of people, etc.) of the col- lective to help foster different ideas to  motivate the individual and the collec- tive. For example, the discussion could  center on bringing in people from dif- ferent sectors to see and solve problems  from a different perspective. They could  be hired as part of the organization,

33Organizational Collective Motivation: A New Framework for Motivating Employees in Organizations

be a guest speaker, or consult with the  organization. This offers fresh new  insight and ideas.

» Seeking methods to build collective  efficacy and group cohesion. Collective  efficacy can be fostered, for example,  by giving the collective challenging  goals and helping them achieve them.  Group cohesion can be built by imple- menting methods for the collective to  be accountable to each other to help  drive commitment to complete tasks.  For example, the collective can have  a project in which each individual is  responsible and dependent upon others  for success of the project.

» Determining how the collective would  best like to work together as an entity.  For example, the collective could deter- mine if they would like to collaborate in  person, electronically, or by a combina- tion of methods. This is important as  new generations of employees enter the  workforce, workplaces become more  virtual, and workers tele-commute and  share jobs.

Recommendation Two. Leaders and  members need to first understand and  then develop and implement over time  the 19 elements of OCM common to both  individuals and the collective. As you  review these 19 elements, your leadership  team may already be doing many of these  well and now need to focus on others. Be  mindful that you just do not implement  these 19 elements at once. These should  be developed and nurtured over time in  order to be sustained. By implementing  methods to achieve these common motiva- tors, you will begin to bring about OCM  and develop a focused, collaborative, and  productive organization.

One example of implementing the  elements of goal setting and commitment  could be having the whole organization  engage and collectively develop strategic  goals for the organization. This creates buy- in because they are co-creating their future.  This will help focus the workforce on  organizational goals which can be further  developed into collective and individual  goals and tracked through performance

evaluations. Other examples to develop and  implement the elements of OCM include:  » Developing methods for collaboration

across the organization such as a col- laboration center or online collaborative  tools. A collaboration center could con- sist of a place where individuals could  gather to work together, and it could  consist of online tools where files can  be shared and boards for generating  ideas. Developing alternative meth- ods beyond face-to-face collaboration  will be critical for organizations to be  successful.

» Implementing training classes and  events in the organization which focus  on building cohesion and efficacy. For  example, classes in understanding how  to effectively communicate and work  with individuals, who are different than  you, could foster cohesion because it  will help strengthen relationships. An  example to build efficacy would be to  set up fun challenges with small teams  in the organization and have them com- pete against each other. For instance,  a challenge could be to see what team  could develop the best representation of  an organizational value.

» Creating rewards that are individual  and collectively based and intrinsically  and extrinsically motivating. There are  many examples of individual and col- lective rewards today in organizations  such as monetary and group outings.  The key to this recommendation  revolves around understanding what  type, intrinsic or extrinsic rewards,  motivates the individual and the  collective.

» Bringing in individual and collective  input when developing new projects  and designing or redesigning jobs in  the organization. For example, if a new  skill in the organization is needed,  bring in the collective that understands  and needs this skill to help develop the  job hiring package and conduct job  interviews. This will enable them to  have a voice in what is needed for the  organization to be successful.

» Finding ways individuals and the collec- tive can identify with the organization

through social aspects. One example  could be using social media with the  organization to build social networks  inside and outside of the workplace.  Another example could be to have  regular social events outside of the  workplace such as a baseball league, a  golf league, or picnics where people can  bring their families.

Recommendation Three. As future orga- nizations become more virtual and have  less in-person contact, it is a challenge to  bring about an organizational transfor- mation. One organization development  method (mentioned earlier), SOAR, could  be used to build OCM during transforma- tion. SOAR has been used successfully in  practice to change and improve organiza- tions, and we learned that SOAR does  build OCM by invoking similar elements  of OCM, including efficacy, goal commit- ment, intrinsic motivation, and cohesion.  SOAR planning or strategy sessions can be  done at any level in the organization, when  needed, and be quick or long. We have had  success with using SOAR in practice to  develop strategic change and engagement  of the workforce. Specific recommenda- tions for practitioners are to use a SOAR  planning session to:  » Build upon the strengths in the organi-

zation by engaging the whole organiza- tion in the transformation effort.

» Determine collective values, mission,  vision, and goals for the organization by  collaboratively focusing on aspirations  and desired results of the organization.

» Build cohesion and commitment within  the organization by developing a com- mon understanding of why the organi- zational transformation is needed.

» Create ways that enable the individual  and the collective to identify with the  organization from a positive organiza- tional scholarship (POS) perspective.  POS is the study of positive states of  organizing for individual and organi- zational success (Cameron, Quinn, &  Dutton, 2003). For example, build upon  positive organizational aspects that are  working well to create energy and moti- vation in the organization. Focusing

OD PRACTITIONER Vol. 49 No. 4 201734

on positive consequences and positive  attributes of individuals drives towards  exceptional and flourishing phenomena  in organizations. For more on POS,  visit the Center for Positive Organiza- tions (

A division of the public sector studied for  this article has used many of the recom- mendations in practice to include all  employees in developing an organizational  strategic plan, bringing different people  in from different sectors to help solve  problems, and stovepipes1 in the organiza- tion working towards common outcomes  via a challenging project in which success  requires dependency across the stovepipes.  Results to date include the organization  operating more collectively, people are  much more engaged and committed,  turnover of employees has slowed, and they  are delivering projects successfully, which  has resulted in more resources allocated to  the organization.


The purpose of this article was to introduce  you to OCM, the importance of using it to  help motivate your employees, and what  it takes to build and sustain it. From this  case study, we were able to elevate and  extend Black’s (1994) initial study by now  including both individual and collective  beliefs into OCM. What is new is the 19  motivating elements, defined as common  to both the individual and collective, were  found to develop and cultivate OCM. The  OCM framework was created to present  the elements of OCM and provide a way  for leaders to motivate their employees to  contribute to the organization.

OCM provides benefits to an organi- zation by bringing leaders and members  together to perform as a whole system.  Leaders need to know how to motivate their  employees (individually and collectively)  and bring them together to serve the orga- nization’s mission and achieve its vision.

1. An organizational structure that restricts the flow

of information to a particular department, inhibit-

ing cross organization communication.

An outcome of OCM is both understand- ing and buy-in to the organizational goals  and active engagement from the whole  system. This contribution helps increase  organizational performance and achieves  organizational goals because the whole  workforce is motivated.

In today’s society, organizational  performance is dependent upon employees  and their motivation to engage and con- tribute to the organization. Organizations  are operating virtually and globally which  presents the dilemna of keeping leaders  and members connected and collectively  motivated to achieve success. The deeper  understanding of OCM produced from  this case study provides a way forward to  achieve success.


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Dr. Jennifer Hitchcock is a member of the U.S. Army’s Senior Execu- tive Service and is currently the Director of Systems Integration and Engineering at the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research and Development Center (TARDEC). In this role she is responsible for leading the engineering and integration of advanced capabili- ties into US Army ground combat and tactical vehicles. As an orga- nizational leader, her research interests include organization development and organizational behavior, specifically focusing on organizational collective moti- vation. She can be reached at

Dr. Jacqueline Stavros is Professor at Lawrence Technological Uni- versity’s College of Management. She integrates strengths-based, whole system concepts such as Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and SOAR (www.soar‑ into her research, teaching, training, and consulting. She has co-authored six books, 20 book chapters, and 30 articles. Her research interests are focused in positive theories and practices of the human side of organizations and change. She has presented her research and work in over 25 countries. She can be reached at

35Organizational Collective Motivation: A New Framework for Motivating Employees in Organizations

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