Does Inappropriate Quality Control Demotivate Workers

Tara Brooks, John Spillane

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

1 Citation (Scopus)
281 Downloads (Pure)


The construction industry requires quality control and regulation of its contingent,unpredictable environment. However, taking too much control from workers candisempower and demotivate. In the 1970s Deci and Ryan developed selfdeterminationtheory which states that in order to be intrinsically motivated, threecomponents are necessary - competence, autonomy and relatedness. This study aimsto examine the way in which the three ‘nutriments’ for intrinsic motivation may beundermined by heavy-handed quality control. A critical literature review analysesconstruction, psychological and management research regarding the control andmotivation of workers, using self-determination theory as a framework. Initialfindings show that quality management systems do not always work as designed.Workers perceive that unnecessary, wasteful and tedious counter checking of theirwork implies that they are not fully trusted by management to work without oversight.Control of workers and pressure for continual improvement may lead to resistanceand deception. Controlling mechanisms can break the link between performance andsatisfaction, reducing motivation and paradoxically reducing the likelihood of thequality they intend to promote. This study will lead to a greater understanding ofcontrol and motivation, facilitating further research into improvements in theapplication of quality control to maintain employee motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd ARCOM Annual Conference, 2016
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-0-9955463-0-1
Publication statusPublished - 07 Sep 2016
Event32nd ARCOM Annual Conference, 2016 - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 05 Sep 201607 Sep 2016


Conference32nd ARCOM Annual Conference, 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • human resources management
  • motivation
  • quality control


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