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How do ecological, economic and social sustainability influence on employee motivation?: A case study of a German company in the solar energy sector
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This research has generated interesting findings from the inductive approach and the qualitative methods that were used in the inquiry process. Thanks to the literature review, the semi-structure interviews, a focus group and secondary data it was possible to obtain the necessary information to answer the research question: How do ecological, economic and social sustainability influence employee motivation? In order to answer this question, two sub-questions were considered first, namely What constitutes sustainability in the company-specific context of Wagner & Co Solartechnik? and Does sustainability motivate people? The answer to the latter question has to be yes, as the analysis revealed numerous linkages. From the data gathered, it is apparent that economic sustainability constitutes the most basic level of sustainability at Wagner Solar. Although the influence of money has its clear limitations, an increase in material orientation could be observed compared to previous. At the company level, ecological sustainability manifests itself as ‘striving for the energy turnaround’. The majority of employees show, as their most important source of motivation, an interest in solar technology as well as a concern for increased eco-efficiency. The information gathered has permitted an assessment of whether the company hires people that are already committed to the company’s vision and mission, or whether the company makes an effort to socialise employees. While this does not seem to be the case it is apparent that the company cultivates a communication and information policy that perpetuates its values. Wagner Solar also exhibits a strong and consistent corporate culture. In terms of social sustainability, democratic decision-making appears to exert the greater amount of influence on employee motivation, while the influence of employee ownership is comparatively diminished. The company appears to both attract and seek out employees who value the ability to work autonomously, partially explained by the German nationality but not exclusively. Positive work environment and good collaborations between colleagues were deemed another important motivational factor, both by the interviewees and the intra-company survey. However, working at Wagner Solar is not without its perceived negatives. These are mostly related to the company’s unique decision-making structures, the use of the language, and possible “island” mentality that some departments might suffer. The study also aimed to analyse the influence of different motivators on employees. When contemplating which pillars of sustainability motivate the most, the analysis of the main motivators revealed that the most important pillar is the social one, since most of the participants have one or more main motivators connected to it. Overall, the impression is that the social values of Wagner Solar are the most pervasive, affecting attitudes and behaviours such as autonomy and responsibility, and, therefore, constitute the main motivators for its employees. The ecological pillar also noticeably influences employee motivation, while the economic pillar is the least influential.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 119 p.
Keyword [en]
sustainability, environmental protection, work motivation, employee ownership, democratic decision-making, solar energy, renewable energies, corporate culture
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-52249OAI: diva2:502565
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
MSPME - Masters in Strategic Project Management EuropeanAvailable from: 2012-02-15 Created: 2012-02-14 Last updated: 2012-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Krenz, SusanneTorets Ruiz, Patricia Cristina
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