discrimination, motivation, job performance, gender discrimination


Gender discrimination and work motivation are two important constructs for employers to consider. Changing workforce trends towards a more diverse workforce make understanding discrimination in the workplace more important than ever. And, established direct relationships between motivation and performance make understanding motivation key to organizational success. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among perceived gender discrimination at work, work motivation, and performance. Although much theory and research exists regarding motivation and performance, this study uses a new measure of motivation based on the Pritchard and Ashwood (2007) theory of work motivation. It was hypothesized that perceived gender discrimination would be negatively related to motivation, and that motivation would be positively related to performance. It was further hypothesized that motivation would mediate the relationship between perceived discrimination and performance. Consistent with social identity and attribution theory, gender identification was examined as a moderator of the relationship between perceived discrimination and motivation. Additionally, race and locus of control were examined as moderators of this same relationship. Measures of study variables were surveys administered on-line to 170 female undergraduate students. Upon completion of this part of the study, participants were emailed a link for their supervisors to complete on-line measures of participants' overall motivation and performance at work. Results indicated that both overall motivation and action-to-result motivation connections were negatively related to perceived gender discrimination. However, other motivation connections were not related to this discrimination. Furthermore, overall motivation and the motivation connections had strong relationships with performance. Despite the practical significance of these relationships, they did not reach statistical significance because of the small sample size of supervisor performance ratings (n = 37). Neither race, work locus of control, or gender identification significantly moderated hypothesized relationships. Additionally, there was no significant relationship between discrimination and performance, and so work motivation could not mediate this relationship. Reasons for non-significant results are discussed, as are implications for theory and practice. Although moderator hypotheses were not supported, this research represents an important step in discrimination research because it examines the possible influence of perceived discrimination on those who are impacted by it. This study also reaffirms the relationship between motivation and performance using Pritchard and Ashwood's (2007) theory of motivation.


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Graduation Date





Pritchard, Robert


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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Psychology Commons