An evaluation of bricklayers' motivation and productivity
Different motivation theories have been developed in general management to explain workers' attitude to production. Collectively, these theories represent manufacturing workers more than any other set of workers. Attempts made to apply these theories to construction operatives have produced different and often confused explanations of the motives behind construction operatives' productivity. This research approached construction operatives directly in order to evaluate their motivation in relation to their productivity. The research aimed at proving or disproving a conceptualised positive relationship between construction operative motivation and productivity. Previous construction researchers assumed that there was a positive relationship between productivity and motivation without any empirical prove. This oversight was largely due to problems of quantifying abstract concepts such as motivation. This obstacle needed to be removed before the relationship between motivation and productivity could be empirically established. A technique based on the Subjective Expected Utility Theory was developed to quantify motivation. Productivity was measured by activity sampling. Relating them together gave a third order polynomial relationship indicating that there is a basic motivation in every bricklayer regardless of his working environment. The relationship also provided an empirical prove of an earlier conceptualised optimal motivation theory. The thesis shows that there is no significant causal relationship between motivation and work rate; rather, motivation significantly influences the proportion of working time spent productively. From a model of production output, motivation and skill, it was demonstrated that skill dominates productivity in bricklaying. Motivation accounted for 2.4% of the percentage variation in work rate and 25.3% of the percentage variation in percentage productive time. From a sensitivity analysis of the predominance of skill, critical activities controlling production output which could form the basis of a training programme for new bricklayers were identified. After testing all observations and findings for validity, they were combined into a list of propositions which form the basis of a theory of construction operative motivation. Based on the affirmation of the optimal motivation theory in construction operatives, a new concept of hyper-production was proposed.