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Latent profiles of work motivation in adolescents in relation to work expectations, goal engagement, and changes in work experiences

Andreas Hirschi

Valero, D. & Hirschi, A. (2016). Latent profiles of work motivation in adolescents in relation to work expectations, goal engagement, and changes in work experiences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 93, 67-80, doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2016.01.003.

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Abstract

Motivation plays a key role in successful entry into working life. Based on a cross-sectional and a one-year longitudinal study, we used a person-centered approach to explore work-related motivation (i.e., autonomous goals, positive affect, and occupational self-efficacy) among 577 students in 8th grade (Study 1) and 949 adolescents in vocational training (Study 2). Based on latent profile analysis, in both studies we identified four groups that were characterized by different levels of overall motivation and one group characterized by low positive affect and mean levels in autonomous goals and self-efficacy. Profiles characterized by high levels of motivation showed the highest levels of positive work expectations and goal engagement and the lowest levels of negative work expectations in Study 1 and the highest levels of person-job fit, work engagement, and job satisfaction in Study 2. Moreover, latent difference score analysis showed that motivational profiles predicted changes in person-job fit and work engagement across one year but not in job satisfaction. The results imply that career counselors should be aware of characteristic motivational patterns of clients that may require specific counseling approaches.