Graduate teacher motivation for choosing a job
Rein De Cooman Æ Æ Sara De Gieter Æ Æ Roland Pepermans Æ Æ
Cindy Du Bois Æ Æ Ralf Caers Æ Æ Marc Jegers
Received: 23 May 2006/Accepted: 23 January 2007/Published online: 23 May 2007
? Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007
teacher graduates, and explores the motivation to pursue a teaching job based on job
motives and work values. From the response of 241 recently graduated teachers it
may be concluded that teachers consider intrinsic, altruistic and interpersonal fea-
tures as strong job-specific motivators. Furthermore, teachers prefer altruistic and
interpersonal work values, while non-teachers are more attracted by individualistic
work values such as career opportunities and executive power.
This article compares individuals already in teaching and non-teaching
Re ´sume ´. Motivation des professeurs diplo ˆme ´s pour le choix d’un me ´tier
Cet article compare les professeurs diplo ˆme ´s qui exercent une
activite ´ professionnelle dans l’enseignement a ` ceux qui l’exercent ailleurs. Il
explore la motivation a ` poursuivre un me ´tier d’enseignement sur la base des
motivations pour le me ´tier et des valeurs au travail. Des re ´ponses de 241 personnes
re ´cemment diplo ˆme ´es professeurs, on peut conclure que les enseignants conside `rent
les traits de motivation intrinse `que, altruiste et interpersonnelle comme les plus
spe ´cifiques pour leur travail. De plus, les enseignants marquent leur pre ´fe ´rence pour
les valeurs de travail altruistes et interpersonnelles, tandis que les non-enseignants
sont plus attire ´s par des valeurs de travail individualistes telles que les opportunite ´s
de carrie `re et le pouvoir de de ´cision.
Zusammenfassung. Die Motivation von Lehramtsstudenten zur Wahl einer
Ta ¨tigkeit im Erziehungsbereich.
Dieser Artikel stellt unter Absolventen eines
Lehramts-Studiengangs einen Vergleich zwischen einer Gruppe an, die in eine
Lehrerta ¨tigkeit einmu ¨ndete, mit einer anderen Gruppe, die in eine andere als eine
lehrende Ta ¨tigkeit mu ¨ndeten. Aus den Antworten von 241 Lehrern, die ku ¨rzlich ihr
R. De Cooman (&) ? S. De Gieter ? R. Pepermans ? C. Du Bois ? R. Caers ? M. Jegers
Vakgroep Arbeids- en Organisatiepsychologie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel,
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, Belgium
Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
Studium abgeschlossen hatten, kann die Schlussfolgerung gezogen werden, dass
Lehrer sich vor allem an intrinsischen, altruistischen und interpersonellen
Motivatoren orientieren. Weiterhin bevorzugen Lehrer auch altruistische und
interpersonelle Werthaltungen, wa ¨hrend sich Nicht-Lehrer sta ¨rker angesprochen
fu ¨hlen von individualistischen Werthaltungen wie Aufstiegsmo ¨glichkeiten und
Resumen. Motivacio ´n del profesorado recie ´n titulado para elegir un empleo en
En este artı ´culo se hace una comparacio ´n entre profesores que tienen
un empleo relacionado con la educacio ´n y los que no. Explora la motivacio ´n para
elegir un trabajo en la ensen ˜anza en funcio ´n de motivos laborales y del puesto de
trabajo en sı ´. De 241 profesores encuestados recie ´n titulados se puede concluir que
el profesorado considera los aspectos intrı ´nsecos, altruistas e interpersonales como
motivos importantes especı ´ficos relacionados con el trabajo. Adema ´s, los profesores
prefieren los valores laborales altruistas e interpersonales, mientras que los que no
ejercen como profesores se sienten ma ´s atraı ´dos por valores individualistas como las
oportunidades de promocio ´n en su carrera y por cargos de poder.
Teachers ? Job motives ? Work values
In many Western countries, the shortage of teachers is currently being debated. The
average teacher is ageing at a time when new graduates who could enter or are
actually entering the teaching profession do not necessarily view teaching as a
career priority; this results in more individuals leaving the profession each year than
there are individuals being recruited (Bastick, 2000; De Grip, 2004). The shortage
of well-educated and motivated teachers, will probably worsen unless teaching can
be made more attractive to graduates (Serow & Forrest, 1994). Therefore, the issue
of how to replace the teachers of the baby boom generation (individuals born
between 1943 and 1960) has become a major concern. Within this context, a fair
amount of research has focused on pre-service teachers and their motivation for
entering the profession.
Work motivation is one of the oldest and most frequently discussed topics in
psychology (Rousseau, 1997). Trying to answer the question of why people are
doing things and, if they do something, why they are doing that and not something
else, is the main focus. Within this research area, work values and job motives have
gradually drawn more interest since the early 1980s (Judge & Bretz, 1992).
It is generally accepted that each individual has a unique set of personal values
relevant to multiple life areas, some of which are related to the work context. It has
been demonstrated that work values play a significant role both in an individual’s
vocational choice and in particular key attitudes and psychological states including
job satisfaction, commitment and work motivation (e.g. Judge & Bretz, 1992; Roe
& Ester, 1999). Some influential researchers developed have a well-supported
definition of the construct: values are considered to be cognitive representations of
needs which are more general than interests (Rokeach, 1973; Schwartz, 1992;
Super, 1973). Values are considered as trans-situational criteria or goals ordered by
124 Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
importance that serve as guiding principles in people’s lives (Schwartz, 1999).
Because of their broad and rudimentary character, they are considered enduring
standards that determine behaviour (Rokeach, 1973). In accordance with other
authors such as Nord, Brief, Atieh and Doherty (1988) or the Meaning of Working
International Research Team [MOW] (1987), work values are defined in this
contribution as the general and relatively stable goals people desire and feel they
ought to realise through working. This implies that work values reflect fundamental
and wide-ranging preferences, which are not so much concerned with aspects of a
particular vocation or organization, but with the nature of the work in general (Ros,
Schwartz, & Surkiss, 1999). Although there seem to be as many work values as
identifiable work features (Zytowski, 1970), considerable disagreement remains
about their dimensional structure. The approaches most frequently referred to
comprise between 10 and 20 value dimensions (e.g. Pryor, 1979; Schwartz, 1992;
Super, 1970). Furthermore, several authors endeavour to create a higher-order
classification of work values (e.g. Roe & Ester, 1999; Ros, Schwartz & Surkiss,
1999). In this regard, a commonly used differentiation distinguishes between
intrinsic or self-actualization, extrinsic or material, and social or interpersonal work
values (MOW, 1987; Nord et al. 1988).
Job motives, contrary to work values, received less research attention.
According to Buchanan and Huczynski (1997), motives are ‘‘learned needs,
which influence our behaviour by leading us to pursue particular goals because
they are socially valued’’ (p. 71). Evans (1998) defines the construct as ‘‘the
impetus that creates inclination towards an activity’’ (p. 34). A motive is an
outcome that has become desirable for a given individual, and different
individuals may be motivated by different outcomes (Buchanan & Huczynski,
1997). Thus, job motives are, unlike the more general work values, described as
oriented towards a particular activity (i.e. a specific job or occupation). They make
an individual strive for a specific goal or incentive (McKenna, 1998) and take
shape in actual behaviour (Moorhead & Griffin, 1995). As such, job motives are
more closely related to a particular profession or job than work values which refer
to work in general. The qualifiers ‘‘intrinsic’’ and ‘‘extrinsic’’ are used
extensively to describe and classify job motives related to internally and
externally initiated behaviour (Miskel, 1982). Following the seminal work by
Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman (1959), and notwithstanding some methodo-
logical criticisms (e.g. Kanungo & Hartwick, 1987), the so-called two-factor
model distinguishes between intrinsic job motives associated with characteristics
of the job itself (e.g. achievement, recognition, challenging work, responsibility
and growth) and extrinsic job motives, which cover pay, working conditions,
supervision, interpersonal relations, status and security.
In view of these general findings and taking into the account the research
population of the present project, it can be argued (see Barnabe ´ & Burns, 1994) that
a teaching environment must be considered as a very specific context, which differs
quite considerably from a business (for-profit) environment. The following
definition (Barnabe ´ & Burns, 1994) is used within the framework of this
Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136125
Teachers work in a flat, craft-style organizational structure, their work is
primarily with students, they are physically isolated from the continuous
interactions with other adults that characterize most business work and are
faced with qualitative based, subjective judgements of effectiveness. (p. 172)
Although the related literature is not overwhelming, some studies have highlighted
motivational constructs within a teachers’ population. A substantial part of this
research concentrates on the views expressed by teachers in training (e.g Bastick,
2000; Hayes, 1990; Moran, Kilpatrick, Abbott, Dallat, & McClune, 2001), but none
of the studies compare graduates who choose for a teaching job with those who
choose non-educational jobs. Hayes (1990) suggests that graduate teachers who
choose jobs other than teaching may be responding to their perception that teaching
provides low wages and does not offer sufficient opportunities for leadership-related
features like advancement, power, influence and autonomy. She concludes that
individuals who want to grow in status and power would not decide to engage in a
teaching job. Moreover, in a Belgian study of work values, teachers (and non-profit
workers in general) score exceptionally high on holistic values, meaning that they
prefer to see beyond themselves and consider what happens in their surrounding.
This is unlike individuals who work in a business or for-profit sector and who exhibit
more individualistic values relating to a me-focused and opportunistic attitude and
try to maximize their benefits (Van den Broeck & Vanderheyden, 2000).
As far as job motives are concerned, the three-factor model indicates that the
reasons given for joining the teaching profession fall under three headings: extrinsic
(E), intrinsic (I) and altruistic (A) (Andrews & Hatch, 2002; Bastick, 2000;
Kyriacou & Coulthard, 2000). The extrinsic theme refers to job elements not
inherent to the work itself, such as the actual teaching and interest in the use of
knowledge within the own discipline. Furthermore, the most popular motives
included in the intrinsic theme refer to the passion and vocation of the activity in
general (e.g. always wanted to teach) and the interest in working with children and
transferring information and culture (Fave & Massimini, 2003; Johnson, 1986;
Scott, Cox, & Dinham, 1999). For quite some time there has been evidence that
intrinsic motives are more important to teachers than extrinsic motives (Johnson,
1986; Lortie, 1975; Marshall, 1986). More recently, the existence of certain
common intrinsic motives transcending cultures has been demonstrated (Fave &
Massimini, 2003; Richardson & Watt, 2005). Finally, the altruistic theme in the EIA
model covers job elements which present teaching as a socially valuable activity,
related to the desire to promote the individual’s as well as society’s development,
without immediate personal benefit (e.g., helping others and serving society). A
number of studies into teacher motivation have concluded that altruism is the major
reason for choosing teaching as a career (e.g. Brown, 1992; Hayes, 1990; Moran,
Kilpatrick, Abbott, Dallat, & McClune, 2001).
In view of the emphasis in this study on the motives for everyday teaching, the
findings of Mitchell and Peters (1988) are relevant. They report that although
extrinsic benefits play an important role in stimulating good teachers to enter and
stay in the profession, everyday teaching efforts are more effectively encouraged by
altruistic and interpersonal features, in particular by a sense of pride in student
126 Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
achievement and by the pleasure derived from working with students who
appreciate the opportunity to learn. A qualitative study of Belgian teachers
(Schepers et al., 2005) also supports the EIA three-factor model and suggests
extending the model by introducing the interpersonal factor, which refers to the
social interactions commonly present in a teaching job.
The major objective of this study is to explore the motivation of recently
graduated teachers to pursue a teaching job, based on job motives and work values.
In addition the relation between the two concepts is investigated. An ensuing aim
relates to study differences between graduate teachers practising the teaching
profession, and graduates in non-teaching professions. Based on the previously
discussed literature, the following research hypotheses are proposed:
– Teachers are predominantly motivated by intrinsic compared to extrinsic
Teachers attach great importance to altruistic and interpersonal motives;
Interpersonal and altruistic work values are more important as motivators for
graduates in a teaching job than for graduates in a non-teaching job;
Extrinsic work values are more motivating for graduates in non-teaching
positions than for graduates in teaching positions.
A random sample of 714 young graduates was drawn from the 2,500 graduates of
the 2004 class from nine different teacher training institutes in Flanders (the Dutch
speaking part of Belgium). A total of 241 graduates completed the questionnaire,
leading to a response rate of 33.7%, which is acceptable for a postal survey with no
follow-up. Approximately three-quarters (n = 179) of the respondents held a
teaching job at the moment they completed the questionnaire (this group is called
the ‘‘teachers’’), 18.0% (n = 43) held another job (this group is called the ‘‘non-
teachers’’) and 7.1% (n = 17) was still unemployed. About half of the non-teachers
had a job in the for-profit sector, whereas the other half specified working in the
non-educational non-profit sector. Because of the small sample size of unemployed
respondents, this paper will only focus on the group of teachers and non-teachers.
The majority of the sample, 72.1% (n = 160) was female and the mean age of the
respondents was 23.3 years with a standard deviation of 2.5.
The data collection took place in November 2004. A questionnaire was sent by mail
to the graduates together with a university-addressed prepaid reply envelope. There
was no follow-up procedure of non-respondents because the questionnaires were
completed anonymously. All respondents (N = 222) completed the work values
Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136127
questionnaire, whereas only the teachers (n = 179) additionally completed the job
The questionnaire included three parts: some general questions on employment
background, educational background, gender and age; a job motives and a work
Teachers’ job motives are measured through a job motive questionnaire based on
previous work by Schepers et al. (2005). Respondents indicate to what extent they
agree that 35 motives convinced them to start working as a teacher on a scale ranging
from 1 (totally disagree) to 5 (totally agree). Examples of items are: ‘‘I choose a
teaching job because of the pleasant working environment’’ and ‘‘I choose a teaching
job because of the support I get from the management’’. In this questionnaire, in line
with what was specified earlier for job motives, the emphasis is clearly on the specific
goals that individuals pursue in their actual job. In order to test the reliability of this
newly developed part of the questionnaire, an additional group of 34 teachers
completed it on two separate occasions with a two week time interval in between. On
basis of the test-retest correlations, three items with a non significant correlation
(p > .05) were removed from the analysis, resulting in a total of 32 items.
The factor structure of the questionnaire was analysed by a principal component
analysis with oblique rotation (direct oblimin, delta = 0), which allows components
to correlate (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 1998). In case of low inter-
component correlations (r < .4) a principal component analysis with varimax rotation
is then applied. In order to achieve a robust structure, different component solutions
are assessed, based on the eigenvalues being larger than 1 and the scree plots. Item
loadings above .40 are used to interpret the components, while items which are
conceptually misplaced or have non-unique loadings are deleted. After applying
these guidelines, six items were deleted because of inadequate factor loadings.
The best solution for a factor structure model, based on the remaining items,
defines seven components explaining 65.69% of the variance (Table 1). The
following components are found: professional contact (four items, a = .83), social
role (four items, a = .76), transfer of knowledge (four items, a = .76), working
conditions (five items, a = .72), student contact (four items, a = .77), variety and
challenge (three items, a = .74) and work itself (two items, a = .79).
The Dutch version of the Value Scale (Belang van waarden) developed by Coetsier
and Claes (1990) was used as a starting point for the value questionnaire in this
project. The original questionnaire was initially developed within the framework of
the Work Importance Study (Super & Sverko, 1995) and has much in common with
other instruments (i.e. the Work Values Scale by Super & Nevill, 1985). This
128 Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
large-scale, cross-cultural project conducted by researchers from 14 different
countries concentrated on the study of values (the rewards that people seek from
life) and the role salience. The original Flemish version contains 105 items, loading
on 21 scales. In this study a reduced version with 37 items is used. This version was
developed and validated by Buyens (1993) and others (De Cooman, De Gieter,
Pepermans, Du Bois, Caers, & Jegers (in press); De Vos, 2002). For each item (e.g.
‘‘I find it important to have a job in which I can use my capabilities’’, ‘‘I find it
important to be involved in work aimed at helping other people’’), the respondent
Table 1 Varimax-rotated principal component analysis for job motives
Job motivesc1c2 c3c4c5c6 c7
Support from colleagues.84
Support from manangement.83
Contacts with colleagues.72
Pleasant working environment.67
Social role of education.77
Participate in the future of young people.67
Provide good education.63
Make oneself useful .49
Transfer knowledge .79
Impart something to the students .76
Contacts with students.60
Achieve something with some students.60
Holiday regulations .84
More free time.77
Easy combing work and family.58
Appreciation from the students .82
Feedback from the students .79
Responsibility as a teacher .45 .50
Substantive interest in the job .48
Possibilites for personal development .58
Love teaching .81
Always wanted a job in education sector .76
% explained variance11.41 10.36 10.1 9.12 9.127.79 7.87
3.314.14 4.36 3.19 4.044.17 4.15
SD 0.78 0.59 0.550.80 0.640.65 0.89
Note: Absolute values less than .40 were omitted. (c1) professional contact; (c2) social role; (c3) transfer
of knowledge; (c4) working conditions; (c5) student contact; (c6) variety and challenge; (c7) work itself
Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136 129
rated its importance on a five-point scale ranging from 1 (totally unimportant) to 5
According to the analysis by De Vos (2002), four higher-order dimensions
(advancement, autonomy, economic rewards and group orientation) ought to be
found. Results from a confirmatory factor analysis, on the data of the present study,
which tested these four components, indicate a bad fit (v2(623, n = 222) = 1666.68,
p < .01, GF1 = 0.660, AGFI = 0.616, RMSEA = 0.104). Therefore, an exploratory
principal component analysis is conducted for this questionnaire.
After an initial principal component analysis of the 37 items for the work values,
16 items had to be removed because of low loading, cross-loadings and conceptual
mismatch. The remaining 21 items result in a six component solution explaining
63.91% of the variance (Table 2). The components include: financial security (four
items, a = .77), social service (three items, a = .82), interpersonal contact (four
items, a = .73), autonomy (three items, a = .71), recognition (four items, a = .65)
Table 2 Varimax-rotated principal component analysis for work values
Work values c1 c2c3 c4c5c6
To know you will always make a living.74
To have a job that provides steady employment.72
To have regular earnings.72
To have your income secured.70
To be involved in work aimed at helping other people .85
To help people with problems.80
To have a job that serves other people.80
To have a job in which you can easily make friends.84
To have people who make time for a chat .76
To be toghether with the same sort of people .57
To work in group rather than alone .42.57
To do things your own way.82
To live according to your own ideas.82
To take your own decisions at work.69
To be strongly appreciated for your work.68
To have influence on others.64
To reach your personal goals.63
To be recognized for your achievements.56
To make progress in your career .82
To get promotion.82
To be a leader at work.64
% explained variance11.8623.17 34.31 44.40 53.8963.38
4.244.323.893.83 3.69 2.85
SD0.54 0.580.63 0.620.560.77
Note: Absolute values less than .40 were omitted. (c1) financial security; (c2) social service; (c3)
interpersonal contact; (c4) autonomy; (c5) recognition; (c6) career and leadership
130 Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
and career & leadership (three items, a = .71). The component recognition has a
modest, though minimally acceptable internal consistency (De Vellis, 1991;
Nunnally, 1978) and was retained in the model because of its specific and fairly
Table 3 Correlation matrix components job motives and work values questionnaires: Pearson
Work valuesJob motives
123456789 1011 1213
1 .22** .37** .15* .40** .32** .11 .09.20** .17*.09 .05 .08
n 217 217214215214216175 175175173174176176
1 .43** .26** .21** .01 .21** .49** .53** ?.02
.43** .38** .30**
221217 219217 219177 175176 178178
1 .19** .30** .10.35** .31** .38** .10 .28** .26** .25**
218 217 214 215174 174 174172 173 175 175
1 .33** .19** .03.17*.17* .17* .20** .16* .10
220 216 217176 176 176174 175177 177
1 .38** .17*.20** .26** .11 .27** .23** .15*
218 215 175175175 173174176176
1 .11 .01.01 .24** .01
219175175 175 173 174176
1.30** .29** .11.39** .40** .34**
178 177177175 176178 178
1 .47** .04 .55** .45** .29**
178177175 176178 178
1 .01 .53** .40** .30**
178 175 176178 178
1 .07-.07 -.16*
1 .47** .26**
Note: (1) Financial security; (2) social service; (3) interpersonal contact; (4) autonomy; (5) recognition;
(6) career & leadership; (7) professional contact; (8) social role; (9) transfer of knowledge; (10) working
conditions; (11) student contact; (12) variety and challenge; (13) work itself
*p < .05, **p < .01
Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136131
Correlation analyses between job motives and work values measures (Table 3)
reveal some significant relations between subscales that are content related. These
indicate that both instruments are somewhat related (strongest relationship, r = .55),
but measure motivational preferences at different levels.
Regarding the relative importance attached to the final seven job motive
components, mean scores (Table 1) indicate transfer of knowledge, referring to the
teaching itself, to play a key role for starting teachers. The components variety and
challenge and work itself (including the vocation to become a teacher) emphasize
even further the intrinsic job motives. Furthermore, the teacher’s social role (the
social function of education and the teacher’s role within this process), which refers
to an altruistic motive, is also important in this sample. Subsequently, interpersonal
features of the job are found in two motives, i.e. student contact (the relationship
with the students and the responsibility linked to it) and professional contact (the
working environment and the support from and contact with colleagues and
management). Finally, the component working conditions, which refers to extrinsic
features, is considered to be the least crucial motive.
The differences in the means for the importance attached to the six work values
for teachers and non-teachers are tested using independent samples t-tests (see
Table 4). The importance attached to the values is different in both sub samples.
Teachers attach most importance to social service, while financial security comes
second. For non-teachers, it is the other way round. For the work value social
service, a statistically significant difference is found between teachers and non-
teachers (t(219) = 3.68, p < .01). Teachers are more motivated by providing a social
service when at work (i.e. the possibility to help people through their work)
compared to non-teachers. In order of importance, within the sample of teachers, the
component interpersonal contact is found in third position, while within the sample
Table 4 Differences in work values between teachers and non-teachers: means, standards deviations,
t-tests and significance
Financial securityTeachers 4.250.53 0.314215 .75
Social serviceTeachers 4.390.543.68219 <.01
Interpersonal contactTeachers3.950.612.67216 <.01
Autonomy Teachers3.860.601.48218 .15
RecognitionTeachers3.69 0.560.11 216.91
Career and leadership Teachers2.79 0.76
132Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
of non-teachers this component only appears in fifth position. Compared to non-
teachers, teachers seem to be significantly more motivated by the relationship and
friendship inherent to the job (t(216) = 2.67, p < .01). The importance of autonomy
and recognition does not differ between the two groups. Finally, career and
leadership ranks last in both samples. Nevertheless, non-teachers estimate this value
significantly higher than teachers (t(217) = 2.48, p < .05).
The hypotheses that young teacher graduates are predominately motivated by
intrinsic compared to extrinsic job motives, and comparatively speaking consider
altruistic and interpersonal motives higher are supported by the results of this study.
These results clearly support the EIA three-factor model (Andrews & Hatch, 2002;
Bastick, 2000; Kyraciacou & Coulthard, 2000) and its further extension with a
fourth interpersonal factor (Schepers et al., 2005). Regarding job motives, the young
teachers in this survey assess intrinsic features as most motivating, which is in line
with previous findings by Fave and Massimini (2003) and Richardson and Watt
(2005). The relatively low importance they attach to the working conditions as a job
motive (an extrinsic job feature) supports the conclusions of Johnson (1986), Lortie
(1975) and Marshall (1986) that intrinsic job features have a much stronger
motivational potential for day-to-day teaching than extrinsic job features. Another
conclusion can be drawn relating to the high importance of the altruistic factor,
which is repeatedly stressed in earlier research (Brown, 1992; Hayes, 1990; Moran
et al., 2001), and which gets further support in this study. Concerning the additional
interpersonal factor, it can be concluded that good relationships and contacts with
students are important for the work motivation of teachers. The findings include a
plea for extending the job motives framework beyond the classic two-factor model
towards a much broader four-factor model. This is at least valid for the teaching
The hypothesis concerning how work values differ between teacher graduates
holding a teacher or non-teacher job is also supported. The results demonstrate that
three work values differentiate significantly between the two groups. The strongest
differences are found for the values social service and interpersonal contact. As
expected (Van den Broeck & Vanderheyden, 2000), teachers included in this survey
prefer altruistic and interpersonal values, while non-teachers are more attracted by
individualistic values such as career opportunities and executive powers. The
question that arises now, and that requires further investigation, relates to whether
teachers become more altruistic and interpersonally oriented when in the profession,
or whether they display these features before entering the profession. The former
could be seen as the result of effective socialisation, while the latter could be
considered the result of an attrition phenomenon (Wright, 2001). Alternatively of
course, a similar argument could be produced for the non-teachers in this study
being more individualistic. The present study results only indicate that teachers who
do not practise the profession have a different work value profile compared to their
fellow graduates who work as teachers. The data, however, do not offer the
Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136133
possibility to discover the reasons for not entering the teaching profession.
Conceivable reasons are being interested in and attracted by other professions and
dropping out during selection procedures, therefore putting this issue on the research
agenda for the future.
Within the framework of the general goals of this study some attention should
also be given to the relationship between the measures of job motives and work
values. The results indicate the existence of a positive, albeit rather weak
correlation between allied subscales of the two instruments. This suggests that
each component focuses on a different level of work motivation, one more
specific and the other more general. The results do, however, not allow for this
relationship to be clarified. Therefore, future studies could focus on these
relationships and attempt to explain whether certain work values may predispose
an individual for certain job motives.
The group of non-teachers includes respondents working in both the for-profit
and non-profit sector. This biases the results towards smaller differences between
the groups of teachers versus non-teachers. Moreover, because of the small sample
size of the non-teachers, it is not possible to analyse differences between those who
work in the for-profit (n = 17) and those who work in the non-profit sector (n = 19).
Given this limitation, it is not possible to draw conclusions about the general
differences between individuals working in the for-profit and non-profit sector. It
can be expected that a differentiation among non-teachers may even show a large
gap between teachers and profit employees, with the group of non-teachers (but as-
such-educated teachers) as an in-between group with respect to job motives and
work values. Therefore, the present results may be seen as an indication and an
onset to further research.
Yet, there is some evidence that the present results may be valid beyond the
teaching profession. Within the broader framework of non-profit organizations,
Basini and Buckly (1999) conclude that in general, non-profit sector employees are
much more interested in intrinsic and altruistic components (such as seeing their
work as a useful way of serving society), unlike profit workers who display a more
instrumental motivation. This does not clarify whether this motivation developed
during employment in the non-profit job or whether it was already present upon
entering the job.
The Basini and Buckly (1999) results also indicate that the motivational profile as
found in the present study is probably not limited to teachers only, which makes it
interesting to test the hypotheses for other non-profit professions as well.
Furthermore, exploring within group differences among non-teachers and to what
extent and why individuals intentionally choose for their career moves, remains
interesting and clarifying.
This study support the forwarded hypotheses, but at the same time it mirrors
some limitations. The results support the notion that young teacher graduates have a
particular motivation for working in the educational sector and that as a group they
are different from other employees. The study also offers an invitation for further
research to compare with results achieved for other parts of the non-profit or
134 Int J Educ Vocat Guid (2007) 7:123–136
Vrije Universiteit Brussel for its financial support through the interdisciplinary project GOA24.
The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Research Council of the
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