Effects of job characteristics, work context and job attitudes on work motivation: a study among level six hospitals in Nairobi within the context of COVID-19 response

Motivation has been widely studied but aspects of job characteristics and job attitudes and how they relate to workforce motivation continue to generate interest more so regarding how they play out in different work contexts. Consequently, with the dynamic and currently challenging nature of health service provision, occasioned by varying emergencies and epidemics such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, how job characteristics and job attitudes interact and how they influence motivation will be of interest to health care managers, strategists and policy makers. The study sought to determine the effect of job characteristics, work context and job attitudes on work motivation in level six hospitals in Nairobi within the context of the COVID-19 response. In particular, we test whether and how procedural constraints as a unique characteristic of the employee’s work context affects work motivation through their influence on the antecedents of work motivation. We also assess the effect of these important antecedents – job goal difficulty, job goal specificity and self-efficacy, on work motivation. We provide stronger empirical support for a theoretical framework that can guide future research on work motivation. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional design. A random sampling of healthcare workers at level six hospitals- Kenyatta National Hospital and Aga Khan University Hospital was done with a total of six hundred and nine (609) health care workers taking part (96%,94% response rates). Data was collected using online questionnaires (Google form) and consequently inferential statistics were used to establish the relationship between the objectives under study with an adherence of 0.05 significance levels. Job goal difficulty and job goal specificity was found to have a significant positive relationship on work motivation. Self-efficacy was also seen to mediate the effect of job goal difficulty on motivation. However, procedural constraints had a significant negative relationship on work motivation through the negative effect on self-efficacy. It moderated the effects of job goal difficulty and self-efficacy. Additionally, the study found statistically significant higher job specificity scores in AKUH compared to KNH. However though hypothesized to be contextually different given their private –public nature, the difference in work context’s effect on motivation was not statistically significant at 95% significant level. There were higher procedural constraints experienced by respondents who were in direct patient care instead of those in managerial/supervisory roles and a significant positive relationship found between years of experience and self-efficacy. As such, the study has important implications for human resource in health. The study concludes that though there are challenges faced in the health sector, the balance between the work context, job characteristics, and job attitudes, maintaining high efficacy levels will ensure that the workers remain motivated. Finally, effective strategies that focus on training and capacity building on specific skills to build on experience, provision of the necessary equipment required for the tasks and practice of autonomy that reduces bureaucracies and ‘red tape’ for faster decision making and care processes, will need to be put in place to motivate employees even beyond the pandemic period.
A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Masters of Business Administration at Strathmore University Business School
Work motivation, Job difficulty, Self-efficacy, Job goal specificity, Job characteristics