Keys to motivating tomorrow’s workforce

By Gary P. Latham
University of Toronto

Christopher T. Ernst
Center for Creative Leadership


Work motivation is a set of energetic forces that originate within as well as beyond an individual’s being. It is a psychological process resulting from the reciprocal interaction between the individual and the environment that affects a person’s choices, effort, and persistence. The purpose of this chapter is to peer inside the door to what might or should be the motivational sources of tomorrow’s workforce. To discover the key for opening this door, the history of research and theory on work motivation in the 20th century is reviewed in order to identify principles that are likely to be timeless. Second, the current status of research and theory at the dawn of the present millennium is examined. Third, and on that basis, predictions are made regarding the design of organizations in the 21st century; predictions are made on ways to motivate the employees who will work in them.


Latham, G. P., & Ernst, C. T. (2006). Keys to motivating tomorrow’s workforce. Human Resource Management Review, 16(2), 181–198.


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