The National Academies

NCHRP 14-11 [Completed]

Effective Motivation of Highway Maintenance Personnel

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: The Pennsylvania State University
Principal Investigator: Dr. H. Randolph Thomas
Effective Date: 6/1/1989
Completion Date: 12/31/1992

Highway maintenance organizations are expected to provide rapid, high-quality service for a roadway system that is expanding in size and maintenance needs. The personnel and financial resources available to these organizations, however, are in short supply. Given the limited resources to deal with highway maintenance requirements, it is critical that employees at all levels be productive and strive for high-quality workmanship through enhanced attitudes of commitment, dependability, and adaptability. Maintenance managers and supervisors need effective tools and training to assist them in creating a work climate that is conducive to the development of such attitudes. There is an extensive body of literature on the subjects of worker behavior, motivation, and productivity; however, this information needs to be evaluated, modified and presented for use in motivating highway maintenance personnel.

The objective of this research was to develop a training program, with associated materials, for highway maintenance managers and supervisors at all levels that will enable them to effectively motivate themselves and their subordinates. The goal of this program was to provide managers and supervisors with the skills necessary to assess personal and organizational needs, and to identify suitable motivational tools that can enhance employee satisfaction, work quality, efficiency, and other aspects of performance.

The research involved (1) an extensive literature search and interviews with knowledgeable individuals to identify personal and organizational attributes and needs that are associated with employee motivation, (2) development of motivational tools for use in a highway agency to address personal and organizational needs, (3) formulation of a comprehensive training program for maintenance managers and supervisors, and (4) conducting a pilot presentation of the course to supervisors and maintenance managers. The products of the research include a handbook on employee motivation for supervisors and maintenance managers and a training program that includes visual aids, testing materials, program evaluation criteria, and an instructor's handbook.

Status: The final report and course materials were approved by the panel. A decision was made not to publish these materials, but the continuation project NCHRP 14-11(2) enhanced and supplemented the training materials and conducted further evaluations of the training program.

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