Developing a motivated workforce
A Nuclear Decommissioning Authority case study

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Page 3: Motivation and business growth

In 1943 the US psychologist, Abraham Maslow proposed that people are motivated by a 'hierarchy of needs'.  Maslow suggested that people are motivated by different things. He argued that once a level of need is satisfied, it loses its power to motivate and the next level takes over.

This means for example, that offers of better pay alone will not satisfy someone who is looking for more self esteem. This is recognised by leaders and managers at NDA. For example, pension schemes help to meet safety needs. Self-actualisation may be reached through training opportunities, such as the management development programmes, or promotion.

In 1960 Douglas McGregor described two distinctive styles of management: Theory X and Theory Y. In Theory X managers believed workers needed discipline - a Taylorist and authoritarian approach. By contrast, Theory Y saw self-motivated employees with complex needs and a natural urge to be creative. This second view is shared by NDA whose employees need to be self-directed in their work and ready to accept high levels of responsibility. 

The NDA Way shows how the organisation demonstrates its values. These values provide the setting for motivating its employees. The NDA Way includes:

  • 'always acting safely and responsibly
  • building talent and teams
  • being open and transparent
  • challenging ourselves and our contractors
  • confronting problems
  • delivering what we promise
  • learning from experience.'

This model allows both Maslow's lower order and higher order needs to be met by providing a safe, secure environment and good conditions, increasing skills and developing talent, and challenging people to improve.


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Nuclear Decommissioning Authority | Developing a motivated workforce