A Phenomenographic Examination of Motivation to Work at the Municipal Corporation of Bangladesh

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The municipal corporation is one of the key administrative bodies of Bangladesh's local government. Municipal corporation employees provide essential public services in the semi-urban areas of Bangladesh. Local government studies in Bangladesh indicate that the work environment of the municipal corporation is unique because of its key colonial and political history, several reform attempts, non-western social perspectives, job functions, and governance. The purpose of this study is to explore and analyse the conceptions of employees' motivation to work within this environment to develop and expand existing knowledge. In accordance with the objectives of this study, a phenomenographic approach has been adopted to analyse municipal corporation employees’ perspectives.

Twenty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted for phenomenographic data analysis. Employees' shared perspectives were analysed to discover the conceptions of work motivation. During the phenomenographic data analysis, the focus was towards the second-order perspectives of employees' shared meanings. The conceptions of work motivation in a second-order perspective are described as it is understood from the employee's experiences. This study has brought attention to the local realities by identifying the municipal corporation employees' motivation to work conceptions.

Based on the employees' collective experiences and dimensions of variation across the different ways of experiencing, six motivation to work conceptions were identified. The six conceptions of motivation to work are prior contextual exposure to long-term employment tendency, respectful status of the job position, social contribution by acting on the job responsibilities, condition of physical working arrangements, identity recognition to draw professional achievements and scope of career advancements to have task variety. The relationships between conceptions were further elaborated in terms of critical variations across the conceptions. As a result, six dimensions of critical variations in meanings have emerged within and between the conceptions. The dimensions of critical variations were found over aspects, nature, orientations, objectives, time, and expectational outcomes. In this study, the researcher has analysed relationships between conceptions and dimensions of critical variations to represent phenomenographic outcome space in a tabular structure.

This study has critically addressed the concepts of holistic thinking patterns, temporal time dimensions and the notion of extended-self which are found contextually significant in municipal corporation employees underpinning perceptions of work motivation in Bangladesh. Furthermore, these concepts are a significant extension to knowledge in work motivational studies. The findings of this study unveil motivation to work goes beyond individual orientation to historical, social and workplace orientations. The identified six conceptions and discussion of the Bangladeshi municipal corporation employee perspectives has decolonised organisational research and contributes to existing knowledge.
Date of AwardSept 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorSurbhi Sehgal (Supervisor), Sue Greener (Supervisor) & Max Tookey (Supervisor)

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