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Retaining Knowledge Workers: A ranking of the most valuable Rewards
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Economics.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

With the past decades of a growing trend in the western-world where knowledge workers are replacing traditional workers the importance of finding ways to attract, retain and engage the former is becoming even more challenging as the preferences of this kind of workers is totally different than for other workers. Non-monetary rewards such as achievement, autonomy and feedback have for a long time been highlighted by researchers to be of importance, yet the human relations departments (HR) still seem not to have realized the importance of such rewards and while HR strategies often are focusing on total rewards as a summary of monetary and non-monetary rewards there is a lack of an uniform ranking of the importance in between them.

The purpose of this thesis is to make a ranking of the non-monetary rewards being most valuable for a knowledge worker to retain them within a company. The job mobility for this group is high and failing to retain them would except for short-term costs and organizational knowledge loss risk to create a lack of competitive advantage in long-term.

Based on an extensive review of literature and papers by both researchers and practitioners with aspect to motivation theories, knowledge workers and rewards a theoretical framework has been constructed derived to five propositions which have been tested in a single case study. The empirical data was collected from a case being described in-depth and consist of archival data from employee surveys during seven years of time which have been supported by interviews and observations to achieve a triangulation of data. During analysis the findings have been put in relation to the environmental factors present within the case to achieve a rich and trustworthy case study.

The findings confirms earlier research that autonomy is one of the highest ranked reward for a knowledge worker but that affiliation is of equal or even higher importance. The result also indicates that the difference between knowledge workers and other kinds of workers with aspect to affiliation is low or even non-existent. The thesis has also shown that autonomy, praise/recognition and career/personal development is of far more importance for a knowledge worker than for other kind of workers which may act as an important input to HR professionals.

Furthermore this thesis has by the construct of a theoretical framework based on content theories of motivation contributed with a theoretical ground to the system of total rewards defined by HR professionals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Rewards, knowledge worker, motivation
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-12710OAI: diva2:942362
Subject / course
IY2578 Master's Thesis (60 credits) MBA
Educational program
IYABA MBA programme
Available from: 2016-06-27 Created: 2016-06-23 Last updated: 2016-06-27Bibliographically approved

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