Project Management in Practice

Beyond the alphabet soup of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PMBOK, ITIL, Agile

What motivates the New Zealand IT Professional?

I have just recently completed my Executive MBA. The final piece of the puzzle was a research project of my choice. I had always been interested in what motivates those in my industry. A great many also helped me by responding to the study, and therefore this is my attempt to thank them by sharing my findings.

Get the PDF summary here.

A massive ocean of literature exists on the topic of motivation. It can sometimes be a hindrance rather than assistance for IT management professionals. Some studies claim IT professionals are unique in their attitude to motivation and job satisfaction. With move towards a knowledge economy, understanding of these factors will play crucial role in future success of organizations. In addition, a shortage of skilled professionals may contribute to unique motivators in New Zealand. This research therefore aims to answer what motivates the New Zealand IT professional.

Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory
Contrary to previous assumption, Herzberg contends job satisfaction (motivation) and dissatisfaction (hygiene) were distinct in their contributors rather than two ends of the same scale. Resolving something that makes one dissatisfied does not provide job satisfaction. It merely reduces dissatisfaction. This is the theoretical basis of the study.

A modified model of Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene theory by Smerek and Peterson was used for this study. A self completion questionnaire was distributed online through SurveyMonkey to a population of IT professionals accessed via a LinkedIn group. Partial least squared, a structural equation modelling based technique was used as the primary method to understand relationship between the various dimensions of job satisfaction, impact of personal and job characteristics, and turnover intent. Follow up interviews were conducted for validation of analysis results and to understand weaknesses of the study.


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Relative Effect

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  1. Focus on a motivated workforce to ensure top talent is retained. Lack of job satisfaction is primarily why they consider leaving.
  2. Focus on the nature of the job. What they do and how much responsibility is afforded to them are the key predictors of job satisfaction.
  3. Train supervisors to provide an empowering environment. Perception of how enabling supervisors are, contributes significantly to job satisfaction.
  4. Offer competitive salary to retain top talent. While salary is not as strong a predictor of job satisfaction as the nature of the job, responsibility, and satisfaction with supervisor, it still shows positive association.
  5. Do not hesitate to employ IT professionals born outside New Zealand. There are no significant differences between New Zealand born IT professionals and those born overseas.

2 responses to “What motivates the New Zealand IT Professional?

  1. Isidora Roskic May 12, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Hi there,

    We’re looking into advertising with you, possibly displaying a banner on your website. Can you please send through a price list of your cost per lead/click/impressions options for us to review?

    Thank you,

    Please e-mail back to

    Isidora Roskic
    Marketing Assistant, ITM Platform

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