The motivation of staff in the outdoor education industry

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 1999
Thesis identifier
  • T9731
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • This study examined the motivation of outdoor staff working in multi-activity residential centres. The study took place against the background of an outdoor industry undergoing major legislative and cultural changes. These changes were discussed at length. Notable amongst the outcomes of the discussed changes was a need to improve staff retention within multi-activity residential centres. The motivation of staff was studied with this in mind. Following an initial pilot study, there were three major phases to the research. These were, a mail-shot questionnaire, focus group interviews and an investigation of personal constructs using a repertory grid (rep grid) technique. Structuring the study in this way allowed for quantitative data to be given depth and developed through qualitative techniques. Following a discussion of the major motivational theories, Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory was nominated as the grounding theory upon which the study was structured. This motivational theory aspect of the study was balanced with consideration of the social and cultural aspects of working in the outdoor industry. The major finding of the study was that outdoor staff are heavily motivated by autonomy, responsibility, challenge, altruism and variety. They are most strongly de-motivated by external factors, notably poor centre administration and inadequate resources. A multilayered motivational model was developed to give structure and synthesis to these findings. It was also found that outdoor staff are less interested in linear career progression in the conventional understanding than in progression through personal and professional development. It was noted, however, that this progression was subject to lifestage changes. Although outdoor staff were found to be transitory it was put forward as a recommendation that challenge and variety could be found from within a stable employment situation and that, as a result, the outdoor industry needed to adopt a different approach to career structure. A second model, the redeveloped career pyramid, was suggested to demonstrate these recommendations.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 1999
Former identifier
  • 570655