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Int. J.

of Human Resource Management 12:6 September 2001 988–1004

Motivation to train from the workers’ perspective: example of French companies

Sylvie Guerrero and Bruno Sire
Abstract The success of a training programme is largely contingent on the beneciary’s training motivation. With a focus on instrumentality and self-ef cacy, we have sought to explain motivation and to measure its effects on variation of knowledge acquisition and satisfaction with training. An empirical study of 335 workers sheds light on the importance of age, the role of the hierarchical supervisor and the manner in which training is portrayed. Voluntary participation, expressed by participation in decision making or consideration of requests, plays only a minor role in explaining the success of a programme. Keywords Training motivation; training success; learning; workers.

Because it powers technological and organizational change, and given its contribution to the effectiveness of approaches that enhance quality and exibility, training has become a major preoccupation of human resources managers. It is increasingly becoming a universal concern for everyone in the rm, whatever their hierarchical position. However, employees do not respond uniformly to training. In France, companies are experiencing severe dif culties in ef ciently training unskilled personnel, notably because this type of employee is reluctant to participate in training (Sorel, 1991; Performances Humaines et Techniques, 1994). In Europe, France ranks second, after the United Kingdom, in terms of corporate investment in training, both as a percentage of payroll (2 per cent) and as a percentage of employees (37 per cent) (Eurostat, 1999).1 The development of training activities is encouraged by the legislation, which sets a minimum expense threshold of 1.5 per cent of payroll for companies with at least ten employees, and 0.25 per cent for other companies. Participation in a training programme is not, however, commonplace among French workers as a whole. Dif culties in training workers have been reported since the 1980s, especially in the context of restructuring and changes in the organization of work. In general, French workers have a rather negative attitude to training. Training echoes academic failure and can revive latent feelings of devaluation (Demart, 1986; Pad´ , 1992). This apprehension about training is increased by signi cant resistance to e change and genuine learning problems. The problem is worsened by workers’ lack of access to training: in France, unskilled workers have 5.2 times less access to training than do engineers and managers (Table 1). One of the consequences of this scenario is the lack of training motivation in less skilled socio-professional categories. In fact, training motivation is a necessary condition for the success of a training programme. Numerous studies have established that motivation has a signi cant impact on training outcome. To our knowledge, with
Sylvie Guerrero, Professor, Audenda, Nantes, France; Bruno Sire, Professor, Universit´ e Toulouse I, Director of LIRHE.
The International Journal of Human Resource Management ISSN 0958-5192 print/ISSN 1466-4399 online © 2001 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/09585190110063192

Guerrero and Sire: Motivation to train
Table 1 Access to training in France by socio-professional category (INSEE, 2000) Socio-professional category* Engineers and managers Middle managers ( rst-level managers) Employees Skilled workers Unskilled workers Average
* according to French nomenclature .


% of employees trained in 1998 44.7 41.6 19.6 18.6 8.5 33.3

the exception of one empirical study (Noe and Schmitt, 1986), motivation has been positively linked to learning in training (Baldwin and Karl, 1987; Baldwin et al., 1991; Hicks and Klimoski, 1987; Mathieu et al., 1992; Quinones, 1995). Training motivation has also been correlated with post-training satisfaction and with transfer of knowledge acquired to the work situation (for a review, see Baldwin and Ford, 1988; Ford et al., 1997). The objective of this article is to explain the role of training motivation in the effectiveness of a training process. After having identi ed a conceptual framework that examines the notion of training motivation among workers, we will test, on a French sample, hypotheses relating to determinants and consequences of motivation. We emphasize the link with learning in training, which is considered one of the most critical factors in ensuring the success of worker training. Conceptual approach to training motivation De nition and dimensions One of the de nitions widely used in recent studies of training motivation (Baldwin et al., 1991; Facteau et al., 1995; Quinones, 1995) is that introduced by Noe in 1986 in the Academy of Management Review. It is inspired by American research on motivation at work (Campbell and Pritchard, 1976). Training motivation is described as ‘a speci c desire of the trainee to learn the content of the training programme’. Other de nitions refer to the effort exerted in training to learn the course contents (Hicks and Klimoski, 1987), along with Vroom’s expectancies theory (1964). Accordingly, Mathieu et al. (1992) describe training motivation as ‘trainees’ perceptions that doing well in a programme would lead to better job performance and consequently to valued outcomes’. Furthermore, several concepts have been used to describe training motivation. In addition to expectancies theories (Vroom, 1964; Porter and Lawler, 1968), authors have built upon the studies of Bandura (1977) on self-ef cacy and Adams on equity (1963). Therefore, training motivation is a multi-dimensional construct. Applied to the case of French workers, two dimensions appear particularly well adapted to the study of training motivation: self-ef cacy and instrumentality (Guerrero, 1998). Self-ef cacy Self-ef cacy is de ned as ‘people’s judgements of their capabilities to organise and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performance’ (Bandura, 1986: 391). It corresponds to an individual’s judgement of their capacity to cope with the requirements of a precise situation or to attain an objective. It does not necessarily re ect the actual possession of skills, but rather the individual’s


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perception of their capacities, regardless of the skills they possess. This concept has been used recently in the eld of adult education (Mathieu et al., 1993; Quinones, 1995). In the French context, it has been applied to problems arising from a lack of selfcon dence, experienced by workers who participate in training (Aventur and Hanchane, 1999). Instrumentality Instrumentality corresponds to an individual’s perception that their efforts in training will enable them to gain rewards at work. In general, the training effort is considered to be in an instrumental relationship with two types of rewards: intrinsic (interesting work, content of activities assigned) and extrinsic (remuneration, career possibilities) (Sire, 1993). The concept of instrumentality suggests that individuals are poorly motivated when they do not believe that training will lead to improvements in their work, career or remuneration (Clark et al., 1993; Facteau et al., 1995; Noe, 1986). Indeed, French workers rarely perceive their participation in training as a stepping-stone to change or to adaptation to professional situations. This perception is accentuated by lay-offs and dif culties in changing positions, which has created an association between training and job insecurity (Formation Emploi, 1998). In consequence, workers do not necessarily perceive training as useful for their personal development; their interest in the programmes declines accordingly. The concept of instrumentality illustrates the extent to which this attitude is present in this group of workers. Now that the dimensions of training motivation have been clari ed, we will attempt to determine their capacity to explain the effectiveness of a training programme. Training motivation as an explanatory variable of training success The success criteria of a training programme To measure the success of a training programme, many researchers have used Kirkpatrick’s model (1959a, b, 1960a, b), which proposes four criteria for evaluating training: 1 Reactions, or satisfaction with training: intended to evaluate the trainee’s opinions about training, along with their satisfaction and appreciation. 2 Learning: intended to determine whether the content of training has been assimilated by the trainees. It evaluates ‘the learning of principles, facts, techniques, and attitudes that were speci ed as training objectives’, generally by means of objective and quanti able measures (Kirkpatrick, 1959b). 3 Behaviour at work: this variable measures the transfer of knowledge to the work situation. Kirkpatrick (1960a) includes here newly demonstrated behaviours and attitudes, skills acquired, and all other forms of change. 4 Organizational results: the attainment of company objectives such as cost reduction, personnel turnover and absenteeism, along with the return on the training investment. Criteria 1 and 2 are the direct consequences of training motivation because they can be measured as soon as the training programme is completed. In contrast, criteria 3 and 4 are dependent on other variables such as motivation to transfer knowledge or the transfer climate (Noe, 1986; Tracey et al., 1995; Burke and Baldwin, 1999). Consequently, no hierarchy exists among the criteria. Alliger et al. (Alliger and Janak, 1989; Alliger et al., 1997) found that the correlation of scores obtained for each of the four criteria are weak2 and training effectiveness can therefore be explained by a number of factors. In general, depending on the training objectives, earlier studies have been limited to measuring either satisfaction and learning or transfer.

Guerrero and Sire: Motivation to train


As described above, a lack of training motivation has been observed in the worker population. This is why we are studying the success of a training programme in light of the rst two criteria of Kirkpatrick’s model: satisfaction and learning. Satisfaction is generally measured at the end of a training seminar. The information gathered concerns not only the content, but also the teaching methods and the reception. The assessment of learning relies on a set of evaluation tools that can be used at different times. Measurement may focus on knowledge, behaviour or aptitudes. Depending on the research project, tests, role playing or multiple-choice questionnaires are used in measurement (for a review of evaluation tools, see Warr et al., 1999). Impact of training motivation on training success Empirical research that has tested the impact of training motivation (measured by self-ef cacy and instrumentality) on training success (measured by satisfaction and knowledge acquisition) has achieved highly satisfactory results. Bandura’s posited link with self-ef cacy has been con rmed in a number of areas, including executive development (Bandura and Jourden, 1991), management (Gist, 1989), computing (Gist et al., 1989; Martocchio and Webster, 1992), interpersonal relations (Gist et al., 1991), and military training (Eden and Ravid, 1982; Eden and Shani, 1982; Tannenbaum et al., 1991). Mathieu et al. (1993) and Quinones (1995) found a positive relationship between self-ef cacy and both learning and satisfaction. The hypothesis of a link with instrumentality has been put forth frequently, but tested less often. It nonetheless yields encouraging results. Baldwin and Karl (1987) found a positive relationship with post-seminar learning. In contrast, Mathieu et al. (1992) reported a link with satisfaction, but not with learning. We will nonetheless test the hypothesis of a positive relationship with these two outcome variables. Training motivation among French workers has attracted our attention because it purportedly accounts for training success. Below we reiterate the main hypotheses that we have formulated in the introduction. Following the review of the literature, we can now further extend the hypotheses. Hypothesis 1: Hypothesis 2: Training motivation, measured by the concepts of self-ef cacy and instrumentality, has a positive in uence on satisfaction of French workers in a training programme. Training motivation, measured by the concepts of self-ef cacy and instrumentality, has a positive in uence on learning of French workers in a training programme.

Antecedents of training motivation In general, training motivation is in uenced by two types of variables, those related to personal history – individual variables – and those linked to the prevailing work context – organizational variables (Mathieu and Martineau, 1997; Warr et al., 1999). Individual variables In terms of academic background, French workers display similar levels: none have completed post-secondary education. We have therefore limited our study to demographic variables. Age and seniority at the company are variables that can change attitudes towards continuing training. In effect, at the onset of training, employees’ levels of motivation vary depending on their perception of the usefulness of the training and its transferability to their work (instrumentality). These


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perceptions result from the sum of their experiences, i.e. from age and seniority. For example, motivation was observed to be lower among older workers. This group nds it considerably more dif cult to learn than their younger colleagues. In particular with regard to new technologies, this dif culty is associated with a lack of con dence in their learning abilities (Gist et al., 1988). The impact of age and seniority on training has already been tested. Yet these tests have never yielded totally conclusive results in terms of explaining training motivation (Ford et al., 1993; Guthrie and Schwoerer, 1994). Nonetheless, a negative relationship has been established between age, seniority and satisfaction and post-seminar knowledge (Wolf et al., 1995; Mathieu and Martineau, 1997). That is why we believe that it is worth testing the explanatory capacities of these two variables, whether in a direct or indirect (through training motivation) relationship with training success. Hypothesis 3a: Age and seniority have a negative in uence on training success. Hypothesis 3b: Age and seniority have a negative in uence on variables of training motivation. Organizational variables A number of studies analysed the organizational context to explain the level of training motivation. Beginning with the earliest works on this theme, the question of the in uence of voluntary participation has been raised. The training programme may be imposed by the hierarchy (mandatory) or chosen by the individual (voluntary). Ryman and Biesner (1975) were the rst to document the in uence of voluntary action on training efforts as a measure of motivation. Hicks and Klimoski (1987), Cohen (1990) and Facteau et al. (1995) subsequently reached similar conclusions. The relationship was also veri ed with the concept of self-ef cacy (Mathieu et al., 1993; Quinones, 1995) and instrumentality (Clark et al. 1993). Nonetheless, Baldwin and Magjuka (1997) suggested that voluntary participation in training programmes is not always the most ef cient attendance principle. They determined that, among engineering trainees, those who perceive training as mandatory demonstrate a greater intention to apply the training than do those who view their attendance as optional. However, given that our study examines workers who are reluctant to train, the hypothesis that voluntary participation has a positive in uence on training motivation seems worth retaining. Hypothesis 4: Voluntary participation has a positive in uence on variables of training motivation.

A second theme concerns communication transmitted regarding training. The perception of having received pertinent information about training, its usefulness, objectives and quality has been shown to be positively related to self-ef cacy (Ilgen et al., 1979; Bandura and Cervone, 1983, 1986). Moreover, trainees apparently assign high instrumentality scores if training is recommended or required by a person they consider credible (Clark et al., 1993). Hypothesis 5: Detailed supportive information concerning training has a positive in uence on training motivation.

Support for training programmes from the work environment is the third organizational variable frequently discussed in the research. This support may encompass emphasis on the value of training programmes, setting skills development objectives

Guerrero and Sire: Motivation to train


and providing considerable post-seminar autonomy. Support may issue from various members of the organization: management, colleagues, subordinates, etc. However, it is encouragement from the hierarchical supervisor that reportedly has the greatest impact on training motivation, with a positive link with instrumentality found by Clark et al. (1993) and Guthrie and Schwoerer (1994). In addition, Noe and Wilk (1996) achieved similar results with self-ef cacy. Hypothesis 6: Support from the hierarchical supervisor has a positive in uence on training motivation.

Methodology To test the six hypotheses that ensue from the review of the literature, two surveys were conducted. A preliminary survey was carried out to identify the level of training motivation among the workers tested. The second survey allowed veri cation of the main hypotheses of this research, concerning the impact of motivation on training outcome (hypotheses 1 and 2). Sample The preliminary sample consisted of employees of three large companies and trainees at a training organization. A questionnaire was administered to 370 respondents who were about to begin a training programme. The nal sample was compiled based on level of education: only responses of individuals who had at most a Brevet Professionnel (BEP) or a Certi cat d’Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP)3 were retained. The sample includes 335 questionnaires distributed as follows: 72 employees of an automobile company; 87 of a machinery company; 21 of a nuclear company; and 86 of a training organization. The workers are male, with an average age of 36. Average seniority is 13.5 years. The training in which they participate is technical, and intended to develop skills. Each training programme lasted for approximately one week. It included a theoretical section and practical work in the shop or on mock-ups. The main survey was intended to test hypotheses 1 and 2, which pertain to the relationship between training motivation and training outcome. It was conducted among eighty-seven interns at the machinery company who completed the preliminary survey. The objective was to compare the answers relating to training motivation with the postseminar results observed. Measures Training motivation During the preliminary survey, training motivation was measured by means of the concepts of self-ef cacy and instrumentality, using a 5-point Likert scale. The self-ef cacy scale contains seven items inspired by the questionnaires of Guthrie and Schwoerer (1994) and Quinones (1995). It has a satisfactory reliability score (a 5 .8087). In accordance with earlier studies, we found a one-dimensional factorial structure (Table 2). The instrumentality scale was constructed based on that of Baldwin and Karl (1987). It includes ten items that evaluate the way in which individuals judge that their training success will enable them to attain various objectives. Factorial analysis revealed two dimensions (Table 2) concerning the anticipated results of training with regard to skills


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development (seven items; a 5 .8592) and professional advancement (three items; a 5 .7579). These two dimensions of instrumentality mirror the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that emerged from the review of the literature. Such a distinction has already been raised by Nordhaug (1989), in a study of anticipated rewards of training for Norwegian employees. In our study, the employees rst identi ed intrinsic rewards related to skills development. Training is then perceived as a means of obtaining immediate rewards at the workplace, i.e. job tasks and responsibilities. The employees then identify extrinsic rewards related to salary progression and career perspectives. These results show the pertinence of the concepts of self-ef cacy and instrumentality in understanding training motivation. In addition to measuring concepts related to training motivation, the preliminary study took into account the explanatory variables of this motivation. Age and seniority in the company were retained as individual variables. Organizational variables were measured using a 5-point Likert scale that includes seventeen items adapted from the questionnaires of Guthrie and Schwoerer (1994) and Facteau et al. (1995). Factorial analysis identi ed the three dimensions described in the theoretical section (Table 2). The rst axis (four items; a 5 .6534) represents the training policy regarding voluntary action. The second axis includes four items that are representative of the way in which training is presented to the workers (a 5 .7075). Lastly, the third axis includes nine items related to support from the hierarchy with regard to training and skills development (a 5 .8631). Training outcome The results of training were measured by a second survey. Speci cally, we administered the measurement tools that the company uses to study the effectiveness of its training programmes. To measure satisfaction with training, the company uses a 6-item questionnaire. Factorial analysis revealed a one-dimensional structure of the questionnaire used with a relatively low degree of reliability (Table 3, a 5 .6432). To measure learning, the company uses multiple-choice questionnaires. These questionnaires are developed in collaboration with the trainers, technicians and engineers, to ensure the pertinence of the questions. An identical questionnaire is completed at the beginning and end of each training programme. This questionnaire (twenty to forty questions) covers the technical knowledge and its practical implementation. For each seminar, the speci c questionnaire is distributed twice4 to the trainees. Table 3 presents a few items from the questionnaire administered in an electronics development internship intended for workers who wanted to progress in the pay schedule. To measure learning, we calculated the difference between the two marks attained: prior to and following training. The scores observed follow a normal law (skewness test 5 .807; kurtosis test 5 .365). The measures that we applied are similar to those of earlier studies on training effectiveness. To measure satisfaction, most authors use questionnaires that include between two and thirty-three items, with reliability scores ranging from .60 to .97. Whereas some authors are mainly interested in the reactions of trainees to the organization and the content of the training (Russell et al., 1984; Noe and Schmitt, 1986; Baldwin, 1992), others (Latham and Saari, 1979; Wexley and Baldwin, 1986) have investigated trainees’ satisfaction with the usefulness of the training at work (work better, more ef ciently). Moreover, the learning measurement tools found in the literature are similar to those that we have used. For example, other authors have administered tests of knowledge – essays or questionnaires (in 41.6 per cent of cases),

Guerrero and Sire: Motivation to train
Table 2 Factorial analyses by main components Variables and items in the preliminary survey Self-ef cacy 1 I have good learning abilities 2 It takes me time to assimilate the contents of training 3 I nd it hard to understand theoretical explanations 4 If the course is too abstract, I easily get lost 5 I nd writing easy 6 I can easily memorize the course materials 7 I am able to follow even if the trainer goes quickly Percentage of variance explained Alpha coef cient Instrumentality: importance of training results for: 1 Personal satisfaction 2 Autonomy at work 3 Personal knowledge 4 Acquisition of skills 5 Self-con dence at work 6 Ef ciency at work 7 Adaptation at work 8 Salary increase 9 Professional advancement 10 My future Percentage of variance explained Alpha coef cient F1 .589 .668 .721 .871 .779 .743 .623 .543 .8087 .671 .748 .571 .635 .753 .821 .749 .322 .085 .193 .458 .8592 .068 .057 .302 .312 .202 .233 .237 .673 .843 .858 .136 .7579 F2



Organizational variables Voluntary participation .656 1 I was free to choose which training I will attend .701 2 I was enrolled in training without being consulted .664 3 My requests for training were addressed .765 4 I asked for this training Presentation of training 1 I decided with my supervisor how the training would help me at work .100 2 I was aware of the contents of the internship .009 3 I know how I will use this training at work .006 4 I prepared in advance for this internship .006 Support from the hierarchical supervisor 1 My supervisor proposes training that is likely to interest me .255 2 My participation in training is considered an asset for the work team .256 3 My supervisor encourages me to acquire new skills .191 4 Compared with the other managers, my supervisor makes an effort to train his/her staff .262 5 My supervisor often lets me attend training .002 6 At work I am given the means to apply the training .006 7 My supervisor checks whether I put in practice what I learn in training .005 8 My supervisor encourages me to train –.004 9 My supervisor lets me evolve –.003 Percentage of variance explained .131 .6534 Alpha coef cient

.114 –.005 .256 .009 .720 .596 .621 .711 .373 –.139 –.002 –.127 .236 .173 .160 .009 .191 .127 .7075

.157 .141 .001 .004 .268 .004 –.003 .345 .634 .610 .549 .604 .829 .792 .732 .686 .704 .255 .8631


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Table 3 Measures of training outcome Measures of training results Satisfaction 1 The content information that I had before the internship was suf cient 2 I had the necessary knowledge to carry out this internship 3 I found the theory/practice distribution well adapted to the internship 4 The quality of the trainer was satisfactory 5 The physical conditions (hotel, reception, restaurant) were satisfactory 6 I am satis ed with the contents of the internship Percentage of variance explained Alpha coef cient F1 .663 .669 .551 .601 .559 .694 .672 .6432

Knowledge 1 What is the 2000 E sales force controller called? 2 How many cabins are there in a group equipped with a MCS 220 controller? 3 Describe the role of EEPROM memory. 4 Can the electronic card that ensures the OCSS function control network phases? 5 On a 2-speed machine, can stop precision be regulated by a test tool? 6 How many integrated relays are there on an LCB_II card? 7 Can a ‘remote’ function normally with all its ‘straps’ cut? 8 How many ‘Line Terminators’ are there on a simplex MCS 220 installation? 9 According to the installation, the card ensuring the OCSS function can be supplied in 24 VAC or 30VDC. 11 Is the SOM card necessary on a ‘Duplex’ installation with one call column per machine? 12 Does increasing the IPU-D parameter decrease the levelling speed?

simulation and role playing (33.3 per cent of cases). Other learning measures largely involve self-evaluation by the interns (for a review, see Guerrero, 1998). Therefore, despite their limitations, the measures that we have used facilitate comparison of the results of our research with earlier ndings. Results and discussion Descriptive analyses Tables 4 and 5 present the correlation scores of the preliminary survey, followed by the main survey. The correlation data show that age and seniority in the company are collinear (.689, p , .01, and .0880, p , .01). We therefore exclude seniority from our explanatory analyses (variable 7). Moreover, Table 5 shows collinearity between the two dimensions of instrumentality (.711, p , .01). Accordingly, we have excluded variable 2 (extrinsic rewards), because it does present a signi cant correlation with the other variables. The examination of the means obtained for the variables of self-ef cacy and instrumentality indicate that French workers are more optimistic about the value of training for their skills (m 5 4.32) and for their career (m 5 3.69), than they are about their aptitude to succeed in training (m 5 3.46). These results are consistent with the characteristics of the population studied: employees who lack skills have little con dence in their ability to learn.

Table 4 Means, standard deviations and correlations of variables of the preliminary survey 2 1.000 .443*** .184** .092 .239*** –.041 –.117* 1.000 .298*** .151** .187** –.044 –.064 1.000 .255*** .338*** –.098 –.037 1.000 .392*** .029 –.024 1.000 –.072 –.097 3 4 5 6 7 8


Stand. dev.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Self-eff. Extr. instr. Intr. instr. Info. Volun. Support Seniority Age

3.4636 3.6940 4.3216 3.6532 3.3821 3.6795 2.27 2.51

.6971 1.0774 .6128 .9574 .9232 .8811 .98 .92

1.000 –.133* .050 .105 –.025 .008 –.156* –.122*

1.000 .689**


* p, .05; ** p, .01; *** p, .001.

Table 5 Means, standard deviations and correlations of variables of the main survey 2 1.000 .711** .040 .162 .075 .099 1.000 .287** .404** –.140 –.088 3 4 5 6 7


Stand. dev.


Guerrero and Sire: Motivation to train

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Self–eff. Extr instr. Intr. instr. Learning Satisfac. Age Seniority

3.5833 4.1505 3.7797 6.21 3.016 2.37 2.01

.7008 .5405 .6851 2.43 .9965 .99 .95

1.000 .058 .110 .311** –.008 –.213* –.239*

1.000 .289** –.390** –.369**

1.000 –.071 –.095

1.000 .880**


* p, .05; ** p, .01; *** p, .001.



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Impact of training motivation on training outcome To explain the training results, a stepwise multiple regression was performed on the data collected in the second survey. In accordance with the hypotheses and conclusions of the correlation analysis, four variables were entered in the regression equation: age (and, through collinearity, seniority); self-ef cacy; instrumentality with regard to intrinsic rewards (and, through collinearity, extrinsic); and learning. Self-ef cacy and instrumentality represent variables of training motivation. Learning has been considered as both a variable to be explained, in keeping with our theoretical approach, and a variable that explains satisfaction (Table 6). The latter approach is technically possible because satisfaction was measured after the responses to the learning test were measured and analysed. We thus respect the constraint of anteriority, which is necessary for a variable to be considered explanatory of another variable. The results obtained engender encouraging conclusions. The variables introduced explain 26.7 per cent and 29.4 per cent of the variance of satisfaction and learning (F 5 10.195, p , .001; F 5 9.364, p , .001). Table 6 shows that satisfaction can be explained by instrumentality. Our results con rm those obtained by Mathieu et al. (1992). Nonetheless, self-ef cacy is not explanatory of satisfaction. Hypothesis 1 is therefore only partly validated. It should also be noted that the level of learning observed has a positive in uence on satisfaction with the training programme. It is reassuring to note that the more the employees take advantage of the training offered, the more they claim to be satis ed. Lastly, age and seniority have no apparent impact on satisfaction with the training programme. Concerning our main hypothesis (hypothesis 2), the results tend to validate the relationship between training motivation and learning in training. Self-ef cacy is positively linked to learning, con rming earlier work on this theme (Bandura and Jourden, 1991; Gist, 1989; Martocchio and Webster, 1992; Tannenbaum et al., 1991). In the same vein, a positive relationship with instrumentality is manifested, corroborating the ndings of Baldwin and Karl (1987). This hypothesis is arguably of greatest value to practitioners. In effect, this validation con rms that belief in one’s capacity to complete training successfully has a positive in uence on learning within a training programme. Moreover, age is negatively related to learning, partly validating hypothesis 3a. It therefore appears that age and seniority are variables to consider in training decisions. Older employees therefore have more dif culties learning than do their younger colleagues.
Table 6 Training motivation and training outcome Satisfaction Explanatory variables Age Self-ef cacy Intrinsic instr. Learning R2 Adjusted R2 Overall model F

Learning t

t –.312 .220 .219 n.e5 .321 .294 9.364*** –3.191** 2.263* 2.275* n.e.

–.015 .198 .338 .212 .288 .267 10.195***

0.978 1.756 3.228** 2.023*

* p, .05; ** p, .01; *** p, .001.

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Given that the impact of training motivation on training outcome has been validated, it is worth understanding how it is possible to develop this motivation among workers. The data gathered during the preliminary study will be useful in this respect. Explanatory variables of training motivation A second stepwise regression was performed to test hypotheses 3b, 4, 5 and 6. The data correspond to the answers provided by the French workers during the preliminary study (N 5 335). With regard to hypothesis 3b, the data give rise to several conclusions (Table 7): c c c age (and, through collinearity, seniority) is negatively related to self-ef cacy; age (and, through collinearity, seniority) is negatively related to the feeling that training affects one’s career (instrumentality related to extrinsic rewards); age has no signi cant relationship with the workers’ perception that training in uences skills development (instrumentality with regard to intrinsic rewards). Although consistent with our expectations, the results are nonetheless groundbreaking. Earlier studies suggested such relationships without validating them (Mathieu and Martineau, 1997). To our knowledge, our research provides the rst empirical con rmation of the impact of age on training programmes. Older workers tend to exhibit greater doubt about their ability to learn, and see training as less of a springboard for their career and their future than do their younger colleagues. But, in France, age and seniority of workers do not in uence the perception that training can help them develop their skills and improve their ef ciency at work. Concerning the impact of the organizational context on training motivation (hypotheses 4, 5 and 6), our results partly con rm hypothesis 4 on voluntary participation. In effect, voluntary action is signi cantly linked with instrumentality relating exclusively to intrinsic rewards (b 5 .10, p , .05). Again, it should be noted that this variable ranks third in the model. This is the most counter-intuitive result that our data reveals. If our study con rms the results obtained by Mathieu et al. (1992), it nonetheless runs counter to other research that found a positive relationship with self-ef cacy (Mathieu et al., 1993; Quinones, 1995), and with instrumentality (Clark et al., 1993). In contrast with the English students and engineers tested in the earlier studies, French workers do not share
Table 7 Explanatory variables of training motivation Self-ef cacy Explanatory variables

Intrinsic instr.

Extrinsic instr.

t –2.067* 1.543 2.614** 1.765

t –.08 .10 .24 .14 .102 .094 11.165*** 1.683 2.026* 4.647*** 2.791**

t –.11 .06 .12 .20 .088 .080 9.375*** –2.251** 1.268 2.355* 3.900***

Individual variables Age –.11 Organizational variables Voluntary participation .07 Training information .14 Supervisor support .09 R2 Adjusted R2 Overall model F .055 .049 5.966**

* p, .05; ** p, .01; *** p, .001.


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the perception of voluntary participation. They consider that voluntary action is important only if it allows selection of the training that meets personal interests and compensates for professional insuf ciency. Hypothesis 5 is validated. The way in which the training is portrayed in uences selfef cacy and instrumentality. This variable appears to be the management practice with the best explanatory power with regard to training motivation, along with self-ef cacy (b 5 .14, p , .01) and instrumentality with regard to intrinsic rewards (b 5 .24, p , .000). It ranks second in terms of instrumentality of extrinsic rewards (b 5 .12, p , .05). Lastly, hypothesis 6 concerning the in uence of support of the hierarchical supervisor is veri ed for the two dimensions of instrumentality (b 5 .20, p , .001, and b 5 .14, p , .01 respectively). Hierarchical support also plays a signi cant role in the training motivation of unskilled workers, as earlier studies have demonstrated (Clark et al., 1993; Guthrie and Schwoerer, 1994). In contrast, support has no impact on selfef cacy. Encouragement from the entourage therefore reinforces the perception of the value of training, but does not modify workers’ con dence in their ability to succeed in training. It is important to note that the models obtained, although of good quality (F 5 5.97, p , .01; F 5 11.16, p , .001; F 5 9.37, p , .001), explain only a small part of the variance in training motivation (5 per cent to 9.5 per cent). Therefore, other variables must explain training motivation among French workers, as prior studies concluded. We have noted that adjusted R2 have not been systematically discussed (Clark et al., 1993; Facteau et al., 1995; Mathieu et al., 1997). When they are, the variance in behaviour explained is hardly better than for our study (Guthrie and Schwoerer, 1994), and, in some cases, worse (Tracey et al., 1995). Implication for further research Several of our ndings are of interest to practitioners who are developing the skills of unskilled personnel. For one, our work highlights the importance of using motivational constructs in assessing the effectiveness of a training programme. We show that training motivation can be approached through the concepts of self-ef cacy (believing in one’s own capacities) and instrumentality (knowing that the effort exerted will be rewarded). The main conclusions of our research are that these two concepts provide a measure of training motivation that reveals the in uence of this concept in the direct outcome of a training programme: learning and satisfaction experienced by the bene ciary (Figure 1). We have also elucidated the weight of certain variables in explaining the differences in workers’ level of training motivation (Figure 1). This study con rms that support from the hierarchical supervisor and the way in which the training programme is presented play important roles. In contrast, volunteering for a training programme has a lesser explanatory power. It appears signi cant only in that it allows selection of training that can offset professional insuf ciency. Lastly, our study reveals the importance of age and seniority in the success of a training programme. Older workers are apparently less con dent in their learning abilities, and consequently succeed more poorly in the knowledge test compared with younger workers. By implication, it could be useful to put in place a speci c follow-up of older populations, if their skills are to be developed. Although compelling, these results must nonetheless be applied prudently owing to the speci c limitations of the study. Our research was conducted using qualitative scales

Guerrero and Sire: Motivation to train


Figure 1 Summary of results obtained (hypotheses validated)

for which we have presumed a homogeneity of respondents’ perceptions. Evidently, this homogeneity must not be considered a given. Moreover, the measure of training success remains fairly simple. The knowledge tests administered in this study cannot predict the way in which this knowledge is applied at the workplace. In addition, the level of explanation of training motivation is insuf cient. Whereas the measure of training motivation explained approximately 30 per cent of the variance in the level of knowledge acquisition and more than 25 per cent of satisfaction variance, which corresponds to a result that far exceeds our expectations, the results of the preliminary survey are more disappointing. The latter outcome has prompted us to envision numerous extensions of our work. Other variables should be investigated, to improve motivation in training programmes. Possible avenues include: 1 Integrating other individual variables to enrich our model. Locus of control, job involvement, organizational commitment and career-related attitudes are often considered to be variables that underlie motivation. It could be interesting to investigate these factors in future research on training motivation among French workers. 2 Introducing new measures pertaining to the organizational context, such as perception of procedural equity, organizational culture or remuneration of training activities. 3 It would be worthwhile to expand the notion of training motivation. We have focused on the concepts of instrumentality and self-ef cacy. Yet one could pursue the inquiry with an examination of valence and need for achievement. In addition, we have not attempted to measure effort. This is a research avenue that other scholars have followed, and one that can supplement the approach we have adopted. Notes
1 On average, 2 per cent of the payroll is allocated annually to training. In total, 62.4 per cent of French companies organize training activities, giving 37 per cent of workers access to training programmes.


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2 The average correlation is .07 between levels 1 and 2, 0.13 and 0.19 between levels 2 and 3, and 3 and 4, respectively . 3 Equivalent to a certi cate of vocational studies at secondary-school level. 4 Prior to and following the seminar. 5 Not entered in the multiple regression equation

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