MA, PhD (University of Rochester), BA (McGill University)

Strategy, management and organisational behaviour

Marylene Gagne’s research program is on the topic of work motivation, most of it using self-determination theory, which she is credited for introducing to the domain of organisational behaviour. Her seminal work on this topic is routinely used in business school and organisational psychology programs to teach about work motivation. Her research examines how organisations, through their structures, cultures, rewards, tasks, and management, affect people’s motivational orientations towards their work, including volunteer work, and how quality of motivation influences performance and well-being in the workplace. 

The body of this work shows that not all types of motivation are equally beneficial to work outcomes, including work performance, well-being, engagement, prosocial behaviours, knowledge sharing, commitment to an organisation, turnover, acceptance of organisational change, team effectiveness, and successful family business succession. Autonomous forms of motivation (i.e., doing something out of interests and/or values) are more positively related to work outcomes than controlled forms (i.e., doing something for rewards or self-esteem). Moreover, this research has demonstrated that when people feel competent, autonomous and related to others, they are more likely to adopt autonomous forms of motivation, which has led to exploring how organisational structures and processes can positively influence these psychological needs. This has included research on job characteristics, leadership, remuneration and incentive systems, recruitment and selection processes, and more recently algorithmic management.

Besides creating a popular psychometric instrument to assess work motivation, which has now been translated in over 20 languages, she has collaborated on work that summarises research findings (through an Oxford Handbook and meta-analyses) showing the impact of different forms of motivation in the work domain. In addition, she has collaborated on work that has led to refinements to self-determination theory, particularly around the evaluation of the multidimensional structure of motivation it proposes. 

Her research has also contributed to the development of organisational interventions, such as managerial leadership training, motivational work design, and compensation and recognition systems design. Her research on volunteer motivation has been used by many volunteer-involving organisations around the world to inspire better volunteer management processes and resources that have led to increases volunteer retention rates and satisfaction. She disseminates the knowledge created through her research through a blog on Psychology Today’s website entitled “Getting up on Monday Morning” where she provides summaries of recently published research and how it can be relevant to workers and volunteers. 

2021- present John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Curtin University

2019-present Centre of Excellence in Population Aging Research, Associate Investigator

2018-present Research Professor, Future of Work Institute, Curtin Business School, Curtin University

2016- 2018 Professor, Management and Organisations, University of Western Australia Business School

2016-2017 Head of Management and Organisations Discipline, University of Western Australia Business School

2013-2015 Associate Professor, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia

2010 to 2012 Royal Bank of Canada Professor of Work Motivation, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University

2006-2012 Associate professor, Department of Management, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal

2001 – 2006 Assistant professor, Department of Management, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal

2000 – 2001 Assistant professor of I/O psychology, Department of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York

Fellowships and Awards:

Elected Fellow, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2019).

JMSB mid-career Research Award (2008).

Concordia University Research Fellow (2007)

Canadian Psychological Association President’s New Researcher Award (2004).

John Molson School of Business Distinguished Junior Researcher Award (2003).

American Psychological Association Dissertation Award (1999).


Academy of Management

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Fellow)

Society for the Science of Motivation

Society for Organisational Behaviour Australia (by invitation only)

European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology

International Society for Third-Sector Research

1. Gagné, M., Parker, S. K., Griffin, M. A., Dunlop, P. D. Knight, C., Klonek, F., & Parent-Rocheleau, X. (2022). Understanding and shaping the future of work with self-determination theory. Nature Reviews in Psychology.

2. Gagné, M., & Parent-Rocheleau, X., Bujold, A., Lirio, P., & Gaudet, M.-C. (2022). How algorithmic management influences worker motivation: A self-determination theory perspective. Canadian Psychology.

3. Van den Broeck, A., Howard, J., Van Vaerenbergh, Y., Leroy, H., & Gagné, M. (2021). Beyond intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: A meta-analysis on self-determination theory’s multidimensional conceptualization of work motivation. Organizational Psychology Review, 11(3), 240-273.

4. Howard, J., Gagné, M., & Morin, A. J. S. M. (2020). Putting the pieces together: Reviewing the structural conceptualization of motivation within SDT. Motivation and Emotion, 44, 846-861.

5. Kuvaas, B., Buch, R., Gagné, & Dysvik, A. (2016). Do you get what you pay for? Sales incentives and implications for motivation and changes in turnover intentions and work effort. Motivation and Emotion, 40, 667-680.