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The Virtual Bubbler Continuing Education Blog

Business World Paradigm Shift

by Robin Esch, Program Manager

The business world is undergoing a paradigm shift. It has become a job seeker’s market, and stakeholders are recognizing ways that management influences organizational culture. Given the current competitive talent acquisition landscape, organizational culture is often a determining factor in employee recruitment and retention. Likewise, employee engagement influences company culture and organizational culture often plays a pivotal role in whether an organization thrives or folds.

In addition, employees at all levels now move frequently and fluidly between jobs, and the source of this movement is not only monetary compensation but is also grounded in a quest to find fulfilling work that accommodates individual values and lifestyles (Rigby & Ryan, 2018, p. 134). For this reason, and despite being considered an elusive goal, stakeholders rank enhanced employee engagement as a top priority (Rigby & Ryan, 2018, p. 142), and employers continually seek ways to engage employees in both their work and workplaces.

According to Rigby & Ryan (2018), over the last several years, there has been an unprecedented shift of power from institutions to individuals, both inside and outside the workplace, as employees increasingly set the rules of their work engagement. For this reason, “New approaches to motivation and engagement are needed… to attract and retain talent, and maximize productivity and wellness” (Rigby & Ryan, 2018, p. 134). Therefore, management must find innovative ways to affect employee motivation and thereby engage employees in their work and organizations.

Edward Deci and Richard Ryan’s Self Determination Theory proposes that motivation is a foundational concern and central focus of human beings. People are not only concerned with ways to motivate others, but also seek methods of self-motivation. While individuals can be moved by external factors, they are often driven from within by determinants such as intrinsic values, passion, or curiosity (Self-Determination Theory, n.d). In this manner, employees often seek meaning in their work and are motivated when autonomously working within an organization whose values closely align with their own, and when they feel they are connected to others, valued, and are afforded opportunities for professional growth (Rigby & Ryan, pp.138-139). Furthermore, when employees consider their work meaningful, they become self-motivated, which increases personal and professional satisfaction that, in turn, improves organizational culture and ultimately impacts positive customer relations, financial gain and organizational success.

Indeed, organizational frameworks are changing, and it is acknowledged that “an organization is not composed of single voices, but as a symphony based on harmonization of voices from all members” (as cited in Sherafat & Elahi, 2017, p. 49). Moreover, it is proposed that organizations change their question from “’How can we engage our employees?” to ‘How can we make work and our organizations more engaging?’” (Jeske, Sheehan, Linehan & Moran, 2018, p. 28).

Whether your goal is to positively impact your organization’s culture, stay apprised of trending business topics, advance your professional position, or change careers, we invite you to explore the UWM School of Continuing Education’s current certificate and course offerings. We offer engaging, dynamic classes taught by professionals who are influential practitioners in their fields. From tactical information to big-picture issues, our classes offer relevant instruction and valuable skills that are not only immediately applicable in your current workplace but will also benefit your professional growth and advancement.


Jeske, D., Sheehan, M., Linehan, C., Moran, M. (2017). Employee engagement in discussion: goals, persepctives and recommendations. Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(2), 21-29, Retrieved from

Rigby, C., Ryan, R. (2018). Self-determination theory in human resource development: new directions and practical considerations. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 20(2), 133-147. Doi: 10.1177/1523422318756954

Self-Determination Theory. (n.d.) An approach to human motivation and personality. Retrieved from

Sherafat, S., Elahi, A. (2018). Developing a model of alignment between individual and organizational performance management and organizational objectives. Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(2), 49-57. Retrieved from