The latest in our series of member profiles comes from Michelle Renard, Lecturer in IOP from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Read about Michelle’s research and interests below!

 

1) Introduce yourself: background, place of work, etc.

My name is Michelle Renard, and I have held the position of lecturer for the past five years, within the Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology (IOP) at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I teach both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Human Resource Management Staffing, Rewards Management, Research Methodology and Career Management.

I have lived in South Africa my entire life, but I am passionate about travel and exploring cultures worldwide. This has stemmed my interest in cross-cultural psychology. While I love sharing knowledge with my students through teaching, I have a great passion for research. I completed my Masters in IOP cum laude in 2012, focusing on the way in which university students in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa cope proactively with stress. Last year, I commenced with my PhD in Commerce (IOP), which I am aiming to complete by the beginning of 2015. I have presented research findings at two international and three local conferences, and will present at another international conference in July when I present my preliminary PhD findings at the 22nd Congress of the IACCP in Reims, France.

 

2) How did you first learn about HWP?

An IOP colleague within South Africa, Dr Ines Meyer, heard about my PhD research through our Departmental newsletter that was circulated to IOP academics throughout the country. Ines sent me the link to the GOHWP website, and encouraged me to join the organisation because my PhD focuses on motivating, engaging and retaining non-profit sector employees. Reading about the GOHWP was my first introduction to the field of HWP. My interest both in this field of study and in the organisation was immediately sparked.

 

3) In what ways is HWP relevant to your work?

I am examining paid non-profit employees for my PhD, by looking at the influence of intrinsic work rewards on their levels of intrinsic motivation, work engagement and intention to quit. My rationale behind focusing on non-profit employees is based on the fact that within South Africa, the majority of non-profit employees are paid less than those working within the private sector; yet, the work that they do is arguably more meaningful in terms of making a difference to society, compared to those working in the private sector. It is my hope to show that rewarding employees through the provision of work that is psychologically meaningful, will positively influence their motivation and engagement levels, and reduce their intention to leave the non-profit sector, despite their lower salaries earned.

My research began with 15 interviews being conducted with non-profit employees in South Africa, and 10 in Belgium, in order to gain data pertaining to the factors that motivate and reward employees in this sector. From this qualitative data, I have been able to develop an Intrinsic Work Motivation scale and an Intrinsic Work Rewards scale, which will soon be tested and validated on non-profit employees in South Africa, Belgium and Australia. These are the first such measuring instruments to be developed and tested on a non-profit employee sample globally.

 

4) In which area would you be interested in forming new collaborations?

I would love to connect with other academics researching non-profit employees worldwide. Upon completion of my PhD, I am interested in further validating the Intrinsic Work Motivation and Intrinsic Work Rewards scales globally, and to make comparisons amongst non-profit employees and those working in the private sector. The constructs that these scales measure also need to be correlated with other constructs of relevance, such as psychological capital, organisational citizenship behaviour, organisational commitment, and the like. I believe that much scope for research exists once these measuring instruments have been validated; and since my area of interest is cross-cultural psychology, I am always looking to form new research partnerships worldwide.

 

5) Do you have a favorite paper or idea you want to share with the group?

I strongly believe that the work that non-profit employees do is potentially more meaningful than the work of those working in the private sector, in jobs where it is more difficult to see the impact of one’s work on society at large. My preliminary research has shown that non-profit employees both in South Africa and Belgium are motivated and rewarded strongly by tangibly seeing that their work is making a difference – regardless of the type of non-profit in which they work. I am excited to gain the empirical results from the next phase of my PhD. I invite fellow GOHWP members to connect with me on LinkedIn at//www.linkedin.com/in/michellerenard.