Alpha Chi Research Spotlight: Mary Hall

All around the country, Alpha Chi members are producing extraordinary scholarship across the disciplines. We’ll be spotlighting some of their most compelling research projects in the coming months. Let their work be your inspiration.


Mary Hall 


Tennessee Wesleyan University


Bachelor of Science in Management Excellence with Industrial Management Emphasis

Class Year:

December 2019

Q: What is the full title of your project?

“Expectations of Motivated Employees”

Q: How did this project get started? What was your research question?  

This project started last fall as a research project in my Staffing Organizations course. Students were given a list of topics to explore and choose from with the premise that only one student could be assigned to each topic. After examining the various topics, I selected the topic revolving around highly motivated employees and what they expected from employers. 

What did you learn?

Motivation is the key to managing and nurturing a culture of employee engagement. Motivation has been described as an individual’s desires, wants, and needs or a set of forces propelling individuals toward internal goals. To effectively meet the expectations of highly motivated employees and to inspire unmotivated employees, managers must study the differences found in personalities, goal orientation, goal development, and types of motivation.

What changed in your perspective along the way?

I had a basic knowledge of several behavioral and needs-based theories including the five-factor model of personality and Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but I never realized how connected they were to determining goal orientation and types of motivation. While doing my research, I was intrigued by how I fit into certain categories, and it helped confirm my research that an individual’s personality type has a direct impact on their goal orientation and desired motivations and rewards.

Why does it matter?

Successfully meeting the expectations of highly motivated employees and inspiring unmotivated employees has never been more challenging. The complexity of personalities, goal orientation, goal development, and types of motivation makes the inclusion of all those aspects within organizational culture seem impossible. Human resource management and individuals in leadership positions must be committed to continuous learning and committed to providing other managers with learning opportunities that explore and study personality types, goal orientation, and reward tactics. Individuals need to feel some level of connection to the organization they’re working for and to their coworkers. While managers are fighting over turnover rates, production levels, and innovation, their greatest assets are left underutilized. If you’re in a leadership position, you have a responsibility to yourself and your company to study your associates and find what engages them.

What do you want people to take away from your project?

I believe that if you want something of value from someone else, you should treat them as a valued part of the team, and the people who feel appreciated will continue to demonstrate their worth. After studying the differences in personalities, goal orientation, goal development, and types of motivation, I have gained an appreciation for managers and organizations that diligently seek to understand and motivate their diverse workforce. I want to encourage individuals in future and current leadership/management positions to explore how interconnected their associates’ personalities, goal orientation, goal development, and types of motivation are; thus, ensuring that work environments foster engagement and motivation for all associates.

What’s next for you (both personally, academically, and in the life of this project)?

Currently, I’m a full-time student and work full time as an environmental, health, and safety technician at Shaw Industries, Inc., Plant 10, in Decatur, Tennessee. I plan to join the MBA program at Tennessee Wesleyan University, and I hope to use the knowledge I’ve gained academically and in my industrial career for the empowerment of others. 

Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

My desire to help others has fueled my ambition to work toward the furtherance of my education. I joined the Advanced Business Program at Cleveland State Community College in 2016. In 2017, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and received an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business with a Concentration on Business Management while working full time. Currently, I’m enrolled in the Management Excellence Program at Tennessee Wesleyan University where I’m also pursuing my emphasis in Industrial Management. Balancing 40-45-hour work weeks and the demands of 15-18 credit hour semesters hasn’t been easy, but I’m so happy to say that I’ve maintained my 4.0 GPA. My college education has given me the chance to advance in my career, encourage and help others pursue their degree, and receive the most profound feeling of accomplishment. My membership in Alpha Chi has blessed me with a platform to share what I’ve learned and experienced with others and a connection to individuals who are passionate about learning.