Based on the Experience during the COVID-19 Repatriation, What Has Affected the Knowledge Worker's Motivation, by Working Virtually, and What Is Important for the Future Work Format?

Henrik Povlsen & Simon Eskildsen Dømmestrup

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this Master Thesis is to investigate how the COVID-19 lockdown impacted the way organizations and knowledge workers think work. The scenario was hard to compare towards a baseline, since no real data points existed on this specific topic. To investigate and find answers to the scenario at hand, a combination of qualitative and quantitative data was gathered from Interviews, Surveys and secondary data collected at a broad enough level for the findings to apply across the Danish society.
The findings will be analysed using a variety of theories, including Self-Determination Theory (SDT), management theory, and theory in relation to the psychological contract and safety. The first analysis will revolve around creating the baseline and understanding of how knowledge workers approached work before the COVID-19 lockdown. The second analysis will be based on the experiences learned during the COVID-19 lockdown, herein positive and negative aspects of Working From Home, and a look into the knowledge workers motivation
for work. The findings from both the first and second analysis will be used in the third analysis, which will propose future solutions such as a hybrid work format. This will allow the organizations and employees to decide for themselves to cater to the individual needs without compromising the overall organizational agenda. The organizational culture and its leadership are required to adapt to the change in order to support the knowledge workers and organization during and afterwards to sustain the change. However, organizations will never be the same, thus the final outcome will differ in terms of setup.
The Thesis highlights the different needs and requirements of employees, managers and organizations, including how seemingly chaotic and extensive changes to the state of normality can be kept at bay. However, due to the long period of time under unsustainable conditions, knowledge workers would eventually become more and more dissatisfied, due to basic needs at work not being met, and the issue of being in a work environment 24/7 without the possibility of much psychological detachment. Moreover, the source of motivation seems to have also changed during the period from intrinsic to more extrinsic.
The findings and recommendations from this thesis are only to highlight areas, which organizations must be aware of. It cannot give specific recommendations.

EducationsMSocSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages112