Barry Lamont

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Work and Society


Don Wells


Wayne Lewchuk



Committee Member

David Goutor


The researcher used a case study of unionized supermarket workers to examine how older and younger workers under economic restructuring relate to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. First, the researcher illustrated how both age groups might be motivated differently by intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and how this might lead to differences in their levels and sources of job satisfaction. Second, the researcher examined what intrinsic and extrinsic rewards both age groups expect to receive. Third, the researcher investigated what intrinsic and extrinsic rewards both age groups actually experienced. Fourth, the researcher evaluated the similarities and differences between these two age groups. In the last section, the researcher discussed the implications for the union and suggested possible solutions to increase job satisfaction for both age groups.

The results suggest economic restructuring has influenced how both age groups relate to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. For younger workers, economic restructuring pressured unions to offer concessions to supermarket employers. These concessions limited the ability of younger workers to access hours, wage rates, and opportunities for promotion or advancement. The lack of access to these rewards created job dissatisfaction among younger workers. On the other hand, concessionary bargaining practices placed pressure on older workers to embrace the company's view that increased competition could prevent additional job loss. These older workers expressed dissatisfaction when increased competition failed to produce sufficient job security.

The researcher used Herzberg's (1959) two-factor theory to evaluate job satisfaction for both age groups. For older workers, salary and interpersonal relationships tend to contribute to job satisfaction, while the lack of supervision, benefits, conditions of work, and job security tend to contribute to job dissatisfaction. For younger workers, benefits, interpersonal relationships, and job security tend to contribute to job satisfaction, while salary, supervision, and conditions of work contribute to job dissatisfaction.

The researcher concludes that Herzberg theory is not entirely applicable to the unionized supermarket industry. The researcher's findings failed to confirm Herzberg's conclusion that motivator and hygiene factors operate independently from each other. For example, older workers tend to associate job security with other extrinsic rewards such as benefits, supervision, and working conditions. However, the results tend to confirm Herzberg's conclusion that the absence of hygiene factors can create dissatisfaction among workers. Both age groups tend to report job dissatisfaction when they do not have access to hygiene (or extrinsic) factors. Moreover, both age groups reported a significant level of job dissatisfaction when they did not access extrinsic rewards they felt were important. In addition, the results tend to confirm Herzberg's conclusion that motivators are the primary source of satisfaction for a worker.

If unionized supermarket workers are to be motivated effectively, some factors such as salary and job security should receive greater attention from union representatives. The researcher recommends that United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada (UFCW) might consider the further development of its education strategy and greater use of committees for both age groups. In effect, UFCW could explain to its members how younger and older workers place different weights on intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. As a result, UFCW could reduce division of labour between both age groups.

McMaster University Library