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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Motivation in Los Angeles Factories: Mamá y Papá - What Gets You Up in the Morning

  • Author(s): Aguilar Silvan, Yesenia
  • et al.

Undocumented Latino workers often work in unsafe and underpaid jobs. There is limited research on this demographic, especially as it relates to the factors that motivate these workers to work under undesirable working conditions. Self-Determination Theory states that relatedness, competence, and autonomy are three intrinsic psychological needs that, when met, will lead to optimal human flourishing. These three needs directly translate to the workplace. A workplace that provides an environment for workers to have a sense of belonging, accomplishment, and self-control, unlocks greater satisfaction, performance, and wellbeing. Moreover, Self- Determination Theory states that intrinsic psychological needs can be challenged by extrinsic rewards and punishments. This raises a question: what motivates undocumented Latino workers to continue working in undesirable working conditions? This study qualitatively examines the potential factors affecting undocumented Latino factory workers’ motivation in the workplace, and this study provides a platform for these workers to share their daily life struggles.

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