Does the iWAM
Have Any Value?
When most people are presented with the opportunity to complete the Inventory for Work Attitude and Motivation, they ask: "What is the iWAM?". Once they hear the answer, the next question often is:"What value does the iWAM have?"
Those of us who use it regularly understand both what it measures (it is not a "personality" test, whatever that is) and its value in understanding the contribution of motivaiton and attitude to performance.
A University Course Uses the iWAM
In 2006, Saint Louis University's School for Professional Studies designed an upper-level course in motivation for its curriculum. The course designer, Dr. Matthew Grawitch, who is a certified iWAM Professional, decided to incorporate the iWAM assessment into the course. It has been an integral part of the course since then.
The students in the School for Professional Studies are all adult learners, the vast majority of whom work full-time. Several have families and most are taking more than one course per term.
Teaching the Course
Six or so years ago I agreed to teach the course one term. Since I use the iWAM on a regular basis, the week dedicated to motivation and attitude, based on the iWAM, was pretty easy to do.
Then came the online version. Doing a group iWAM feedback in a "live" classroom is one thing. Doing it online is quite another. To make it happen, we (a) provide all students with a copy of their iWAM report, (b) provide a copy of the iWAM Resource Guide, (c) produce an anonymous team report and send each student her or his "code name", and (d) record an interpretation of all the scales.
The exercises tied to this module are designed to help the students connect their iWAM results to their work and personal lives and to lay part of the foundation for their final personal improvement project.
Unsolicited Feedback on the iWAM
At the end of the course, we receive unsolicited feedback.. During the last week of class, students are assigned three online discussion questions for which to post answers: The second of these questions is:
What was the most significant insight you had
because of this learning experience?
Here are the students' unsolicited responses to that question (in some cases, unrelated content was removed from the discussion post, none of which related to the iWAM):
“The most insightful learning experience, by far, is taking the iWAM survey and learning my true motivational factors and what I need to improve upon. Also, using some of the iWAM results and applying the patterns is helpful to determine how to focus on the more important low-scoring motivators. A couple of the more surprising iWAM results will take time for me to incorporate in my new position. Since I am in a position to directly influence others through what I have learned, I’m encouraged to use what I’ve learned and to observe/study the outcomes.”
“As suggested by the performance model, knowledge of one’s MAPs likely contributes the most to the overall model, and in turn, motivated behavior. Considering MAPs are a mainly subconscious component of motivated behavior, discovering my personal motivational preferences armed me with insight I previously lacked. In that regard, my future endeavors, whether personal or work related, will likely realize better results if I work with my motivational preferences. I intend to immediately put this newfound knowledge to use moving forward with my academic pursuits.”
“I would have to say the IWAM has given me the most insight. I have done Myers-Briggs and other personality tests, but this showed me some things about how I operate that I never paid attention to. It gave me an understanding about what I want to do vs. what I do.”
“The iWAM! Those results were remarkably accurate. I always wondered why I start looking for a new job after being employed at a place for 3 years. At least the iWAM provided an explanation for that, I thought I was just fickle!”
“The most significant part of this class for me was absolutely the iWAM test (and a big thank you for allowing us all to peek into that part of ourselves). Some of it was hard to see, hear and reflect upon, but you can never be better by staying exactly the same, so I tried to be open about my flaws. As I mentioned before, I was stunned about my lack of motivation in areas of my life, but when I really thought about it - it is true of me and I need to learn tools to help me in continuing to improve on sustaining patience and priority for my own goals, dreams and wishes.”
“Taking the iWAM and reviewing the relative distance variances within our results really opened my eyes. The “means” to the end are like a fingerprint. Not one person has the same motivation drivers.”
“iWAM assessment showed me the importance of the actions which I choose to take. This made me think about how I can improve my wellbeing throughout my daily life at work, internships, and personal home life.”
“The iWAM brought a new perspective as to my attitude toward work-life. The assessment can also be transferred to my personal life. It has made me ponder on the highs and lows of the attributes shared.”
“Nearing graduation in leadership studies, I feel like I have taken many, many, "self-assessment" type questionnaires and tests. The iWAM really brought a different view of what I thought about myself and why I am or am not motivated in certain situations.”
“I plan to change more of my behavior towards my family, especially my kids. With the iWAM results, I know that what motivates me, does not motivate others. I spend way too much time spinning my wheels trying to persuade others under my own motivators, instead of flexing to what motivation is to them.”
“I never realized just how much I allow people to dictate what I do. What I mean by that is how I allow my personal interaction with people to dictate how motivated I am to do what's expected of me. My iWAM results also put a lot of my behaviors into perspective. I find it interesting that I am a extrovert, however, I prefer to work alone.” [Note: A response to the student explained how the two factors may not be in conflict.]
“From my iWAM and reflection I learned a great bit about what motivates me and it was quite shocking at times.”
[Response to another student’s post] “We have the same time line (Job Clock). When it starts approaching the three-year mark, I start itching for something new. I was often disappointed in myself for not wanting to stick it out in a job. When I was younger I would switch jobs every year, so I'm glad that my orientation for change has changed somewhat as my life situation will not allow that kind of "job hopping" now that I have to care for a family. Like you said, it's good to know what's behind it.”
[Response to another post] “Like you, (I believe) the iWAM is one of the most significant learning tools in this class. It provides better detail of how to improve yourself vs. the personality test . . . Using the iWAM and discussing it with others will hopefully help others to improve upon themselves. I also shared the iWAM results with my husband and he chuckled at some of them because some motivators were right on target.”