Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Edgar A. Kelley

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Mary Wilks


The issue of motivators has been studied by a number of researchers and practitioners in education, sociology, and psychology. Many of these studies have linked motivators to behavior (Coffey, 1987; Coleman, 1987; Gellerman, 1963; Gould & Sigall, 1977). Questions remain, however, as to which motivators are viewed by actors themselves as the most preferred influencers of behavior. The primary objective of the research was to compare the rank order of the most frequently cited motivators identified in research studies and the rank order of the most preferred motivators as perceived by previously incarcerated criminal respondents. A secondary objective was to determine which motivators were considered most preferred motivators by those same respondents. The frequently cited motivators were extrapolated from the literature, then ranked by frequency of citation. A survey instrument to rank these motivators for individual respondents was designed based on the list of extrapolated motivators. Data were collected from 60 people who were previously incarcerated criminals. Subjects, adult volunteer clients enrolled with Project Start, a corrections agency in Detroit, Michigan, were tested and retested after a 2-week period in an effort to determine the rank order of their perceived most preferred motivators. A statistical comparison was made among the study measures. The comparison failed to indicate a correlation between the rank order of the frequently cited motivators in the literature and the rank order of perceived preferred motivators for previously incarcerated criminals. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are included.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access