Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

David Szabla, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Margaret Gorman, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Josh B. Jordan, Ph.D.


Discretionary effort, disposition, grounded theory, manufacturing, motivation, theory of practice


Managers are often tasked to accomplish more with the resources at their disposal. Doing more with less is especially associated with the manufacturing industry providing a rich and relevant backdrop for study. Understanding discretionary effort as a resource, how it manifests, and when and how manufacturing employees choose to do more than is required is key to achieving results in an increasingly competitive and evolving industry. This constructive grounded research study investigated how 25 non-salaried manufacturing employees conceptualized how and why they chose to engage in activities that were considered above and beyond job role expectations. Extant literature was considered to provide a deeper analysis of the elements identified from the participants’ conversations. The influence of non-work relationships and social interactions in the workplace on employees were considered and four classifications of social capital in the workplace were introduced: seniority, hierarchical, valued/needed, and cynical. A novel theoretical model was developed to gain a richer understanding and appreciation of how hourly manufacturing employees conceptualized expending discretionary effort in the workplace. Limitations and implications for practice and research were discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access