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HRM / OB Case Study

Case Title: Unfolding New Motivation Lessons?

Publication Month and Year :  June 2009

Authors:  Deepti Srikanth & Vara Vasanthi

Industry:  Not Applicable

Region: US

Case Code:  OB0016

Teaching Note:  Available

Structured Assignment:  Available


This case study is meant for discussing the concept of motivation in the Organisational Behaviour course. It was written to raise an interesting discussion over how companies are benefitted by non-employees or volunteer employees. What motivates volunteer employees to expend their resources on a company that they are not working for? What are the intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors for all such volunteer employees? How should companies benefit from volunteer employees? The case study attempts to answer all these questions through (ThisNext).

Founded in 2006, by Gordon Gould (Gould) and Craig Ogg (Ogg), ThisNext emerged as a social shopping website. In an already crowded social shopping market, ThisNext strives to differentiate itself using its product recommendations. Scripted by bloggers and Internet users, these product recommendations help the online shoppers in making their purchase decisions. The website also helps the virtual shoppers in discovering new product offerings, which were otherwise hard-to-find. The company has benefitted from this army of volunteer workers, who receive praise and recognition in lieu of their efforts. However, in the wake of the economic downturn, the company finds itself in an ambiguous position. Will workers continue to invest in building their personal brand names during economically challenging times? Can ThisNext stay ahead of competition solely on the basis of its unique product recommendations?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To explore and analyse the factors that have contributed to ThisNext's success
  • To understand the factors responsible for motivating volunteer workers and to assess why volunteers are willing to be associated with ThisNext
  • To analyse the challenges of relying on volunteer workers.

Keywords :  Motivation, Abraham Maslow, Maslow’s Hierarchy, Employee Motivation, Primary, General and Secondary Motives, Content and Process Theories of Motivation, Motivating Employees, ThisNext, Motivational Factors, Motivation Theories, Motivational Theories, Organizational Behavior, OB, Organizational Behavior case study, Motivation Case Study, MBA, MBA Program, Course Mapping


  • The Social Shopping Website
  • ThisNext's Business Model
  • Value Proposition for ThisNext's Recommenders
  •'s Future Challenges: Can it Rely on its Volunteer Workers?

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