School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Chris Bellamy


Herzberg’s Motivation-hygiene Theory, Higher Education, Instructional Designers, Job Dissatisfaction, Job Satisfaction, Motivation, Organizational Behavior


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Higher Education


Online education has become a significant part of the strategic growth and health of institutions of higher education (HEIs) today. Instructional designers support the strategic mission of the HEI, and while research to date has looked extensively at the role of the instructional designer in higher education, no research has looked at the experience of the instructional designer focusing specifically on the feelings and intersection of job satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and motivation. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study is to understand the experiences related to job satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and motivation for instructional designers working in online higher education. The theoretical framework for this study is Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory. The central research question is what experiences do instructional designers in online higher education associate with feelings of job satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and motivation? Participants were instructional designers working in online higher education, and data collection included interviews and screen-captured videos of instructional resources created by instructional designers. Data analysis followed the recommended format outlined for transcendental phenomenology. Findings indicated that job satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and motivation were related to their work, the relationships they developed, the institutional context, and their individual values and motivation. Although instructional designers generally expressed motivation to do quality work regardless of levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, they also expressed greater levels of organizational engagement with greater job satisfaction. This area would benefit from further research in the role and satisfaction of instructional designers considering current events related to the transition to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as specific research in job satisfaction related to the organizational structure of the instructional design team.