Discretionary effort is an under researched concept, with little coverage in management literature. It is, however, increasingly an area where competitive advantage resides in organisations. In our dealings with large corporations, a number of senior executives expressed a desire to know and understand more about the driving factors behind discretionary effort.
Through a variety of research methods in a number of large corporations, we generated data on the concept which we then enabled us to answer the following questions:
How might we usefully define discretionary effort?
What are the driving factors behind employees providing discretionary effort?
What are the limiting factors on the provision of discretionary effort?
We also created a model and analytical tools relating to discretionary effort, that can be used to determine/quantify/assess the willingness of employees to provide discretionary effort in an organisation, across a set of relevant variables, and to analyse that information in order to increase discretionary effort provided by employees.
We are indebted to all those individuals and organisations that have helped us along the way. Whether that was through inspiring conversation or discussions, or more formally with the quantitative and qualitative discretionary effort research.
They include Barclays, Bruntwood, BSkyB, Cafcass, Ceridian, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Department for Work & Pensions, DX Group, ESurv, Genzyme, GSK, HBOS, IBM, Intercontinental Hotel Group, jetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, JW Lees, Kraft, Lego, Lloyds TSB, LV=, Merton Priory Homes, Microsoft, O2, Ossur, Pepsico, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, RBS, Remploy, Sage, Sainsburys, Southgate College, Tesco, Univar, Virgin Media, Visa International, Volvo, West Kent Housing Association, Youth Sport Trust and UK Power Networks.