How People Work

Financial Times
Roderic Gray  
Total pages
December 2004
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A field-guide to understanding "what makes people tick", How People Work offers a unique insight into the drivers of workplace behaviour and performance. Managers will find people-management easier after reading it, and people will find excellence easier to achieve after implementing it.


  • "72% of middle managers are looking for a greater sense of meaning in their working lives" (Management Today, 2004).
  • What motivates employees and managers is changing, and managers will have to get better at motivating rather than instructing.
  • A uniquely illuminating and accessible synthesis of the science of human behaviour - translated and applied for the modern business.
  • Bridges the gap between academic theory and management practice, and between the disciplines of psychology, sociology and business.
  • A solid and practical guide with a long shelf life.

Table of Contents



Part 1. I Know What I'm Expected To Do

Roles and players
Goals and objectives

Part 2. I Want To Do It


Part 3. I Have The Ability To Do It


Part 4. Someone

(who matters to me) Will Notice If I Do It

Relationships and Feedback
Power, Influence and Trust

Part 5. I  Know How Well I'm Doing It


Part 6. Processes Help Me To Do It

Managing Processes
Working in Teams
Making Decisions

Part 7. I Have The Resources To Do It

Managing Resources

Part 8. The Environment Is Right

Organisational Culture
Organisational Climate
The Psychological Contract
Workplace Stress

Part 9. I Can Do It Better Next Time

Developing People
The learning organisation
Organisational change

Putting It Together


Back Cover

"In the world of work, we now witness the development of the autonomous and reflective individual. It is an individual that has a full set of needs, internal and external to the organisation.  Power is diffused and shared. In contrast with outdated management theory, where structures and systems are derived from a pre-defined strategy, the new workplace will seek to balance what matters for the company (its strategy) and what matters for the individuals (their life strategies).


The author brings a fresh and readily digestible approach to this world.  His overall premise is that people can and do deliver their best when the organizational setting provides an appropriate environment to support effective behaviours.  This book will be of value to managers to help them understand and secure the best from their people, to individuals for their own personal development, and to a broad spectrum of business and management students


For the first time, we now have a book about the 'resourceful human;' and not just another book on human resources!"


Peter Woolliams, PhD, Clifford Thames Professor of International Business, Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Polytechnic University


"An excellent book that is easy to read, clearly and simply bringing together models, examples and practical considerations into discussions about people and organizations and in particular showing the inherent complexity involved in ensuring an organization and its people can function effectively. Every individual in every organization should stop and ask themselves the questions posed in this book"

Julie Clapham, HR Director, Consumer Ventures & Enterprises, British Telecom


What motivates people to behave a certain way in the workplace?  What helps them to perform and improve?    In any business, the performance of people counts, and so it pays to really know what makes people tick?

An insightful companion to the art of understanding and motivating people, How People Work explores the science of human behaviour and translates the key lessons into tools for thoughtful and effective management.  Simply put, it will help you to create the conditions in which your people can thrive and perform.

How People Workexplores workplace performances from the perspectives of nine key checkpoints for personal motivation and achievement:

  • I Know What I'm Expected To Do
  • I Want To Do It
  • I Have The Ability To Do It
  • Someone (who matters to me) Will Notice If I Do It
  • I Know How Well I'm Doing It
  • Processes Help Me To Do It
  • I Have The Resources To Do It
  • The Environment Is Right
  • I Can Do It Better Next Time

This book will help you to close the gap between what people want and what you want people to do.   Managers will find people management easier after reading it, and people will find excellence easier to achieve after implementing it.


Roderic Gray is a consultant, writer and management coach. He has published a number of articles on organisational climate, and on project management and product development topics. His career involved a variety of practical, hands-on management roles before becoming an internal consultant in a major blue-chip company and running his own consulting practice. He has lectured on a range of postgraduate management and HR professional courses and currently supervises a number of doctoral researchers in several countries.