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Motivation Essay, Research Paper

What factors should an organisation consider in attempting to motivate people at work?

An organisation consists of many groups of individuals without whom it cannot survive. Two of the most important groups are the managers and the workers. It is the duty of the manager to plan, organise and coordinate the tasks of the workers. The organisation expects all the groups participating to give their best in making the organisation a success. Motivation is the term used ion management theory to describe forces within the individual that account for the level, direction and persistence of effort expended at work. Simply put a highly motivated person works hard at a job, an unmotivated person does not. A manager who leads through motivation does so by creating conditions under which other people feel inspired to work hard. A highly motivated work force is indispensable if high performance outcomes are to be achieved consistently in organisations. People s behaviour is determined by what motivates them. Their performance is a product of both ability level and motivation. A reward is a work outcome of positive value to the individual. People who are successful in attaining the goals and objectives of the organisation are in turn rewarded. Extrinsic rewards are externally administered. They are valued outcomes given to some one by another person such as a supervisor or a high level manager. Common examples of extrinsic rewards include pay bonuses, fringe benefits, security and time off. Intrinsic rewards are self-administered. They occur naturally as a person performs a task. The major sources of intrinsic rewards are the feeling of competency, personal development, and self-control people experience in their work. In contrast to extrinsic rewards the motivational stimulus of intrinsic rewards is internal and does not depend on the actions of some other person. Needs are the unfulfilled physiological or psychological desires of an individual. There are many ways to creatively link rewards and performance in the work place. The managers must clearly understand what people want from the work (needs of people) and allocate rewards to satisfy the interest of both individual and the organisation. Among the insight into this complex process that are available, the content theories of motivation help us to understand human needs and how people with different needs may respond to different situations. The process theories of motivation give additional insight into how people give meanings to rewards and then respond to various work related behaviour.

Content Theories

Content theories of motivation use individual needs to explain the behaviour and attitudes of people at work. Major content theories of motivation include Maslow s hierarchy of needs theory, Alderfer s ERG theory, Herzberg s two-factor theory and McClelland s achievement motivation theory. Maslow s basic proposition is that people are wanting beings, they always want more, and what they want depends on what they already have. He suggests that people s needs are arranged in a series of levels, a hierarchy of importance. The hierarchy ranges through five levels, at the lowest, physiological needs such as rest and refreshment break, physical comfort on the job and reasonable work hours. Next come safety needs, which include safe working conditions and job security. One step higher than safety needs are social needs such as friendly co-workers, interaction with customers and pleasant supervisor. Higher order needs are esteem needs and self-actualisation needs. Esteem needs include such things as responsibility of an important job, promotion to higher status job, praise and recognition from the boss while self-actualisation needs include creative and challenging work, participation in decision making, job flexibility and autonomy. Maslow s theory advises managers to recognise that deprived needs may negatively influence attitudes and behaviour.

Alderfer s ERG theory builds on Maslow s work. His theory collapses Maslow s five needs categories into three. Existence needs are desires for physiological and material well being. Relatedness needs are desires for satisfying interpersonal relationships. Growth needs are desires for continued psychological growth and development. This theory differs from Maslow s theory in that it does not assume that lower level needs must be satisfied before higher level needs become activated. According to ERG theory, any of these three types of needs can influence individual behaviour at a given time.

Herzberg s motivation theory consists of two main factors. One set of factors are those which, if absent, cause dissatisfaction. These factors are related to job context, they are concerned with job environment and extrinsic to the job itself. These factors are called hygiene factors. The other set of factors are those, if present, serve to motivate the individual to superior effort and performance. These factors are related to the job content of the work itself. These are called success factors. Proper attention to the hygiene factors will tend to prevent dissatisfaction, but does not by itself create a positive attitude or motivation to work. It brings motivation up to a zero state. To motivate workers the manager must give proper attention to the success factors. The work of Herzberg suggests it is highly possible that good performance lead to job satisfaction rather than the reverse. The two factor theory cautions managers not to expect too much by way of motivational improvement from investment in such things as special office furniture or high base salaries. Instead, it focuses on the nature of the job itself and directs attention towards such things as responsibility and opportunity for personal growth and development.

David McClelland identifies three needs that are central to his approach to motivation. Need for achievement is the desire to do something better or more efficiently, to solve problems, or to master complex tasks. Need for power is the desire to control other people, to influence their behaviour, or to be responsible for them. Need for Affliction is the desire to establish and maintain friendly relationship with other people. According to McClelland people acquire or develop these needs over time as a result of individual life experience. Managers are encouraged to recognise the strengths of each need in them selves and in other people. Attempts can then be made to create work environments responsive to them.

Process Theories

Process theories can help managers understand individuals better and deal positively with work force diversity. Process theories include equity, expectancy, and goal setting theories. Each of these theories offer advice and insight on how people actually make choices to work hard or not, based on their individual preferences, the available rewards and possible work outcomes.

The equity theory suggests that when people believe that they have been inequitably treated in comparison to others, they will try to eliminate the discomfort and restore sense of equity to the situation. Inequities occur whenever people feel that the rewards received from their work are unfair given the rewards other people appear to be getting. The comparison points may be co-workers in the group, workers else where in the organisation, and even people employed in other organisations. People who feel under paid and perceive negative inequality, tend to reduce their work efforts to compensate for the missing rewards. They are less motivated to work hard in the future. People who feel overpaid and perceive positive inequity by contrast have been found to increase the quantity and quality of work. It is every manager s responsibility to ensure that any negative consequences of equity comparison are avoided, or at least minimised, when rewards are allocated

According to Victor Vroom s expectancy theory, people are motivated to work if they expect increased effort to lead to reward and value the rewards resulting from their efforts. He suggests that the motivation to work depends on the relationship between three factors, expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. Expectancy is a person s belief that working hard will result in high task performance. Instrumentality is a person s belief that various outcomes will occur as a result of task performance. Valence is the value a person assigns to work related outcomes. Suppose that Bill s boss says, If you are able to complete the maintenance work by Saturday, Bill, I ll recommend you for promotion to supervisor. I realise that it will mean you putting in some overtime, but think about it, and let me know your answer. There are two important factors involved; the value Bill places on being promoted to supervisor and Bill s expectancy that he will be able to realistically complete the work by Saturday. The answer to these questions explain Bill s decision whether to exert the necessary effort to complete the work by Saturday. 1

Goal Setting Theory s basic premise is that task goals can be highly motivating if they are properly set and if they are well managed. Goals give direction to people in their work; Goals clarify the performance expectations between a supervisor and sub-ordinates, between co-workers, and across subunits in the organisation. Goals establish a frame of reference for task feedback. They provide a foundation for behavioural self-management. In these ways goal setting can enhance individual work performance and job satisfaction. To achieve these benefits managers must work with others to set the right goals in the right ways. Positive impact is most likely to occur when the participation allows for increased understanding of specific and difficult goals and provides for greater acceptance and commitment to them.

Employees at all levels in more and more organisations benefit from special incentive compensation system of many forms. Examples include bonus pay plans, profit sharing plans, gain-sharing plans, and employee stock ownership plan.

Bonus pay plans provide one time or lump sum payments to employees based on the accomplishment of specific performance targets or some other extraordinary contribution, such as an idea for work improvement. They typically do not increase base salary or wages. Bonuses have been common at the executive level, but they are now being used more extensively. Profit sharing plans distribute to some or all employees a proportion of net profits earned by the organisation during a stated performance period. A gain sharing plan extend the profit sharing concept by allowing groups of employees to share in any savings or gains realised through their effort to reduce costs and increase productivity. Employee stock ownership plans involve employees in ownership through the purchase of stock in companies that employ them.


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