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Employees' motivation

Literature Review

Employees' motivation is "The heart of giving the people what they really want most from work" (Dell, 1988, pp. 9-10). The more you are able to provide what they want, the more you should expect what you really want, namely: productivity, quality, and service. Jones and George (2010, p. 17) argue that employees' motivation consist "the psychological forces that determine the direction of a person's behaviour in an organisation, a person's level of effort, and a person's level of persistence." The behavioural direction of a person is described as "the many possible behaviours that a person could engage in." Effort indicates how hard people work. Persistence on the other hand refers to whether, when dealing with roadblocks and obstacles, employees keep trying or give up. When employees follow an effective and efficient direction, contribute in high levels of effort and are persistent, then high motivation occurs.

Maslow (1943, pp.370-396) sets money at the lowest hierarchy level and shows that other needs work as better motivators to staff. Herzberg (1959) based on Maslow's' pyramid supports that money tends to have a motivating effect on employees that lasts only a short period of time (two-factor model of motivation). McGregor (2002, p.32) places money in his Theory X category and feels it is a poor motivator. Praise and recognition are placed in the Theory Y category and are considered stronger motivators than money.

If money is the only reward that someone receives by doing his job right, this undoubtedly will have a negative reflect on the organisation. The employee will react each time by thinking of his pocket and ignore about the operations goals and the promotion of them. The rewards must have the form of influencing the employee to feel better concerning his/her achievements inside the company and from this success to feel as a part of this business and not as "just a worker" who simply gets paid for his/her services (Rollinson, 2004, pp. 182-187). Opportunities for job development, skills improvement, and job commitment are excellent examples of making an employee stop thinking of himself as just an employee and motivate him/her to start feeling as a real member of the company that he belongs too and perform better (Armstrong and Baron, 2004, pp. 17-22)

Several theories and definitions about the employees' motivation exist, but all of them have a common principal: Managers must determine the needs of their employees within an organisation in order to make them happy when they work and by that to motivate them perform at high levels and more efficiently for the goals achievement of the organisation.

Employees' contribution plays a vital role in the positive consequence and the progress of all the phases of an organisation. Either way, the relationship between the employees' performance and the company's outcome is of central significance (Ioannidis, (2003, pp. 12-27). Employees that lack of any significant motivation to perform well in their job and their job satisfaction is deprived are slowing down any kind of outcome that the company produces (Ioannidis, 2007, pp. 49-54). For that reason, the ways in which employees' motivation can be improved, is a matter of great significance.

Description of the Company and Aims of the Study

The company that we are going to use in our survey (as mentioned before) is a transport company and the number of people that we are going to use is forty-four (forty employees and four managers). The employees and the managers will come from different departments. Ten employees will correspond to one manager coming respectively from the departments of transportation booking, packaging, delivering and product-transportation. The survey will take place in Greece. It is obvious that a non random technique will be used to select the managers of our company. On the other hand, the employees' collection will be random from the number of people working in each department. In this way and with methods that we are going to mention later, we will examine the ways that our company and its managers accomplish to improve their employees' motivation.

Two are the main purposes of this investigation.

  1. To understand deeply the ways that employees' motivation can be accomplished, and
  2. To examine those ways and methods that the managers of the company use to increase their employees' motivation and by that their performance.

The nature of the Research

The main thesis of this survey will be focused on the examination of the knowledge and practices of the managers inside the company in terms of how they deal with their employees behaviour and performance and the variety of ways they use to motivate them in order to make them perform better. Two threads of research will be examined: 1) ways of motivating the employees (a number of ways of approaching individuals with different character and different behaviour in order to make them work more efficiently), and 2) the impacts of these different approaches in the success of the company's goals (improvement of the company's performance in total and the contribution of the better performance of the employees to the success of the company's targets).

Research Questions and Research Objectives

The next step of our survey will be the formulation of the research objectives. The research objectives according to the above will be the following:

When ending with the objectives, we will be in a position to address the following four questions:

  1. How many and which are the ways for employees motivation?
  2. Which are the different approaches that can be used -depending on the occasion- in order to achieve the desirable outcome?
  3. What kind of experience and training skills, managers should have in order to use the appropriate methods each time to motivate their employees?
  4. Which are the different approaches that occur between the experienced and non-experienced managers as for the motivate practices they use when they try to motivate the staff?
Methodology Used and Philosophy of the Research Design

Sampling Technique and Research Design

In this survey, we will use primary data and secondary data. Primary research will be conducted as following:

At the outset, we will select the managers that will participate in our survey using a non random selection technique. Our sample selection will have its bases on the position of the manager's as well as on their experience and educational background. An inductive approach will be used for the collection of our data (quantitative methodology). Based on a well-structured questionnaire called "Motivation Based Questionnaire", we will clarify and deduce managers' purposes and behaviours towards what we call 'motivation'. A personal approach of managers by interviewing them will be used to provide qualitative insights (qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs). This inductive approach will help us understand managers' account of the different perspectives and approaches for motivating people inside a company.

The secondary data will be based on the study of the recent literature, journals and other similar surveys that other researchers have done so far on this section.

Applied Use of Data

Graphs, charts and some statistics programs like Open Stat and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) will be used to analyze and evaluate all the data collected. Also some econometrical programs like the e-views program will assist the analysis of my study.

The use of SPSS will provide the ability to summarize data (e.g., compute means and standard deviations), determine whether there are significant differences between groups (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA), examine relationships among variables (e.g., correlation, multiple regression), and graph results (e.g., bar charts, line graphs) (Kirkpatrick and Feeney, 2003, p.11). The e-views program will supplement and complete my research in a more essential and practical way.

A pilot survey will be used to format our research design.

The thesis will assess the knowledge and the methods used for motivating different level of employees among different companies and by experienced and non-experienced managers. Table one consists a representation of how the research questions address to the aims of the study.

In support of table 1, table 2 two consist a total representation of our research plan connecting the above two with the Conceptual Content, data collection and the Practical Use of the Data.

Ethical Issues

There are issues of accountability and validity that must be considered as highly important when a research is been realized and developed on a scientific area. The researcher must be very careful when the enquiry is carried out and respect and follow some rules that we will analyse below.

Ethical issues constitute a wide agenda of concerning this research, mainly in terms associated to practice. According to Moshovitis (2001, pp. 37-44), the most considerable ethical issues in a research are the following:

  1. High level of respect of the autonomy of the participants and their involvement;
  2. Inform the participants about the beneficial nature of the research (considering their participation)
  3. Impairment avoidance
  4. Confidentiality of people participating in the survey
  5. Justice. Right choice of the sample
  6. Equal treatment of the participants

According to Saunders at all (2006, p.178), in management research the domain significances are deontology and teleology. The deontological view argues that "the ends served by the research can never justify the use of research which is unethical". On the other hand, teleological view argues that "the ends served by your research justify the means"

The anonymity of the participants must be respected. In order for this to be achieved, the researcher must replace with pseudonyms the names, the addresses, the dates of birth, the companies' names etc. The agreement of the participants as well as the capability of knowing their rights or the informing of them by the researcher, constitutes an absolute need too. Detachment and accuracy must finally be noticed when the procedure of the collection of the data is in process ( Pervez and Gronhaug, 2002, pp. 180-184).

The collection of the data must be fulfilled properly. We must search in every possible direction treating our sample and the information that we are going to collect with much respect justifying our research ability. Also the approaches to the participants must be very formal independently of our personal connection or not with them(Papaioannou, 2002, pp 132-133).

Contribution of this Survey

The results of this survey will demonstrate improvements of significant importance on the ways used for the employees' motivation. Additionally, the research will indicate that sometimes the personal relationships that are created between the managers and the employees overcome every other effort to motivate the staff (i.e. better salary, job development, threatening the job security etc). Eventually we will realize that time is the best ally that can motivate all the employees to work harder.

On the other hand, we will realize that when the managers are promoting an encouraging and supporting attitude towards their employees, they create a suitable frame that provides the opportunity to their employees to experience success. It also stimulates a positive attitude towards the working process encouraging additional efforts to the staff.

An adding value issue of our research is that sometimes intensive ways of motivational techniques -even sometimes negatives approaches like threatening the job security of an employee-, may be required. Managers in the absence of a proper educational background and experience could be the ones who often use mistakely these out of concern behavioural approaches. These methods-approaches may be sometimes over-mechanistic and fail to foster employees' development and working motivation. The good results -in terms of motivation approaches- will be that by practicing in a variety of ways, managers and employees will be more fulfilled. Those are the key-characteristics that validate the procedure of building knowledge and getting better to any kind of approach (in our case the motivational approach).

Thus, this survey's purpose will not only be the effort to highlight the ways in which the employees' motivation in a private sector can be improved, but also it will provide a deeper analysis on the following aspects: First, it will be will show the necessity of the managers to be trained on issues concerning different motivating approaches, making suggestions as well for ways that these approaches can be accomplished. Moreover, it will be shown that managers with a master level and a relative experience have better knowledge and hold a wider variety of methods in motivating their staff, related to those who don't. Finally, the data that will be gathered in this servey, will provide an important analysis for academic purposes, as well as for every company that is interested to investigate ways of improving the employees motivation.

Limitations of the Research Approach

The most significant problem that we are dealing with here is the geographical cover. Although Greece is not a very large country, the capability of visiting all those cities is factor of great concern. The amount of time needed to be spent in order to visit these cities and to fulfill our research on time is another issue that should be considered. Also the amount of money for hotels, car rental, gas, food and any other expenses that we have to spend while we are carrying out our survey constitutes a very important factor as well.

Considering the companies indoors -factors, the availability of the managers and their wiliness to speak to us should be a matter of great significance and concern to us. The validity and the accountability, as well as the truthiness of their opinions and answers consist another issue that we should be concerned of


Finally, the tiny possibility of false or untrue data given by mistake by the managers or the loss of a small number of them during the hall procedure completes the possible limitations of our research.

Organisation of our Thesis

The research that we are going to realise - with the title " An experimental approach of different perspectives on Employees motivation in Transport Companies"- is going to be separated in four chapters. In the first chapter we are going to make an introduction about transport companies, highlighting their significant effort and contribution to the global trade and stressing the importance of this hall procedure (by the request of the customer for the transportation of the goods through its final delivery) to be fulfilled properly. This way we will show the vital role of managers on motivating their staff and making them understand the significance of their contribution of services. The main goals and the research questions, as well as the limitations of our survey will be included in the second chapter. The methodology of our research will be the main topic of the third chapter. There, with as many details as we can, will try to help the reader to understand the hall process of our research, from the ways of collecting the data (questionnaires, interviews etc) and the principals used in order to create our sample to the methods that we are going to use to analyse them (mathematical formulas, statistical and econometrical models and all the necessary graphs). We will also refer to the ethical issues of the survey and the ways of approaching the participants and the interviewees, always formally and with respect, keeping equal distances and protect their anonymity. All the analysis of every move that we are going to make is going to be followed by a time schedule for each one of them. Finally, in the last chapter we will include the findings and the contribution expectations of our research (based on the expected outcome this time), stressing again why our survey is so important and how it will help on the development of management science.


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