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Literature Review of the Process of Motivation

In recent times, motivation has become an exploited and denigrated word, where many of us understand it or want it. It's now become the aim of any industries to improve. However, it is necessary to understand the process of motivation, in order to become motivated and stay motivated and maintain change for own self and others. This will help organization to achieve desire goals.

Motivation can be understood as a complicated teamwork to reinforcing behaviours and psychological analysis surrounding that reinforcement (Adam & Kirkby, 2001). The importance and intricacy of managing human as an asset in organizations have increased rapidly, in the last two decades. Academic research suggests that; through employee attitude and behaviour like HR practices, organizational outcomes directly affected that ultimately drive organizational success (Collins & Smith, 2006).

Human resource practices such as "high commitment" increase organizational performance where employees become deeply connected and equally work harder to achieve organizational objectives (Whitener, E., 2001). They interchange their feeling consequently in their own engagement.

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The history of HR management has advanced when people were persecuted in slave like working environment to modern atmosphere where people are viewed as assets for organization. Some researcher has identified human resource management as aligning people for organizational needs and some considered HRM as a meaning of attaining organizational performance (Beardwell, I., 2004).

2.1 HR strategy in Business

Strategic human resource management mainly concern about employee relationship and organizations, HR policy and to generate high capable, skilled and well-motivated employees to attain competitive advantage (Armstrong, 2001).

According to the (Boxall and Purcell, 2003), HR strategy consists of:

critical goals

whole management structure

unavoidably affects the firm's performance

Communication between divisional and business unit level.

As a principle indicator for facing the global organizational threats.

HRM functions highly related with strategic plan-implement strategic alternatives, employees skill behaviour and attitude. More on, ensure the employees' effectiveness and efficiencies. (De Cieri, 2005).


Motivation is epitomized as a distinct uniqueness, where every human beings is alone all the theories of motivation allow to indicate one way to another. The manager's main job is to done his work through employees. Which proves that, managers should be able to motivate employees? However theories and practices of motivation are difficult on several disciplines.

Through three main models motivation can be categorized from their historical appearance. These are:

The Rational-Economic model- This model indicated that people are initially motivated by his/her own financial and material rewards.

The Social model- Here people were motivated by recognition, sense and interaction at workplace.

The Self-Actualising model- This model holds that human beings have a characteristic need to fulfil their dormant.

(Goleman, D, 1995)

Motivate employee is a process that originates, monitors and maintains target oriented behaviours that concerns the emotional, social, biological and cognitive forces which activate behaviour.

2.3 Theories of Motivation

Many theories and insights illustrate human motivation as a complex area, in terms of human energy and behaviours. Recent thought, about long term, sustained motivation is that managers must inspire their employees from inside rather than rely on pay, such as external factor.

2.3.1 Early theories of Motivation

The master of scientific management F. W. Taylor's (1911) main idea of motivation is pay. According to his theory workers need close supervision because they do not enjoy work naturally; managers should make small tasks of production; Workers need proper training to do work efficiency; workers should pay piece rate base. If above mentioned argument follow properly than workers will work hard and increase productivity. His method has close links with autocratic management style where managers give orders to their sub-ordinates and theory X (McGregor's), where workers are considered as lazy and avoid responsibility.

2.3.2 Content & Process Theories of Motivation

During 1940s, Abram Maslow an American psychologist developed a concept of a hierarchy of human needs. Other behavioural scientist Fredrick Herzberg, Douglas McGregor and Rensis Likert was influenced his idea's. Maslow (1954) defined five levels of factors (Physiological as fundamental; Safety as security, survival; Love as friendship, social activities; Esteem needs, includes respect, strength, status; and Self Actualisation referred as a self fulfilment or self-realization needs), which drive people to perform in workplace.

According to his theories, when a human fulfil or satisfied his lower level of needs, he or she then turned into next or higher level. Although, Maslow's theory may be contemplate as advancement over earlier theories of personality and motivation, where concepts like self-actualization are ambiguous. According to (Mullins, L. 2005), Hygiene factors attributed to outside influences, and the efforts of others around them, employees did not take responsibility for them.

2.3.3 Modern Theories of Motivation

In 1960, American social psychologist Douglas McGregor introduced his foremost X-theory (authoritarian management style) and Y-theory (participative management style), which extract frequently in the field of management and motivation. According to his theory, managers tend towards theory X, which get poor result. Whereas, managers use theory Y, bring out better completion of performance and results.

In current situation, where it is desirable to attain commitment to objectives, it is better to explain and consult with the employees to find out the possible and suitable action of that purpose. Theory-X believes, tight controls and punishment referred as a tough management and strives for harmony at workplace as a soft management. Theory-Y, can be utilize on small area but hard on large number of employees. It effects the management of salaries, promotions and development.

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Herzberg's (1966) mainly focused in organization and working with many people in organization where he conducted two sets of motivation factors.

Company benefit culture, physical working condition, job security, interpersonal and team relationship turned to lower level of motivation.

Advancement, recognition, a sense of achievement, opportunities, responsibility, autonomy, the nature of work tasks was crucial in high-performance motivation.

Herzberg's most controversial conclusion was that the job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction. That is, the opposite of dissatisfaction is not satisfaction but no dissatisfaction; similarly, the opposite of job satisfaction is not dissatisfaction but no job satisfaction.

Despite, this theory is widely accepted but it doesn't address when things are well and bad for people. Another strong assumption of this theory is correlation between productivity and job satisfaction. But this theory didn't address this relationship.

Physical Working Condition






Company Benefits


Extrinsic Needs

Job Security



Interpersonal/team relations






Opportunities for growth



Work/task Nature





Intrinsic Needs










Figure: Relationship between Modern Motivation Theories

Equity theory states that employee always want to compare about how they worked with and what they get in return. The main theme of this theory is judgement of fair treatment. If there is any inconsistency, employee is unsatisfied. When employee outcomes and input is equal to others, than equity is achieved (Adams, 1965). Equity theory is similar to Herzberg's Motivation (Hygiene) theory. Though it's based on judge of fairness but not everyone equally welcomes the concept of fairness (L. Fleming, Eric J. Zgodzinski, 2008).



Rewards(Not Equitable)

Reduction of productivity

Leave Job


Normal Reaction

Rewards(More Equitable)


Figure: Equity Theory

Vroom's (1964), (Valence x Expectancy) theory states that an employee can be motivated better way if there is a belief that prominent performance advance to positive performance appraisal.

According to his theory: (Motivation=Valance x Expectancy)

This theory focuses on such relationships;

Efforts and performance

Performance and reward

Rewards and personal goal.

Through positive reward employee will be highly motivated and negative reward less likely.

2.4 Motivation Process

Actual behavioural manifestation captured through motivational process, which mapped onto goal generation and goal striving. Goal generation process evaluating the probable courses, where planning activities guiding goal accomplishment (Locke & Latham, 1990).

Around 30 years ago, public organization came under pressure to improve productivity (Wright, 2001). To meet corporate objectives and productivity through employee motivation, reward and satisfaction is now being a challenge of any types of organization over recent years.

According to (Board, Deci & Ryan, 2004), the term needs has often used to refer a person's conscious wants and desire on motivation. Industrial needs are often characterized as being intrinsic or extrinsic in nature (Sansone & Harackicwicz, 2000).

Competency Approach (Recruitment & Selection)

Psychological tests and assessment keys that strike promising employees personality, interpersonal style and behaviour to clutch situations have acquired increased attention from both HR professionals and researchers over past few years. In research and practice, the connection between personality factors and selection process has created extreme efforts, conceptual reformulations and realistic applications (Hogan, 2001).

Now, it's no longer being news about red-hot competition for qualified employees. If employers need to compete with their rivals adequately, they must need to evolve better. Recruitment and selection defined more simply to attract applications from right candidates (Foot & Hook, 2007). This process, concerned with analyzing, attracting and choosing suitable person to meet an organizations HR requirements (Beardwell & Claydon, 2007).

The most important area in organization, in motivating employees is recruiting the competent staffs, which can perform to a high standard of achieving competitive advantage. This competency approach ensure a full assessment of candidates' abilities, interests, values and aspirations and a aesthetic review of how well these will peer their organisational culture (Mullins, L 2005).

Backbone of Employee Motivation (Training & Development)

The human resource function is changing with time and the relationship between motivation tool (training) and management activity is also changing. According to Whitener (2003), the role of training & development is to provide additional knowledge, ideas and skills to employees to prepare them perform their respective jobs better. It is a learning process of classified tasks, concentrated on reveal information and instructions to acquisition of knowledge, concepts, sharpening of skills, changing attitudes and behaviours to improve the recipient's performance (Buckley &Caple, 2007).

Every single employee wants to be valuable and retain own-self competitive in labour market, which will lead to employee motivation. We must need to trust them on their activities and need to provide information and guidelines to get the best possible output. Traditionally, HR management shaping up and monitor the attitude of employee's quality and performance in workplace (Howard & Foster, 1999). However, Training & Development now become most important tool to help organization motivating their employees, which lead to achieve professional and personal goals, and increase the level of job satisfaction.

Job Rotation & Team working

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According to (Campion, 2005), human-centered problems might exceed technical problems and the personal cost of investment might gone beyond technical investment. Job rotation is an approach of designing a job which widely used at hierarchical levels in many companies. It is determination and the consequence of effort.

In human resource literature, job rotation is an effective method of skill development and motivation. Understanding new jobs, new environment with new staffs bring many problems where every new problem brings a latest solution which dealing with them to find out the sources of problems in the company. Effective results through Job rotation, enables flexible workforce to deal critical or unexpected situations (Allwood and Lee, 2004).

Team working has a definite vision and it is associated with higher job satisfaction according to job characteristic participative management theories: where a group working closely to achieve desire purpose (Bacon, N & Blyton, 2003).

According to Mackay (2007), team effectiveness determined by a number of factors, such as size of group, members skills and attributes, tasks, availability of resources, recognition, style of leadership, interaction pattern, motivation and reward scheme and group development.

Importance of Expectations (Reward)

The issue of motivation, now-a-days is complicated and difficult and the previous close supervision rules & policies are no longer been part in organization. Both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards policy is now being added in employee motivation level, if managed properly.

Although expected reward value varies between employees. It can be say not motivated, if perceived value is less than expected. This will infringe on employees feeling about job satisfaction, with employees feeling dissatisfied with their award (Mullins, L. 2005). More on, payment received is now being not only the sole motivator.

Assurance of Fair Employment (Health and Safety)

Corporate social responsibility, concern about employee's health and safety, concurrent management, behaviour, risk, shareholders interest and other actions associate with consideration. The procedures and processes for detecting and executing environmental policy termed environmental management (Berry, G 2004).

Health and safety issue of employee's deal with how employees understand company activities. According to (Berry, G, 2004), employee disseminate messages considering corporate behaviour and belief following to the community, and organization wants these messages to be compatible with corporate values (Berry, G 2004).

Employee Engagement & Customer Loyalty

As customer confidence reach higher and higher, organizations are desperately marking for new creative strategies to keep customer away from competition. Organizations with high profile are mainly concentrating on contriving the engagement and commitment level of customer-facing employees. Research has proven a great relation between customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

Employee's engagement in organization and their ability to give sustained facultative aspiration helps organization to succeed. It can be epitomized by how employee think & feel about the organization. According to (Sarah Cook, 2008), employee engagement is about; what organization think about employee rationally, what they feel about them and their emotional connection and what they do and say about their co-employees and customers.

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