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Contribution Of Robert Owen In The 19th Century Commerce Essay

Though Owen is considered to be paternalistic in his view, his contribution is of a considerable significance in the theories of Motivation. During the early years of the nineteenth century, Owen’s textile mill at New Lanark in Scotland was the scene of some novel ways of treating people. His view was that people were similar to machines. A machine that is looked after properly, cared for and maintained well, performs efficiently, reliably and lastingly, similarly people are likely to be more efficient if they are taken care of. Robert Owen practiced what he preached and introduced such things as employee housing and company shop. His ideas on this and other matters were considered to be too revolutionary for that time.

2) Jeremy Bentham’s “The Carrot and the Stick Approach” :

Possibly the essence of the traditional view of people at work can be best appreciated by a brief look at the work of this English philosopher, whose ideas were also developed in the early years of the Industrial Revolution, around 1800. Bentham’s view was that all people are self-interested and are motivated by the desire to avoid pain and find pleasure. Any worker will work only if the reward is big enough, or the punishment sufficiently unpleasant. This view - the ‘carrot and stick’ approach - was built into the philosophies of the age and is still to be found, especially in the older, more traditional sectors of industry.

The various leading theories of motivation and motivators seldom make reference to the carrot and the stick. This metaphor relates, of course, to the use of rewards and penalties in order to induce desired behavior. It comes from the old story that to make a donkey move, one must put a carrot in front of him or dab him with a stick from behind. Despite all the research on the theories of motivation, reward and punishment are still considered strong motivators. For centuries, however, they were too often thought of as the only forces that could motivate people.

At the same time, in all theories of motivation, the inducements of some kind of ‘carrot’ are recognized. Often this is money in the form of pay or bonuses. Even though money is not the only motivating force, it has been and will continue to be an important one. The trouble with the money ‘carrot’ approach is that too often everyone gets a carrot, regardless of performance through such practices as salary increase and promotion by seniority, automatic ‘merit’ increases, and executive bonuses not based on individual manager performance. It is as simple as this : If a person put a donkey in a pen full of carrots and then stood outside with a carrot, would the donkey be encouraged to come out of the pen ?

The ‘stick’, in the form of fear–fear of loss of job, loss of income, reduction of bonus, demotion, or some other penalty–has been and continues to be a strong motivator. Yet it is admittedly not the best kind. It often gives rise to defensive or retaliatory behavior, such as union organization, poor-quality work, executive indifference, failure of a manager to take any risks in decision making or even dishonesty. But fear of penalty cannot be overlooked. Whether managers are first-level supervisors or chief executives, the power of their position to give or with hold rewards or impose penalties of various kinds gives them an ability to control, to a very great extent, the economic and social well-being of their subordinates.

3) Abraham Maslow’s “Need Hierarchy Theory” :

One of the most widely mentioned theories of motivation is the hierarchy of needs theory put forth by psychologist Abraham Maslow. Maslow saw human needs in the form of a hierarchy, ascending from the lowest to the highest, and he concluded that when one set of needs is satisfied, this kind of need ceases to be a motivator.

As per his theory this needs are :

(i) Physiological needs :

These are important needs for sustaining the human life. Food, water, warmth, shelter, sleep, medicine and education are the basic physiological needs which fall in the primary list of need satisfaction. Maslow was of an opinion that until these needs were satisfied to a degree to maintain life, no other motivating factors can work.

(ii) Security or Safety needs :

These are the needs to be free of physical danger and of the fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter. It also includes protection against any emotional harm.

(iii) Social needs :

Since people are social beings, they need to belong and be accepted by others. People try to satisfy their need for affection, acceptance and friendship.

(iv) Esteem needs :

According to Maslow, once people begin to satisfy their need to belong, they tend to want to be held in esteem both by themselves and by others. This kind of need produces such satisfaction as power, prestige status and self-confidence. It includes both internal esteem factors like self-respect, autonomy and achievements and external esteem factors such as states, recognition and attention.

(v) Need for self-actualization :

Maslow regards this as the highest need in his hierarchy. It is the drive to become what one is capable of becoming, it includes growth, achieving one’s potential and self-fulfillment. It is to maximize one’s potential and to accomplish something.

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As each of these needs are substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. From the standpoint of motivation, the theory would say that although no need is ever fully gratified, a substantially satisfied need no longer motivates. So if you want to motivate someone, you need to understand what level of the hierarchy that person is on and focus on satisfying those needs or needs above that level.

Maslow’s need theory has received wide recognition, particularly among practicing managers. This can be attributed to the theory’s intuitive logic and ease of understanding. However, research does not validate these theory. Maslow provided no empirical evidence and other several studies that sought to validate the theory found no support for it.

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4) “Theory X and Theory Y” of Douglas McGregor :

McGregor, in his book “The Human side of Enterprise” states that people inside the organization can be managed in two ways. The first is basically negative, which falls under the category X and the other is basically positive, which falls under the category Y. After viewing the way in which the manager dealt with employees, McGregor concluded that a manager’s view of the nature of human beings is based on a certain grouping of assumptions and that he or she tends to mold his or her behavior towards subordinates according to these assumptions.

Under the assumptions of theory X :

Employees inherently do not like work and whenever possible, will attempt to avoid it.

Because employees dislike work, they have to be forced, coerced or threatened with punishment to achieve goals.

Employees avoid responsibilities and do not work fill formal directions are issued.

Most workers place a greater importance on security over all other factors and display little ambition.

In contrast under the assumptions of theory Y :

Physical and mental effort at work is as natural as rest or play.

People do exercise self-control and self-direction and if they are committed to those goals.

Average human beings are willing to take responsibility and exercise imagination, ingenuity and creativity in solving the problems of the organization.

That the way the things are organized, the average human being’s brainpower is only partly used.

On analysis of the assumptions it can be detected that theory X assumes that lower-order needs dominate individuals and theory Y assumes that higher-order needs dominate individuals. An organization that is run on Theory X lines tends to be authoritarian in nature, the word “authoritarian” suggests such ideas as the “power to enforce obedience” and the “right to command.” In contrast Theory Y organizations can be described as “participative”, where the aims of the organization and of the individuals in it are integrated; individuals can achieve their own goals best by directing their efforts towards the success of the organization.

However, this theory has been criticized widely for generalization of work and human behavior.

5) Contribution of Rensis Likert :

Likert developed a refined classification, breaking down organizations into four management systems.

1st System – Primitive authoritarian

2nd System – Benevolent authoritarian

3rd System – Consultative

4th System – Participative

As per the opinion of Likert, the 4th system is the best, not only for profit organizations, but also for non-profit firms.

6) Frederick Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory :

Frederick has tried to modify Maslow’s need Hierarchy theory. His theory is also known as two-factor theory or Hygiene theory. He stated that there are certain satisfiers and dissatisfiers for employees at work. In- trinsic factors are related to job satisfaction, while extrinsic factors are associated with dissatisfaction. He devised his theory on the question : “What do people want from their jobs ?” He asked people to describe in detail, such situations when they felt exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. From the responses that he received, he concluded that opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. He states that presence of certain factors in the organization is natural and the presence of the same does not lead to motivation. However, their nonpresence leads to demotivation. In similar manner there are certain factors, the absence of which causes no dissatisfaction, but their presence has motivational impact.

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Examples of Hygiene factors are :

Security, status, relationship with subordinates, personal life, salary, work conditions, relationship with supervisor and company policy and administration.

Examples of Motivational factors are :

Growth prospectus job advancement, responsibility, challenges, recognition and achievements.

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7) Contributions of Elton Mayo :

The work of Elton Mayo is famously known as “Hawthorne Experiments.” He conducted behavioral experiments at the Hawthorne Works of the American Western Electric Company in Chicago. He made some illumination experiments, introduced breaks in between the work performance and also introduced refreshments during the pause’s. On the basis of this he drew the conclusions that motivation was a very complex subject. It was not only about pay, work condition and morale but also included psychological and social factors. Although this research has been criticized from many angles, the central conclusions drawn were :

People are motivated by more than pay and conditions.

The need for recognition and a sense of belonging are very important.

Attitudes towards work are strongly influenced by the group.

8) Vroom’s Valence x Expectancy theory :

The most widely accepted explanations of motivation has been propounded by Victor Vroom. His theory is commonly known as expectancy theory. The theory argues that the strength of a tendency to act in a specific way depends on the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual to make this simple, expectancy theory says that an employee can be motivated to perform better when their is a belief that the better performance will lead to good performance appraisal and that this shall result into realization of personal goal in form of some reward. Therefore an employee is :

Motivation = Valence x Expectancy.

The theory focuses on three things :

Efforts and performance relationship

Performance and reward relationship

Rewards and personal goal relationship

This leads us to a conclusion that :

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9) The Porter and Lawler Model :

Lyman W. Porter and Edward E. Lawler developed a more complete version of motivation depending upon expectancy theory.

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Actual performance in a job is primarily determined by the effort spent. But it is also affected by the person’s ability to do the job and also by individual’s perception of what the required task is. So performance is the responsible factor that leads to intrinsic as well as extrinsic rewards. These rewards, along with the equity of individual leads to satisfaction. Hence, satisfaction of the individual depends upon the fairness of the reward.

10) Clayton Alderfer’s ERG Theory :

Alderfer has tried to rebuild the hierarchy of needs of Maslow into another model named ERG i.e. Existence – Relatedness – Growth. According to him there are 3 groups of core needs as mentioned above. The existence group is concerned mainly with providing basic material existence. The second group is the individuals need to maintain interpersonal relationship with other members in the group. The final group is the intrinsic desire to grow and develop personally. The major conclusions of this theory are :

In an individual, more than one need may be operative at the same time.

If a higher need goes unsatisfied than the desire to satisfy a lower need intensifies.

It also contains the frustration-regression dimension.

11) McClelland’s Theory of Needs :

David McClelland has developed a theory on three types of motivating needs :

Need for Power

Need for Affiliation

Need for Achievement

Basically people for high need for power are inclined towards influence and control. They like to be at the center and are good orators. They are demanding in nature, forceful in manners and ambitious in life. They can be motivated to perform if they are given key positions or power positions.

In the second category are the people who are social in nature. They try to affiliate themselves with individuals and groups. They are driven by love and faith. They like to build a friendly environment around themselves. Social recognition and affiliation with others provides them motivation.

People in the third area are driven by the challenge of success and the fear of failure. Their need for achievement is moderate and they set for themselves moderately difficult tasks. They are analytical in nature and take calculated risks. Such people are motivated to perform when they see atleast some chances of success.

McClelland observed that with the advancement in hierarchy the need for power and achievement increased rather than Affiliation. He also observed that people who were at the top, later ceased to be motivated by this drives.

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