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Understanding The Employee Motivations In Uk Commerce Essay

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2006) defined employee "as a person who works for another in return for financial or other compensation". Employees do not only work because they want to collect only pay but for other numerous factors. People work because they have goals to achieve which surpass financial gains from their employment.

Motivation is the catalyst that spurns employees' eagerness to work without pressure. To motivate is to provide employees with a motive to do some tasks. It is to cause or provoke somebody to act either positively or negatively. To say that nobody can motivate employees at work is like saying there are no influential leaders, there are no effective managers, there are no motivational speakers, the psychologists in sports management teams are useless and that motivation is not achievable. Motivation has been used by effective managers to prompt ordinary people to achieve uncommon results in all fields of endeavours. The motivation philosophy is same in any organization but the level of motivation vary in different organization and industry sectors due its own requirements. In UK industry the people earn more than average money but the employee turnover rate is higher than any other industry because salary is not only the motivating factor, the employees need monetary and morally help as well to perform their job in any circumstances. In the following literature view I will review the different authors about the motivation and analyse them as per UK industry context.

Review of Literature

Some theorists and writers on motivation of employees concluded it is not possible to adequately motivate employees based on Maslow's "Heirachy of Needs" and Frederick

Herzberg's "theory of hygiene needs" or "two-factor theory" because these theories averred that human needs are 'insatiable'.

Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper titled "A theory of Human Motivation", is an extension of human innate curiosity. Maslow divided human needs into five. Maslow said that human beings' first group of needs are physiological; the second needs are safety related; the third are love/belonging to the society; the fourth are esteem and the fifth are self-actualization. The physiological needs are breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostatic and excretion; safety needs include security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, of property; love/belonging to society, being in friendship (being in love and being loved), family, sexual intimacy; esteem needs are self-esteem, confidence, achievements, respect for others, respect by others; and self actualization include morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts (Maslow,1943).

Jhon Sylvester (2010) said that the best strategy is to engage total rewards solutions for UK employees those fulfil their long-term goals. The employees should be recognised and paid on performance basis.

Andy Philpott (2010) is saying that offering more money is the solution to motivate the UK staff, the companies should focus on employee long and short term engagement and generate attention create the motivation help to increase the performance and that activities should be done on daily to daily basis to get higher results. He also focused on that whole team should also be rewarded so that the poor performers could get motivate for next time.

Alan J Grainger (2009) says that salary is not enough in this age to reward their employees because this is highly competitive business environment where every company has to perform above the all, the writer said that holiday allowance is playing vital role to increase the motivation level of any employee, the employees burnout to do job whole year they need relaxation and free time to spend away from the workplace that is why holiday allowance play significant to recharge the employees to perform better with peace of mind and new enthusiasm.

Ambrose and Goleman to name but two, have explored employee motivation within organisations. Much has highlighted four basic factors influencing employee motivation

The employees qualities and how much he/she believe on those qualities to perform their jobs

The manager’s behaviour is often the most important to produce desired performance from their team players

Characteristics of the organization like culture, values and work environment affect the motivation

The clarity of the employee about the job and task

The Hawthorne studies allegedly revealed the influence of human relations or social factors on workers motivation (Roethlisberger and Dickson, 2003). According to Porter (1997) and Mintzberg (1989) motivation is only a secondary link in the chain represented by management. both motivation and market evolution are evolving in a linked relationship.

This analogy is called the Contingency Theory. The contingency theory is a behavioural theory that says that there is no one best way to manage a company, to lead an organisation or to make decisions. But the critical path analysis, the employees suggestion programs, SMART analysis, analytic hierarchy process etc, are decision making ways that have been proved to work better than others in their categories. The only way to manage an underfunded organisation is to provide "adequate fund" through injecting more fund or downsizing.

Mintzberg (1989) said to be able to motivate employees different factors would have to be put in place as much as we have employees. If management could go to the extent of carrying out opinion survey on employees, they will be able to motivate all employees and it will affect production.

Herzberg (1987) recognized two main categories of motivational factors: contextual factors and descriptive factors. The first factors include salaries, working conditions, organisation strategy etc. The second factors include threats and opportunities, competences, achievements, sense of belonging etc. Herzberg (1959) discovered that the factors that lead to dissatisfaction are completely different from those that provide satisfaction. He described the positive factors "motivation factors". These met human needs in a unique way and include achievement, personal development, job satisfaction and recognition. Improving these factors can provide employees; job satisfaction.

Levinson (1989) said "every manager must motivate and encourage employees somehow reconciling the individual needs with the goals of the organisation. All employees have aspirations and objectives which they want to achieve through their organisations. Responsible managers ought to help them to achieve their modest aspirations.

Lewis-McClear and Taylor (1998) explained that employee contract breach may act as demotivator and is related with employee's intention to quit an organisation. Having clearly set-out objectives can motivate employees. Small business owners in UK have been informed that their staff do not know what their objectives are for next year and are not feeling motivated, according to a report by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS, 2009).The BIS report revealed that only 25% of staff have had objectives for 2010 clearly communicated to them and a further third do not even know if a vision for their business' future exists.

Small business owners in UK have been informed that their staff do not know what their objectives are for next year and are not feeling motivated, according to a report by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS, 2009).The BIS report revealed that only 25% of staff have had objectives for 2010 clearly communicated to them and a further third do not even know if a vision for their business' future exists.

The report suggested this is having a negative effect on employee motivation levels, as only 27% feel positive about the year ahead. "If leaders don't explain where the business is going and what it's seeking to achieve, how can people be motivated or know what they're meant to contribute? Clear goals are a key ingredient for achieving performance and productivity" (MacLeod, 2009).

Motivation factors that are affective and effective in one employee or in a group of employees may not be affective or effective in others. This is an area where study, query and feedback will have to be carried out. For example, the issue of bonus as motivation factor in employees may spurn employees to be 'distrustful', 'self-centred', 'selfish' and 'individualistic' instead of working for the collective success of a team. The Parliament in UK is considering a Financial Services Bill that Gordon Brown says will wipe out the old bonus system where bank bosses collect bonus based on percentage of profit (BBC News, 2009).

Bonus can instigate good performance, but experience over the years show that some bank bosses only cover up, produced 'cosmeticized' Annual Report and push the bad days forward. In trying to get more bonus, they go into shady deals, they do not write off "Bad Debts" as place them under "Debtors" so that they can have bogus and inflated "Turnover" and "Profit after Tax". The liability is always inherited by their successors. If employees collect bonuses for exceeding expectation, they should also be fined for receding expectation.

For employees to be fully motivated, managers must be aware that human beings are different in the way they think, see, view, feel, do things and reason. Myer-Briggs model

(1956) talked about human differences. This model is about personality types. Myer-Briggs identified four ways people differ from each other. These are: the way they think; the way they view; the way they feel/perceive and the way they see things (Myers, 1980).

To satisfy an individual you must know what he needs either by observation or through interviewing. Psychologist Eduard Spranger said there are six values in human beings which we all have in varying degrees. They are: theoretical (passion for knowledge), utilitarian (passion for money and what is useful), aesthetic (passion for beauty, balance, and harmony), social (passion for service to others), individualistic (passion for power and control), traditional (passion for finding the highest meaning in life). He said your top two values are what drive you and must be fulfilled for you to achieve happiness in life (Spranger, 1955).

Motivating employees begins with recognizing that to do their best work loudly, people must be in an environment that meets their basic emotional drives to acquire, bond, comprehend, and defend (Nohria et al, 2008). According to Amabile (1998), "in today's knowledge economy, creativity is more important than ever. But many companies unwittingly employ managerial practices that kill it. How? By crushing their employees' intrinsic motivation, the strong internal desire to do something based on interests and passions. Managers don't kill creativity on purpose. Yet in the pursuit of productivity, efficiency, and control - all worthy business imperatives - they undermine creativity".

Mishra and McKendall (1993) suggested that employee’s suggestion programs (ESPs) should be used to involve employees in decision making and motivate them. "An ESP represents an opportunity to tap the intelligence and resourcefulness of an organization's employees, and by doing so, reap significant cost savings. Those companies and managers that have an ESP program uniformly list economic advantages first when describing the benefits of their employee suggestion programs" (Mishra and McKendall, 1993).


The intention of research is to examine the causes of employee motivation in the UK industry. Using qualitative and quantitative methods of research we could highlight the weaknesses of employer and employee relation and make some changes for achieving optimum performance to achieve personal and business goals.

Problem Statement:

UK labour market is mature in this age but still lack of Employee Motivation is the serious challenge for companies to retain and attract new personnel. One in three (30%) of UK employees are de-motivated at work (YouGov Research).

Research objectives:

The proposed research seeks to achieve the following objectives:

To review existing literature on Employee Motivation

To investigate the real causes those lead to employee turnover in the UK

To propose recommendation for improving employee relationship and motivation

Research questions:

The proposed research seeks to achieve the following questions:

What are the causes of employee de-motivation?

What is the employee motivational level in UK organizations?

How companies could overcome on these issues?


UK organizations are practicing theories but failed to motivate their employees as required


Researches in social sciences, especially one involving employees will be best approach using both qualitaitive and quantitave approaches. This research method known as triangulation has been greatly exploited by other writers. Triangulation or mixed methods of research has advantage in that the data collected from a method complemented the ones collected using the other method. By doing this, comprehensive opinions of people can be extrapolated and analysed by the researcher.

Secondary Research:

The collection of existing research results and data from published secondary sources for a specific, often unrelated, project. (MRS 2007)

I will use the secondary research methods to gather the information from existing published resources because it is easily available and cost effective.

We will use the external resources as for example UK industry reports, internet, Ofcom reports, college library resources, and Contact Babel reports.

Primary Research:

This is the process of collecting fresh information regarding impact of the previous Orange marketing communication campaign. I will carry out qualitative and quantitative research to understand the motivation level of UK employees.

Quantitative Research:

“Research that is undertaken using a structured research approach with a sample of the population to produce quantifiable insights in to behaviour motivations and attitudes” (Wilson 2007)

For the purpose of quantitative, interview will be carried out in two different UKs London, United Kingdom. 20 Questionnaires containing basic factors about motivation will be asked while 10 employees will be interviewed based on structured interview method.


“A part or subset of a population taken to be representative of the population as a whole for the investigative purpose of research” (MRS 2007)

We will use the stratified random sampling method because it is useful for large population. We will choose people those are working in the UKs and those participants will be screened out through short questionnaire, explain them research objectives and will take their consent to participate in the interviews. We will select 2 groups of 20 people from two different UKs in London.








A questionnaire is a structured data-collection mechanism involving a range of question formats and completed orally or in print. (Housden 2010).

We will design a well structured questionnaire including identification, classification and main subject data. All questions will be close ended.

MRS code of conduct and Data Protection Act 1998:

We will follow the MRS code of conduct during all the research process including:

The person will behave ethically and will not do anything which might damage the reputation of market research.

Respondents’ cooperation is voluntary and must be based on adequate, and not misleading, information about the general purpose and nature of the project when their agreement to participate is being obtained and all such statements must be honoured.

The rights of respondents as private individuals will be respected by researchers and they will not be harmed or disadvantaged as the result of cooperating in a group discussion.

Participant’s information must be processed fairly and lawfully

Information must be obtained only for specific and lawful purpose

Personal information should not be kept for longer than necessary

A research methodology can be referred to as a set of methods which allows a person to conduct research in a scientific manner. A researcher is able to use a research methodology to collate data for a research project, analysis, thesis or proposal. This data may be for a theoretical or practical research project. A project will not be valid unless the research data is valid and has been obtained in an ethical manner.


The researcher also needs to be aware of ethical laws before undertaking the research project. It is important for the information to be accurate for the validity of the project. Inaccurate information will be leading to the project declared invalid.

Research Time Frame

The research involves a set time frame to get a successful result. I need a period of 13 weeks to gather all the information and present it in the form of a valid report. The diagram below shows the research schedule and plan.


Task Description




Proposal Submission

21 February

Reports, Industry reports, journal articles and books


Research Planning

Week 1

Articles, text books, websites and reports


Secondary Research

Week 2-5

Articles, text books, websites and reports


Questionnaire Design and Execution

Week 6-7

Consultation with teacher and library


Data Collection

Week 8-9

Reports, Journal articles, case studies and text books


Data Analysis

Week 10

Information from questionnaire and Statistical tools


Compiling Report Dissertation

Week 10-12

Research work and Findings


Proof Reading

Week 13



June 30

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