Consider Job Design And Pay Which Affects Motivation Accounting Essay


Motivational problems at all levels of employment have received considerable attention in the study of individuals within organisational hierarchies. Gallagher and Einhorn (1976:358) note that these problems are increasingly apparent at blue collar level, where established and maximized task specialisation - in an attempt to attain efficiency through repetitious programmed jobs - has led to high levels of job dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation even after implementation of typical incentives - notably the level of pay.

This seemingly paradoxical outcome has led many to question if pay is the overarching factor of motivation or if job satisfaction, stemming from job design is more important. In this essay I shall explore which has the greater affect on employee motivation. It is important to note that at some points emphasis is placed on external and extrinsic rewards, the reader must view pay as a major component of these.

Do both Job-design and Pay motivate?

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If McGregor�s (1960) theory X / theory Y analysis of employees is investigated, theory Y assumes the agents are willing to accept higher levels of responsibility and are naturally motivated. This suggests that the design of jobs, or the �work re-design process� as termed by Hackman and Oldham (1979:250), could lead to increased motivation if employees� internal drive can be supported and nurtured.

Numerous studies show the vast majority of employees are motivated by pay, although each to a different degree. One particular survey of 1200 randomly selected U.S. employees by WorldatWork and Sibson & Company (2000) showed 54% of employees rated direct financial rewards as �very important� or �extremely important� to motivation. Another surveyed 1500 productivity professionals with the outcome that financial reward systems had a �positive� or �very positive� impact on performance in 66% to 89% of the companies in which they were implemented (American Productivity Center, 1987).

Hence, both job-design and pay have to ability to motivate. Which motivates more shall now be explored further.

Which motivates more?

Job design can be defined as the �specification of the contents, methods, and relationship of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organisational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder� (Rush, 1971:5); and has become increasingly more prominent as a stratagem in attempting to improve both productivity and the work experience of employees in modern organisations (Hackman and Oldham, 1976:250).

To understand how, and to what extent job design affects motivation consideration is needed of particular aspects of job design.

Through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries design by job specialisation was the universal direction taken by work management theory. It focussed on �technological and organisational� requirements of employment (Gallagher & Einhorn, 1976:359).

Job specialisation however has been accused of disregarding social and internal needs of the workers (see Herzberg, 1968; Rush, 1971; Gallagher & Einhorn 1976) these needs were found to be key factors in motivation and performance (see Mayo�s Hawthorne Studies, 1949)

Two categories of job design have developed. Job rotation involves an employee being moved through, and educated in numerous departments that are similar or linked to a core job. This is an attempt to give the employee a broader knowledge base and understanding of his/her position in the organisation (Rush, 1971:13).

Strongly related to rotation; job enlargement expands workers� tasks to include outlying ones that would originally have been implemented by other departments.

Both job enlargement and job rotation attempt to motivate by increasing job interest through more varied tasks, that allow development of those �assumptions� made in McGregor�s (1960) theory Y formulation � in particular instilling increased responsibility in an attempt to motivate employees. The intended effect is to augment worker motivation by incorporating intrinsic incentives as the job is presently more varied and interesting (Rush, 1971:13).

However these attempts at incorporating intrinsic incentives into job design - termed as �horizontal loading� (Herzberg, 1968:59) - have been heavily criticised. Hertzberg comments that �horizontal job loading has been the problem of earlier job enlargement programs�. He continues, stating that �Adding another meaningless task to the existing one, usually some routine clerical activity. The arithmetic here is adding zero to zero.�

In a contrasting view Oldham and Hackman (1981:69) comment �that the greater the substantive complexity of jobs, the more employees tended to be self � confident, receptive to change, committed to their occupations, and relatively free of feelings of powerlessness, normlessness, and self-estrangement (Kohn & Schooler, 1973, 1978; Kohn, 1976; Miller et al., 1979)� and therefore more motivated.

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Schoderbek and Rief (1969:8) hold a similar view to my own � an emphasis on variety in work leads only to the addition of similar duties to a central task. This �job extension� is simply a program that instils increased fatigue and boredom in employment.

It is generally accepted that this initial type of job design does little to motivate employees. The second type of job design is termed job enrichment � here the employee assumes a more vital role. Planning and aspect evaluation is undertaken by the employee him/herself, often variety of task is also increased. However the principal motivation is that the worker gains more control, and therefore increased responsibility (Rush, 1971:13).

As job enrichment is presently believed to be the most effective form of job design (see Herzberg, 1968; Rush, 1971; Gallagher & Einhorn, 1976; Oldham & Hackman, 1981) motivation theory will be used to explore if job design through job enrichment, or the level of pay, has a more profound effect on motivation.

Maslow�s hierarchy

Maslow�s hierarchy (1954) explains how motivation is ultimately linked with attempts to satisfy and attain fundamental needs. The lowest level of his motivational hierarchy is physiological needs - as these needs are fulfilled the needs on the motivational plateau above become desired. The higher level needs require increased motivation to attain, while being possible factors for further motivation.

The higher level needs, esteem and self-actualisation, are those that are influenced by job design. Basic needs along with the respect aspect of the esteem stage are satisfied by external factors, outside the person through interaction with others and attainment of physical and psychological needs, and materialistic wants.

The plateaux above these require an �internal reaction to events� - self-confidence, esteem, the pleasure gleaned from successes, acceptance of responsibility and exercise of personal skills (Gallagher & Einhorn, 1976:363). These are the same needs McGregor�s (1960) theory Y formulation assumes agents have, and those �intrinsic rewards� that Rush (1971:13) describes as the intended effect of job design. Therefore if the fulfilment of these needs can be incorporated into job enrichment programs they would instil higher levels of motivation in employees.

Maslow�s hierarchy can also be used to portray how, and to what extent pay motivates. Herzberg (1969:57) comments that basic biological needs � the physiological needs in Maslow�s hierarchy � are �learned drives which become conditioned�. Herzberg identifies food as a basic biological drive that makes it necessary to earn money. Therefore money becomes conditioned as a specific drive, a drive to obtain food (one of the needs in the lowest plateau in Maslow�s hierarchy.)

The superior needs in the hierarchy require motivational levels from the agent to be elevated above the level that is required to attain needs on lower plateaux. Thus, through Maslow�s theory, the �intrinsic rewards� (Rush, 1971;13) that can be incorporated in job design motivate more effectively than external and financial rewards.

Herzberg �Motivation-Hygiene Theory�

This theory �first drawn from an examination of events in the lives of engineers and accountants� (Herzberg, 1968:56) reinforces that differing levels of motivation stem from �intrinsic rewards� and �extrinsic rewards� (Rush, 1971) including pay.

Hygiene factors Motivation

Company policy and administration Achievement

Supervision Recognition

Relationship with supervisor Work itself

Work conditions Responsibility

Salary Advancement

Relationship with peers Growth

Personal life

Relationship with subordinates



With the �Motivation-Hygiene Theory� Herzberg attempts to show that �the factors involved in producing job satisfaction (and motivation) are separate and distinct from the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction.� (Herzberg, 1968:57) The positive relation between the level of job satisfaction and motivation must be noted.

The elements that lead to dissatisfaction are those termed �Hygiene factors�, these factors are �extrinsic rewards�; ones that lay below the elevated levels of Maslow�s hierarchy. Herzberg�s (1968:55) �Hygiene factors� originate from his �positive KITA personnel practices� one of which is �spiralling wages and fringe benefits� � financial rewards. He acknowledges that pay has motivated people �to seek the next wage increase� but concludes that employees work less for higher levels of pay and job security.

These KITA practices only results in short term movement (Herzberg, 1968:56). Essentially they motivate for a time but once acknowledged, are then the norm � highly evident in pay rises. I believe this eventual fundamental acceptance serves not only to return motivation back to post-implementation level but to further decrease the level of �short term movement� subsequent pay rises or financial benefits may cause.

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Maslow�s Hierarchy and Herzberg�s �Motivation-Hygiene Theory� are both �need and motivation� theories. Thus, both suggest that �intrinsic rewards� such as self-confidence, esteem, the pleasure from successes, acceptance of responsibility and exercise of personal skills (Gallagher & Einhorn, 1976:363) seem to be more potent in instilling motivation than external or �extrinsic rewards� � the hygiene factors including pay.

A more sophisticated view of the effects on �intrinsic� and �extrinsic� rewards in their role of motivation is explained in the Cognitive Evaluation Theory (Deci, 1975; Deci & Ryan, 1980). Deci (1971:106) found that verbal praise enforced intrinsic motivation, but extrinsic rewards undermined it.

Gagn� and Deci (2005:332) - with references to other studies - explain that the Cognitive evaluation theory suggests �tangible extrinsic rewards, deadlines (Amabile, Dejong & Lepper, 1976), surveillance (Lepper & Greene, 1975), and evaluations (Smith 1975) tend to diminish feelings of autonomy, prompt a change in perceived locus of causality (PLOC) from internal to external (deCharms, 1968; Heider, 1985) and undermine intrinsic motivation.�

I believe this suggests that pay, along with other extrinsic rewards � Herzberg �hygiene factors� � not only have a lesser affect on motivation, but when over relied upon can reduce the levels of motivation inspired by intrinsic rewards.

Deci (1972:57) comments alongside the Cognitive evaluation theory, that salary and threats control employees since they become the motive for performance, whereas intrinsic rewards such as verbal feedback serve to heighten levels of self esteem, confidence and achievement � needs in the elevated levels of Maslow�s hierarchy.

Deci concludes � like Maslow and Herzberg � that intrinsic rewards are: Firstly more effective since they require no external input for their motivational continuance; and secondly they fulfil high level needs thus prolonging feelings of achievement, confidence and esteem.

Since it is clear that job design � job enrichment with a strong emphasis on intrinsic rewards � can act as a motivator, the principles used to incorporate these into job design shall now be explored.

Herzberg (1968:59) terms these principles as �vertical job loading�, a distinct contrast with the aforementioned �horizontal job loading� that are the techniques used in the less effective job enlargement and job rotation (Rush, 1971:13) programmes.

Figure III. Principles of vertical job loading

Principle Motivators involved

A . Removing some controls while Responsibility and

retaining accountability personal achievement

B. Increasing the accountability Responsibility and

of individuals for own work recognition

C. Giving a person complete Responsibility

natural unit of work (module, achievement, and

division, area and so on) recognition

D. Granting additional authority Responsibility,

to an employee in his achievement, and

activity; job freedom recognition

E. Making periodic reports Internal

directly available to the recognition

worker himself rather than

to the supervisor

F. Introducing new and more Growth and learning

difficult tasks not previously


G. Assigning individuals specific Responsibility,

or specialised tasks, enabling growth, and

them to become experts advancement

Herzberg�s �vertical job loading� principles of job enrichment allow intrinsic rewards to be built into specific tasks - as can be seen in Figure III. Each principle involves certain motivators drawn from Herzberg�s �Motivation-Hygiene Theory� (1968:57) shown in Figure II. I have already identified how these particular rewards motivate through both Herzberg�s, Maslow�s and Deci�s formulations.

For example, Principle �A� - �Removing some controls while retaining accountability� motivates since

(1) A decrease in controlling factors leads the agent to believe the supervisor has invested more responsibility in him/her.

(2) A heightened level of responsibility invested, with retained accountability, reinforces the agent�s role in the task. Therefore increased agent dependability of task will lead to feelings of personal achievement upon successful completion.

The �vertical loading principles� are designed to appeal to the esteem and self-actualisation need levels, those at the pinnacle of Maslow�s motivational hierarchy. An agent may only attain these needs if they are highly motivated and have already fulfilled the lower needs � notably the learned drive for pay.


My exploration of theories has investigated how job design and pay motivate, and to what extent significant levels of motivation are achieved. It has become clear that job design has the potential to motivate to a greater degree than pay. However job design must be implemented correctly for this to be the case. Job enlargement and job rotation (Rush, 1971) �often succeed in reducing the man�s [worker�s] personal contribution, rather than giving him an opportunity for growth in his accustomed job� and �merely makes a job structurally bigger� (Herzberg, 1968:59) whereas �Job enrichment provides the opportunity for employee�s psychological growth.� (Herzberg, 1969:59).

Numerous researchers suggest along with empirical evidence, that personal attributes coupled with job design combine to explain the relationship between organisation conditions, individual�s attitudes and psychological functioning (Kohn, 1971; Kohn and Schooler, 1973; Frendrich, 1976) (paraphrase of Oldham & Hackman, 1981:78). This highlights an innate problem in both Maslow�s hierarchy and Herzberg�s �Motivation � Hygiene� theory. Worker�s personal attributes, individual attitudes and psychological function differ from one to another � it is clear that these two theories do not account for the differences in levels of responsiveness of employees. However I believe this is not a severe drawback of the theory because the motivation to earn higher levels of pay also differs between employees.

The theories suggest intrinsic rewards built into job design are ultimately more important in motivating than pay. However Hall, Haas & Johnson (1967:905-12) explain how heavily structured tasks reduce job discretion and autonomy, and thus motivation. Therefore I believe if a process of job enrichment is to be successful the optimal point of job structure and complication in relation to the number of intrinsic rewards must be reached. The vast majority of Herzberg�s �vertical job loading principles� (1968:57) increase job difficulty and workload � principle �E� involves �Making periodic reports directly available to the worker himself rather than to the supervisor� � this clearly expands the workload. If jobs are over structured using an excessive number of �the principles� this could possibly lead to low levels of motivation or instil no motivation at all.

It is my view that although all of the explored theories portray intrinsic rewards, implemented in job design as more important in motivation it is wrong to believe pay plays no effect in motivation. The initial motivation to work for the vast majority of people is money. However once conditioned employees perceive money as a need, an inevitability of employment and therefore the motivation it instils falls. Heron (1948:132) comments that �material incentives can be supplements to... substitutes for... or obstacles to� good teamwork and motivation; my final conclusion is similar to this. Job design � in particular job enrichment � has a high intrinsic level of motivation; and the motivation stemming from the fulfilment of these elevated level needs - in Maslow�s Hierarchy - is not only more important in motivation (attributable to its higher effectiveness) but also due to its ability to be incorporated into jobs, developed into internal drives and requirement of no external controls. Therefore it is more important than pay in achieving more effective, increased levels of motivation.