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One of the oldest, and most difficult, areas in psychology is the fundamental problem of why people are motivated to do anything at all, and if they do something, why that and not something else. The study of motivation involves the examination of two aspects of behavior. Firstly, motivation is concerned with the influence which causes specific actions in humans - the direction of behavior. Secondly, motivation also involves consideration of the intensity or strength of behavior.
Employee Motivation is essential in any workplace if the goals and objectives of the organization are to be fulfilled. The senior managers within organizations must therefore ensure that the overall business strategy of their organization takes account of employee motivation and utilizes appropriate management policies to guarantee high levels of employee performance and commitment. At a basic level, a well motivated workforce will contribute more to, and help to guarantee, the profitability and success for the organization. However, it is not only the organization which will benefit; a well-motivated employee is more likely to be satisfied and fulfilled within their organizational role. The responsibility for employee motivation lies with group or team leaders, often the supervisor or manager. Whilst some methods of motivation may be outwith their control, supervisors and managers are in the best position to motivate their staff on a day to day basis. (David A.Hume, 2000:10)
For Westwood (1992:288), motivation, as a concept, has certain specific features:
Motivation is an internal state experienced by the individual. Whilst external factors including other people, can affect a person's motivational state, it develops within the individual and is unique to that individual.
The individual experiences a motivational state in a way that gives rise to a desire, intention and pressure to act.
Motivation has an element of choice, intention or willingness. That is, the individual experiencing a state of arousal (externally or internally generated), responds by choosing to act in a way and at a level of intensity that they determine.
Action and performance are a function, at least in part, of motivation. It is therefore important in our ability to predict and understand actions and performance.
Motivation is multi-faceted. It is a complex process with several elements and the possibility of multiple determinants, options and outcomes.
Individuals differ in terms of their motivational state and the factors that affect it.
Furthermore, the motivational state of an individual is variable; it is different across time and across situations.
(John Arnold et al, 1995)
There are two types of motivation as originally identified by Hertzberg et al (1957):
Intrinsic motivation-The self generated factors that influence people to behave in a particular direction. These factors include responsibility, autonomy (freedom to act), scope to use and develop skills and abilities, interesting and challenging work and opportunities for advancement.
Extrinsic motivation-what is done to or for people to motivate them. This includes rewards, such as increased pay, praise, or promotion, and punishments, such as disciplinary action, withholding pay, or criticisms.
2.2 The process of motivation
Motivation is a complex process with individuals having different needs and goals. There is an old saying 'you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink; it will drink only if it's thirsty' - so with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. Motivating employees is an art that employers have sought to perfect over the years. Motivating other people is about getting them to move in the direction you want them to go in order to achieve a result. People are motivated when they expect that a course of action is likely to lead to the attainment of a goal and a valued reward-one that satisfies their needs. But managers still have a major part to play in using their motivating skills to get people to give of their best, and to make good use of motivational processes provided by the organization. To do this it is necessary to understand the process of motivation-how it works and the different types of motivations that exist. A need -related model of the process of motivation is shown in the figure below. This suggests that motivation is initiated by the conscious or unconscious recognition of unsatisfied needs. These needs create wants, which are desires to achieve or obtain something. Goals are then established which is believed will satisfy these needs and wants and a behaviour pathway is selected which is expected will achieve the goal. If the goal is achieved, the need will be satisfied and the behaviour is likely to be repeated, the next time a similar need emerges. If the goal is not achieved, the action is less likely to be repeated. This process of repeating successful behaviour or actions is called reinforcement or the law of effect (Hull, 1951). It has, however, been criticized by Allport (1954) as ignoring the influence of expectations and therefore constituting 'hedonism of the past'. (Michael Armstrong, 2001: 155).
New unsatisfied needs
Reduction of tension
Source : Service Quality class notes
2.3 Approaches to motivation
2.3.1 Physiological Theories
2.4 Theory X and Theory Y
Douglas Mc Gregor is perhaps best known for his analysis of motivation at work (McGregor, 1960). The base for McGregor's theory on motivation is the belief that there is a direct correlation between the way managers treat their workers and worker motivation. According to McGregor, manager tend to view on workers' attitudes to work - one which will result in low levels of motivation ( Theory X), and one which will result in higher levels of motivation ( Theory Y).
Theory X is an elitist management approach where workers are treated with little or no respect, with an emphasis on control, discipline, conformity, obedience and dependence. According to the theory, the attitude of managers towards workers is based on the following beliefs ( Evans, 1990):
Employees inherently dislike work, whenever possible, will attempt to avoid it.
Since employees dislike work, they must be coerced, controlled, or threatened with punishment to achieve goals.
Employees will avoid responsibilities and seek formal direction whenever possible.
Most workers place security above all other factors associated with work and display little ambitions.
In contrast to Theory X, Theory Y approaches employee management from an entirely different viewpoint. Indeed, where Theory X is based on aspects of management such as discipline and control, Theory Y emphasizes on decentralization, delegation, participation and consultation. The main characteristics of the Theory Y approach to management can be summarized as follows ( Evans 1990):
Employees can view work as being as natural as rest or play.
People will exercise self-direction and self-control if they are committed to the objectives.
The average person can learn to accept, even seek responsibility.
The ability to make innovative decision is widely dispersed throughout the population and is not necessarily the sole province of those in management position.
Mc Gregor himself held to the being that Theory Y assumptions were more valid than Theory X. Therefore, he proposed such idea as participate in decision making, responsible and challenging jobs, and good go up relation as approaches that would maximize an employee's job motivation.
Critics of the theory: Unfortunately, there is no evidence to confirm that either set of assumptions is valid or that accepting Theory Y assumptions and altering one's acknowledgment will lead to more motivated workers.
(Stephen P. Robins, 1993: 208)
Without doubt the best-known physiological theory is of Abraham H.Maslow (1954). Maslow supposed that people have 5 types of needs that are activated in a hierarchical manner, and are then aroused in a specific order such that a lower order need must be satisfied before the next higher order- need is activated. Once need is met, the next highest need is the hierarchy is triggered and and so forth.
order of progression
Figure2.2: Maslow's need hierarchy
Source: A.H.Maslow, Motivation and Personality, 2nd edition,
New York: Harper & Row, 1976)
Physiological needs are the basic needs that are crucial to sustain life which are food, water, and air. Organizations may provide exercise and physical fitness facilities for their employees, because providing such facilities may also be recognized as an attempt to help employees stay healthy by gratifying their psychological needs.
The next level is based on security. Maslow felt that all people have the need to feel secure and safe. Organizations may provide employees with life and health insurance plans, opportunity for savings, pensions, and safety equipment and secure contracts that enable work to be performed without fear and harm.
Social needs are activated after both physiological and safety needs. They refer to the need to be affiliative-to have friends, to be liked, included and accepted by other people. Friends, relations and work colleagues help meet social needs, and organizations may encourage participation in social events such as office parties, sports days, competitions which provide an opportunity for meeting these needs.
Esteem needs include personal feelings of achievement, self-worth and recognition. The desires to achieve success have personal prestige and are recognized by others all fall into this category. Companies may have awards, prizes or banquets to recognize distinguished achievements. Printing articles in company newsletters describing an employee's success, assigning private parking spaces, and posting signs identifying the "employee of the month" are all examples of things that can be done to satisfy esteem. The inflation of job titles could also be seen as an organizational attempt to boost employee's self-esteem.
Self-actualization needs refer to the need for self-fulfillment-the desire to become all that one is capable of being, developing one's potential and fully realizing one's abilities. By working to their maximum creative potential, employees who are self-actualised can be an extremely valuable asset to their organizations. Individuals who have become self-actualised supposedly work at their peak, and represent the most effective use of an organization's human resources. In this level, the needs are based not on personal but on the needs of others.
Critics of the theory: The theory has enthusiascally applied to the world of work. However, few have been able to find evidence of the five-(or two-) their system (Mitchell &Nowdgill 1976), and there is precious little evidence that needs are activated in the same order. Furthermore, it is not certain how, when or why the gratification of one stimulates or activates the next highest category (John Arnold et al, 1995).
22.214.171.124 Adelfer's ERG theory
Relate dress needs
Alderfer (1972) has come with a modified need hierarchy model. He condenses Maslow's five levels (Figure 3.4) of needs into three levels based on the core three basic needs: existence, relatedness, and growth (ERG theory)
Least Most concrete
Adelfer's continuum of ERG needs.
(Paul M.Muchinsky, 1993)
These are related to Maslow's physiological and certain safety needs. As its name says existence, thus it is concerned with sustaining human existence.
These involve interpersonal relationship with "significant others", such as co-workers, superiors, subordinates, family.
It deals with the development of potential and covers Maslow;s esteem and self actualization needs.
Critics of the theory: Although basic categories of need do exist, ERG theory fails to distinguish between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The theory has not attracted as much attention as Maslow theory, but seems a reasonable modification of it. However, like Maslow theory it is potentially rather difficult to test (Furnham, 1992).
126.96.36.199 Hertzberg's two-factor theory
The two factors model developed by Frederick W. Hertzberg is essentially concerned with explaining motivation at work- employee motivation (Hertzberg et al., 1959). The first of these needs, Hertzberg called hygiene needs, which are influenced by the physical and psychological conditions in which people work. Hertzberg called the second set of needs motivator needs, and described them as being very similar to the higher order needs in Maslow's (1954) need hierarchy theory.
Hertzberg at al. (1959) claimed that different types of outcomes or rewards satisfied these two types of needs. Hygiene needs were said to be satisfied by hygiene factors or dissatisfiers, such as supervision, interpersonal relation, physical working conditions, salary, company policies and administrative practices, benefits and job security. When these factors are unfavorable, the job dissatisfaction is the result. Conversely, when hygiene factors are positive, such as when worker perceive that their pay is fair and that their working conditions are good, than barriers to job satisfaction are removed. However, the fulfillment of hygiene needs cannot by itself result in job satisfaction. Unlike hygiene needs, motivation needs are fulfilled by what Hertzberg et al. (1959) called motivator factors or satisfiers such as achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility and advancement.
According to the theory, the factors that lead to job satisfaction are those that satisfy an individual's need for self-actualization (self-fulfillment) in their work, and it is only from the performance of their task that individuals can enjoy the reward that will reinforce their aspirations. Compared to hygiene factors, which results in a 'neutral state' (neither satisfied nor dissatisfied) when present, positive motivator factors result in job satisfaction.
Critics of the theory: Attractive though the theory is, it has little empirical support. There is no doubt attributable to the fact that various methodological errors were introduced in the early theory-testing work. These included the real possibility that all the results were the result of classic attribution errors, such that personal failure is attributed externally (to hygiene factors) and success internally (to motivator factors). Secondly, the theory testing work was nearly all done on white-collar workers (accountants and engineers) who are hardly representive of the working population.
188.8.131.52 McClelland's Achievement Motivation Theory
The theory of motivation developed by David C. McClelland is based on the assumption that individuals have three innate needs which are of primary importance ( McClelland, 1961):
The need for Affiliation
It is the need for warm, friendly and close interpersonal relationships. Those who have high need of affiliation see the organization as a place of finding new friendship.
The need for Power;
It is the need to control or influence others. Those having high need of power perceive the organization as an opportunity to gain status and power.
The need for Achievement
It is a need to attain something related to a specific set of standards, and to strive to succeed. These individuals are motivated by assignments or task that provide opportunity to gain power.
People possess all 3 needs but the relative intensity of affiliation, power and achievement varies among individuals and different occupations. (Laurie J. Mullins, 1992: 206)
The implication of the theory in practice are that managers can identify employees who are self-motivated, those who rely more on internal incentives and those who could increase their achievement drive through training. (Shaun Tyson et al, 2000: 15)
McClelland found that individual with high need for achievement has some characteristics for instance, they prefer to take personal responsibility for finding solutions to problems. They also prefer concrete feedback on their performance and they like to take calculated risks and set moderate goals, in other words, goals that are neither too easy nor impossible.
Critics of the theory: Mc Lelland's theory implies an individualistic approach to the motivation of staff. The behaviour and performance of work group is as important as for individual motivation. (Laurie J. Mullins, 1992:207)
Evaluation of physiological theories
When examining the motivation of employees, the physiological theories of motivation can have important implications. Since the behavior of employees can be influenced by many different factors, the management of human resources is a very complicated issue. If, however it can be demonstrated that a particular management style or policy can assist with satisfying the innate needs of employees, it may be possible to encourage specific forms of behavior by providing the means by which particular innate needs can be satisfied. For example, if an employee has an unfulfilled need for esteem and it is shown that particular forms of behavior will result in praise, encouragement and recognition, the employee is likely to behave in a manner which will result in the satisfaction.
184.108.40.206 Reinforcement theory
Reinforcement and learning theories are among the oldest in psychology. Reinforcement theory argues that behavior is externally caused. ( B.F. Skinner) The theory ignores factors such as goals, expectations, needs and it focus rather on what happens to an individual when he/she takes some action. It has been said that the more powerful, obvious and frequent the reinforcement, the more likely a particular behavior will be repeated until, eventually, the behavior becomes more or less unconscious reaction to an event. Conversely, failures or punishment provide a negative reinforcement thus the individual would avoid that particular behavior and opt for alternative one. There has long been a debate concerning the usefulness or otherwise of punishment as a strategy. Problems such as resentment and sabotage may accompany a manager's use of punishment (negative reinforcement) is usually not effective, since it suppresses rather than eliminate undesirable responses. They also noted the more quickly reinforcement is given after the response, the more effective it becomes.
Learning theorists assert that all behaviour is shaped and sustained through the action of contingent reinforcement; work-related behaviours are simply special examples of this more universal phenomenon. (Furnham, 1992).
Implication for managers:
Jablonsky and De Vries (1972) have suggested the following guidelines for applying operant conditioning as a motivating technique:
Avoid using punishment as a primary means of obtaining desired performance
Positively reinforce desired behaviour and ignore undesired behaviour if possible.
Minimize the time-lag between response and reinforcement
Apply positive reinforcement frequently on a variable ratio schedule
Determine environmental factors that are considered positive and negative by individual
Critics of the theory: In a day to day operation, a manager may not be able to understand each and every employee's personal needs or problem. Sensitively, subtly and discretely applied, it works well, but sophisticated workforce is sometimes hostile to it. (John Arnold et al, 1995).
Porter and Lawler
Over the years, Porter and Lawler (1968) adapted and expanded the theory. According to this model, job performance is a multiple combination of abilities and skills, effort and role perceptions. If individuals have clear role perceptions, if they possess the necessary skills and abilities, and if they are motivated to exert sufficient effort, the model suggests that they will perform well. Abilities and skills refer to both physical and psychological characteristics.
Role perceptions refer to the clarity of the job description and to whether individuals know how to direct their efforts towards effectively completing the task. Those who have clear perceptions of their role perceptions apply their efforts where they will count, and perform correct behaviours. Those who have incorrect role perceptions tend to spend much of their time in unproductive efforts that do not contribute to effective job performance.
Perceived equity of outcomes / rewards
Ability and traits,
Role clarity organizational
Figure 2.4: Porter and Lawler's expanded expectancy model
Source: Adapted from Porter and Lawler (1968)
Implication for managers: Arnold et al. (1991:176) argues that, if expectancy theory were correct it would have important implications for managers wishing to ensure that employees were motivated to perform their work duties:
They would need to ensure that all 3 of the following conditions were satisfied:
Employees perceived that they possessed the necessary skills to do their jobs at least adequately (expectancy)
Employees perceived that if they performed their jobs well, or at least adequately, they would be rewarded (instrumentality).
Employees found the rewards offered for successful job performance attractive (valence).
Critics of the theory: Although some specific aspects of the Expectancy theory have been supported (particularly the impact of expectancy and instrumentality on motivation), others have not (such as the contribution of valence to motivation, and the assumption that expectancy, instrumentality and valence are multiplied.) Arnold et al. (1991) note how little attention the theory pays in explaining why an individual values or does not value particular outcomes: no concept of need is involved to address this question. The theory proposes that people should ask someone how much they value something, but not bother about why they value it. (John Arnold et al, 1995)
220.127.116.11 Goal Setting Theory
Goal setting theory has been developed by Locke, who states that motivation and performance will be higher when individuals set specific goals and when goals are difficult but accepted. The above figure represents goal setting theory, and shows that the characteristics of a goal and attitudes towards it are thought to be influences by incentives, self-perceptions and the manner in which goals are set. In turn, those goals characteristics and attitudes are thought to determine behavioural strategies, which lead to performance within the constraints of ability knowledge of results (also called feedback) is thought to be essential to further refinement of behavioural strategies.
What does research say about goal setting?
Some further comments can be made on the basis of research evidence first financial incentives can indeed enhance performance. Loche et al. (1981) report that this occurs either through raising goal level, or through increasing commitment to a goal. Second, and unsurprisingly, ability also affects performance. Third, research on goal setting has been carried out in a range of context and fourth, goal setting is magnificently deal about how managers can enhance the performance of their employees. Some other research has directly investigated specific potential limitations of goal setting.
Earley et al. (1989) suggested that goal setting may be harmful where a task in novel and where a considerable numbers of possible strategies are available to tackle it. It seems that when people are tackling unfamiliar and complex tasks, goal setting can induce them to pay much attention to task strategy and not enough to task performance itself.
Goal setting could be criticized in its early days for being a technology rather than a theory. It successfully described how goal focus behaviour, without really addressing why or through what process goals influenced behaviour. Furthermore, goal setting, suggests that people are most motivated by difficult tasks where success is (presumably) not certain.
A continuing issue in goal setting concerns participation. Locke et al. (1981) concluded that there was no evidence from published research that participation in goal setting by the person attempting to achieve the goal produced better performance than if the goal was assigned to him or her by someone else.
Kanfer et al. (1994) got students to attempt a simulated air traffic control task and repeated the findings that goal setting can harm performance of unfamiliar complex tasks. But they also found that giving people time to reflect on their performance between repeated attempts at similar tasks eliminate that effect. The breaks enabled them to devote intentional resources to their strategies without having simultaneously to tackle the task itself. (John Arnold et al, 1998)
2.4.3 CANE MODEL
The CANE Model takes components of these motivational theories, builds upon them and finds that motivation influences three critical areas with regard to performance (Clark, 1998; Clark & Estes, 2002; Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). Motivation determines whether an individual works toward a goal in first place. The level of motivation then determines whether an individual will persist at a goal until it is complete, and finally it determines how much mental effort an individual puts into a goal that they have chosen (Clark & Estes, 2002). The three indices for motivated behavior are choice, persistence and effort. These combined factors will influence the overall ability of an organisation to attain performance goal.
Personal Agency x Emotion x Task value Goal Commitment
Self- Efficacity -Importance - Choice
Support -Interest -Persistence
Self Efficacy Mental effort
Source; Journal : An analysis based on the Cane model of motivation
(Robin B. DiPietro & Steven J. Condly)
The CANE model posits two interlinked processes; commitment to goal ( which causes sustained goal pursuit), and the amount and quality of mental effort required to pursuit the goal.