Literature Review of Theories on Motivating the Workforce

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Motivation is the driving force which causes us to achieve goals. Many theorists' try to explain motivation in different way. Like according to Huzczynski and Buchanan, ''Motivation is a decision-making process through which the individual choose desired outcomes and sets in motion the behaviour appropriate to acquiring them.'' In other words motivation is a kind of internal energy which drives a person to do something in order to achieve something. It is a temporal or dynamic state within a person which is not concerned with his/her personality. The words motivation is commonly used to mean the following:

Goals or outcomes that have become desirable for a particular individual.

The mental process of choosing desired outcomes, deciding how to go about them and setting in motion the required behaviours.

The social process by which other people motivate us to behave in the way the wish.

There are two types of motivation. One is intrinsic motivation and the other is extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation are kind of motivation that come naturally or people do from their own interest without any external pressure. For example, students are likely intrinsically motivated if they believe that they can be effective in reaching desired goals (like results are not depends on luck rather than how much effort you put in your study) and they are interested to mustering the topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

On the other hand, Extrinsic motivation are kind of motivation that comes outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are reward like money and grade, threats of punishment etc. For example, a crowd cheering on the individual like players for winning some games are also extrinsic incentives. Research shows that, extrinsic rewards can lead towards over justification and subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. For example, If you are being awarded for the good results you have made in exam or for singing a song, then it could happen that next time you will want to do well in the exam or singing a song not from your passion (intrinsic) but for the award (extrinsic) that you've given for your result.

Motivation is essential to be successful in any task you undertake. It can be positive or negative, subtle or obvious, tangible or intangible. It is very important in workplaces as it plays a key role in the effective performance of employees. In industry, managers play a significant role in employee motivation. They use different motivation techniques to improve productivity, thereby promoting co-operation between employees and employers. Motivation is about getting extra levels of commitment and performance from employees, over and above mere compliance with rules and procedures. If individuals can be motivated, by one means or another they might work more efficiently (and productivity will rise) or they will produce a better quality of work. It will also help to improve their morale and will make them more discipline and confidence.

Many theories try to explain motivation and why and how people can be motivated. These theories can be classified in two categories: 1. Content theories and 2. Process theories.

Content theories is about ''what are the things that motivate people??''. It suggest that the best way to motivate an employee is to find out what his/her needs are and offer him/her rewards that will satisfy those needs. Maslow's ''hierarchy of needs'' and Herzberg's ''two-factor theory'' are two of the most important theories of these kinds.

On the other hand, Process theories is about ''How can people be motivated''. These theories explore the process through which outcomes become desirable and are pursued by individuals. This approach assumes that people are able to select their goals and choose the paths towards them, by a conscious or unconscious process of calculation. Expectancy theory and McGregor's theory X and theory Y are these types of theory.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

Abraham Maslow described five innate human needs. And put forward certain propositions about the motivating power of each need.

It can be summarized as follows:

Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behaviour. Only unsatisfied needs influence behaviour, satisfied needs don't.

An Individual's needs can be arranged in hierarchy according to their importance from basic to complex. Each level of need is dominant until satisfied.

The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is satisfied.

A need which has been satisfied no longer motivates an individual's behaviour

The need for self-actualization can rarely be satisfied.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory have some major limitation:

An individual's behaviour may be in response to several needs, and the same need may cause different behaviour in different individuals, so it is difficult to use the model to explain or predict individual's behaviour in response to rewards.

The hierarchy ignores the concept of deferred gratification and altruistic behaviour (by which people sacrifice their own needs for others)

Empirical verification of the hierarchy is hard to come by.

Research has revealed that the hierarchy reflects UK and US cultural values, which may not transfer to other context.

Herzberg's two-factor theory:

Herzberg's identified two basic need systems: the need to avoid unpleasantness and the need for personal growth. He suggested factors which could be offered by organizations to satisfy both types of need are hygiene and motivator factors.

According to this theory, the need to avoid unpleasantness is satisfied through hygiene factors. Hygiene factors are to do with the environment and condition of work including: company policy and administration, salary, the quality of supervision, interpersonal relation, working condition and job security. If inadequate, hygiene factors cause dissatisfaction with work. They work likes sanitation, which minimises threats to health rather than actively promoting ''good health''.

The need for personal growth is satisfied by motivator factors. These activities create job satisfaction and are effective in motivating an individual to superior performance and effort. These factors are connected to the work itself, including: status, advancement, recognition, responsibility, challenging work, a sense of achievement, growth in the job. A lack of motivator factors will encourage employees to concentrate on the hygiene factors.

Major limitation of this theory is it was based on inadequately small sample size and it has a limited cultural context.

The application of these theories can be found in such occupational field as information systems and in studies of user satisfaction.

Process theories of motivation:

Vroom's expectancy theory:

Expectancy theory basically states that the strength of an individual's motivation to do something will depend on the extent which he expects the results of his efforts to contribute to his personal needs or goals.

For example, an employee may have a high expectation that increased productivity will result in promotion, but if he is indifferent or negative towards the idea of promotion (because he dislike responsibility) he will not be motivated to increase his productivity. Likewise, if promotion is very important to him- but he does not believe higher productivity will get him promoted (because he has been passed over before, perhaps) his motivation will low. That simply means that an individual should be rewarded with what he or she perceives as important rather than what the manager's perceives. For example, one individual may value a salary increase, whereas another may value promotion.

McGregor: Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor suggested that managers tented to behave as though they subscribed to one of two sets of assumptions about people at work: Theory X and Theory Y.

Theory X suggests that most people dislike work and responsibility and will avoid both if possible. Because of this, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and/or threatened with punishment to get them to man adequate effort. Managers who operate according to these assumptions will tend to supervise closely, apply detailed rules and controls and use ''carrot and stick motivators.

Theory Y suggests that physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest. The ordinary person does not inherently dislike work: according to the conditions it may be a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The potentialities of the average persons are rarely fully used at work. A manager with this sort of attitude to his staff is likely to be consultative, facilitating leader, using positive feedback, challenge and responsibilities as motivator.

So, why motivation is so important?

In personal prospective motivation is important to help you get started. You always like to work something you like to do. When you motivated no-body needs to force you to work. You can do it from your own. Motivation also helps you to keep moving. It helps us to overcome the obstacles which may come in our way to distract us from achieving the success. Motivations make us do more than necessary. If you are motivated about something you will voluntarily do more about it than what is required from you.

One of the main importances of motivation is to increase morale of an individual. For example, if a sports team is constantly losing their matches then this will have a negative effect on the morale of the whole team as no one likes to lose. Furthermore, this loss can affect the behaviour of the individual. Therefore, the manager who coaches the team is responsible for motivating his players to help them stay focused on future matches. And to develop their confidence. On this basis, motivation is important because it can help a person forget about the past and move on.

Now in business or organization motivation is important because, motivated employees help organizations survive. Motivated employees are more productive. If employees can be motivated they will work more efficiently and productivity will rise or they will produce a better quality of work. Besides, motivated employee always look for better ways to do a job, motivated employees are more quality oriented.

Simply we can say that. Motivation is important because, it puts human resources into action, Improves level of efficiency of employees like, increase productivity, reducing cost of operation and improving overall efficiency. It's Leads to achievement of organizational goals because it creates best possible utilization of resources, it makes the employees goal-directed and they act in purposive manner. It also builds friendly relationship which is very important because it improves employee's satisfaction. Finally, motivation leads to stability of workforce. This is very important from the point of view of reputation and goodwill of the company. The employees can remain loyal to the enterprise only when they have a feeling of participation in the management.This will lead to a good public image in the market which will attract competent and qualified people into the company. There is an old saying '' you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, it will only drink when it's thirsty''. So, you cannot get extra level of commitment and productivity from your employee unless they are motivated and that's why it's so important.

So, what motivate people or how can people be motivated?

This is a common question arise. People can be motivated by many means, mainly money such as salary, reward, incentives and non-monetary like threat, reorganisation etc

Workers in many organizations need something to keep them working. Most times the salary of the employee is not enough to keep him or her working for an organization. Although ''money'' is considered as a best motivator for, however, sometimes just working for salary is not enough for employee to stay at an organization. An employee must be motivated to work for a company. If no motivation is present in an employee, then that employee's quality of work or all work in general will deteriorate.

At lower level of Maslow's hierarchy of need, money is a motivator; however it tends to have a motivating effect on staff that lasts only for a short period, (in accordance with Herzberg's two-factor model of motivation). At a higher level of hierarchy, praise, respect, reorganisation, empowerment and a sense of belonging are far more powerful motivator than money, as both Abraham Maslow's theory of motivation and Douglas McGregor's theory of X theory of Y demonstrate.

The average is workplace is about midway between the extremes of high threat and high opportunity. Motivation by threat is dead end strategy, and naturally staffs are more attracted to the opportunity side of motivation than the threat side. Motivation is a powerful tool that can lead to employee working at their most efficient level of production.

The assumptions of Maslow and Herzberg were challenged by a classic theory at Vauxhall Motors's UK manufacturing plant. This introduced the concept of orientation to work and distinguished three main ordinations: instrumental (where work is a means to an end), bureaucratic (where work is a source of status, security and immediate reward), and solidarity (which prioritises group loyalty). Other theories which expended and expended those of Maslow and Herzberg like vroom's expectancy theory tend to stress cultural differences and the fact that individuals tend to be motivated by different factors at different time.

According to the ''system of scientific management'' developed by Fredric Winslow Taylor, a workers motivation is solely determined by pay, and therefore management need not consider psychological or social accepts of work. In contrast, David McClelland believed that worker could not motivated by the mere need for money, infect, extrinsic motivation could extinguish intrinsic motivation such as achievement motivation. For McClelland, satisfaction lay in aligning a person's life with their fundamental motivations. Another theorist, Elton Mayo found that the social contacts a worker has at workplace are very important and that boredom and repitiveness of tasks lead to reduced motivation. Mayo believed that, workers could be motivated by acknowledging their social needs and making them feel important. As a result, employees were given freedom to make decision on the job and greater attention was paid to informal work groups. Mayo named the model the ''Hawthorne effect''.

In ''essentials of organizational behaviour'' Robbins and judge examine recognition programs as motivators and identify five principles that contribute to the success of an employee incentive program. These are:

Reorganisation of employee's individual differences and clear identification of behaviour deemed worthy of recognition.

Allowing employees to participate

Linking reward to performance.

Rewarding of nominators

Visibility of the recognition process.

Apart from these, there are many things that could be worked as motivator. Such as:

Job design: Simplification of the job, proper training, and flexibility can motivate employee.

Job enrichment: giving the employee decision making task, freedom to decide, encourage into participation in the planning process and giving regular feedback is also motivating

Job rotation. Avoiding repitivness in work put employees into different work with the time make employee motivated and feel challenge. Otherwise, they become bored doing same work over and over and thereby de-motivate as well

Job optimisation: Skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy also motivate people.

In conclusion we can say that motivation plays an important role in our life. In this economic downturn, in-order to survive business needs motivated people. Because motivation helps employees to be more productive and productive employee make the company more profitable. But to motivate other we need to motivate ourselves. Without motivating ourselves we cannot motivate others. Will you be motivated by the manager who comes late every day? The company need to set clear goal, because it is impossible for any individual, any team or group of people, to be motivated without a clear and specific goal. We also need to recognize their achievement or in other words we need to give employee proper recognition for their performance. Because, people like to see that their work isn't being ignored. We also need to give people the trust and respect they deserve. We need to create opportunity, give people the opportunity to advance. Let them know that hard work will pay off. In companies like Sainsbury or Tesco, you can start your carrier as a customer assistant, and then you can become the team leader, floor supervisor, assistant manager and manager as well. This opportunity of progression like these, company must show to the employee, which will automatically motivate them. The company need to give proper feedback and corrected them if they do anything wrong. Finally, company need to give employee their freedom of speech, in other words need to give them the chance to participate and let them believe that they are the part of company and their advice counts. In companies like John Lewis, all employees are the shareholder of the company. This is very motivating. That's how we should motivate people and that's how motivation as a concept can be established in our workplace.


The Organizational Environment, study text, third edition, (2009, June) chapter 13, ''motivating individuals and groups'' pp. 301-326.

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