Management and Motivation in Relation to Apparel Manufacturing Company


1.1 Motivation of Apparel Manufacturing Company

Motivation signifies reaching good productivity in firms since it enhances performance of employees. According to Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp.136), motivation is "the internal psychological process of initiating, energizing, directing and maintaining goal-directed behavior". Motivation commenced in the 20th century having identified that employees were relaxed and needed close and constant supervision in order to perform to the expectation. It was identified that when workers are motivated, their performance are much better with minimum supervision.

Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp.136) ascertained that when employees are recognized & rewarded for their performance, they become motivated and perform better which contributes a healthy production of an organization. To initiate motivation, the following practices should be developed: reduce working time, spiraling wages, fringe benefits, human relations training, sensitivity training, communication enhancement, job satisfaction and employee counseling among others (Herzberg, 2003, pp. 88 - 91). Apparel Manufacturing company has embraces necessary practices, which motivate its employees, thereby retaining its recognized staff and at the same time improving the performance of the company.

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MAS Linea Aqua(Pvt) Lt. ( LA) is a joint venture between Sri Lanka apparel manufacture MAS holding group, the world's leading producer of swimwear Speedo International Ltd. and Brandot International a US based Investment Company. The factory has grown into a state of art manufacturing facility that can drive a world class product. Annual turnover USD 75 million while maintaining 3350 work force. Dedicated customer focus team with expertise in the areas of development, sourcing, pricing, purchasing, planning and production will ensure that all orders are fulfilled to customer satisfaction, seen the product from design to delivery. With an extensive supplier based from Europe through the Far East, the company can offer a wide range from fashion to performance price competitive in keeping with customer demands with a state of art fully air conditioned modular manufacturing facility which allows speed and flexibility in the process. A high stand of HR Management is been maintained. The company maintains a strict compliance of global / ethical standards.

2.0 Theories of Motivation

Several theories of motivation have been put forward to explain the content and process of motivation. Process theories of motivation include Adams' equity theory, Expectancy theory and goal-setting theory, while content theories of motivation include Maslow's hierarchy of needs, theory X and theory Y for McGregor and two-factor theory of Herzberg. Content theories of motivation according to Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp. 143) suggest internalized and instinctive forces are responsible for the motivation of human behavior since they are derived from both psychological and biological factors.

2.1 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow developed Hierarchy of Needs theory from clinical surveillance. The Hierarchy of Needs model was developed from psychological representation attributed to social factors affecting mental health. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory highlights five main needs in a hierarch in a bid to explain human behavior. They include psychological need, safety and belonging. The psychological needs are the basic needs such as shelter, food and water that one needs for survival. It is argued that such needs can be attained at workplace by means of heating, space, work and pay. The needs of security and safety are attributed to one's feeling of freedom and security from danger to existence (Tutor2u, n.d). Such needs should be offered to employees at workplace simply ensuring general security to all by offering services such as job security, health lapses, and security against attack, pensions and insurance schemes. The third need in the hierarchy after psychological needs and safety is belongingness, which all about love and affection for others in the organization, which achieved through teamwork. The fourth level is esteem needs include need for self-respect, respect for others and positive image at workplace, which are attained mainly through public recognition of status of position or work. The last level in Maslow's hierarch of needs is need for personal growth, which is gained through development opportunities and training programs.

Figure 1: Maslow's theory of Hierarchy of needs

Source: Tutor2u, n.d. Motivation - Theories. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan 2011].

2.2 McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y

McGregor according to Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp. 146) criticized theory X, which is the traditional management practices based on the following assumption as stated by Fulop and Linstead, "People have an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if they can, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to get them to contribute adequate effort". The third assumption about theory X is that averagely human beings prefer being directed, have minimal ambition, neglect their responsibility and need security as the first priority. McGregor asserted that theory X does not explain or describe human nature, which it claims. As a result, the theory is perceived to be limiting thereby preventing people from noticing possibilities that exist in other managerial strategies. The level of commitment depends on the rewards aimed at meeting the mentioned objectives. Maslow argued that the most important needs are that of esteem, which is intrinsic to work.

2.3 Herzberg's two-factor Theory

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According to Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp. 148 - 149), Herzberg suggest that the factors, which affect commitment do not enhance satisfaction and at the same time eliminate dissatisfaction. Herzberg reasoned that the factors fall in two main groups of satisfiers and dissatisfies. He called the satisfier factors the motivators while dissatisfies are the hygiene factors. The motivators relate to job and they include job satisfaction, achievement, advancement and responsibility, while dissatisfies include factors relating to employee interaction with working environment such as salary, work condition among others.

2.4 Adam's Equity Theory

The equity theory of Adams explains that people normally try to achieve fairness as well as justice in what he terms social exchanges. This theory highlights the fact that there exists an employee-employer relationship as the central component, where the employee inputs include skills, experience and education. The employees expect outcome or return of their input in terms of pay, recognition and fringe benefits. Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp. 150) argues that there exist equity when the ratio of outcomes to inputs is the same among workers of the same protocol.

2.5 Expectancy Theory

Expectancy theory explains that the behavior of people is attributed to the expected outcomes, which can consequently be used to predict human behavior at workplace or any given situation with at least two choices or alternatives. The central component of this theory is because people at workplace are rational and they contemplate what to do in order to be rewarded. Vroom argues that perception of expectancy is affected mainly by previous success at work place, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Another important element to the expectancy theory is instrumentality, which depicts one's belief as instrumental in influencing performance.

2.6 The Goal-setting Theory

Setting a goal is a process that is employed by several organizations to with an aim of increasing efficiency as well as effectiveness by identifying intended results. The mechanisms of setting goal include directing attention on the relevant and important things, regulating effort in shaping selective effort and increasing persistence as well as fostering action plans and strategies. Goal-setting theory explains that manner of setting goals, self-perception and incentives influence attitudes towards goal set.

3.0 Motivation Application in Apparel Manufacturing Company

Apparel Manufacturing Company has achieved since it started operating in the industry since 1981(Apparel Manufacturing, n.d.). The company enjoys a strong reputation of supplying uniform and corporate apparel to several industries. Current, Apparel Manufacturing Company is a leader in giving total solution from design to delivery to their customers. Reasons behind these are competent, well skilled and motivated human resource.

The Company holds its employees with high esteem by offering them one of the best services in the industry which include one of the best remuneration among other benefits such as health care, bus passes, paid time off, free breakfast, subsidized lunch, free classes and free bicycles among many others. Such services have been proven beyond reasonable doubt that they motivate employees, which in turn improve their performance. Improved employee performance result into dedicated effort in the production process and serving the firm's clients. Motivation therefore generally motivates employee thereby increasing productivity and economic return.

3.1 Worker Motivation Strategies in Apparel Manufacturing Company

Classic example the management of Linea Aqua is committed to worker motivation in various perspectives. The key strategies applied are based on the company's Lean manufacturing system efforts. These strategies could be summarized to main points as shown below.

Job rotation: The management has decided to rotate the jobs creating a new learning, healthier and motivating environment for workers to operate. In definition, job rotation is the exposure of different specialists in the production process to different tasks meant to boost the individual workers knowledge/skills. Through this exercise, the company has been able to expose its workers to different departments, increasing their experience and boosting their morale at work. Indeed, job rotation has been a sure strategy in the motivation of workers in the company.

Job Simplification: From this study the company has applied job simplification strategy in motivating its workers. Through this approach, the production process has been divided into simpler tasks which are easy to carry out. Industrial Engineering Department has been delegated to re-engineer all the activities and develop alternative method through innovation. Through this the company has actualized increased productivity with less effort either mentally or physically.

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Reduction of working hours: Results from practice in the company one of the ways of motivating workers not to depriving them of the opportunity to work. Overtime, the average worker time has reduced gradually from ten hours to as low as six hours a day. This principle has affected motivating employees to work harder within the fewer time frames. Therefore, reducing time in the work place has a net effect of encouraging workers to work towards higher quantities and better qualities in production.

Salary and wage increase: The management has further used the wage spiraling approach to motivate its workers. Over the times in its history, the Management has continued to increase salaries and wages of workers. It has been identified that production is depended on rewards. Higher rewards can expect higher performance vice versa. In this context the company management has taken advantage of its workers objectives. Their major goal being to earn a living, the management has insinuated a clear progressive salary and wage revision system. In efforts to seek the next wage and salary level, workers have kept working harder and better. This has apparently acted as an incentive towards building motivation among the workers.

Fringe Benefits: As the world moves to a new order of welfare and efficiency, the Apparel Company has not been left behind. Past studies show that, workers worked to earn a living and to develop a career. Workers in the past worked in quest for income and security. However, recent studies show different trends in the 21st century. Today, workers goal is to participate in production activities & to attain social welfare and find personal satisfaction. Workers today are more aware of their rights and obligations. For this reason, the company has not lagged in responding positively to this change. The company management has reduced overtime, increased worker benefits and advantages such as medical cover and other allowances. They also include regular paid vacations for outstanding workers. The workers in this company sees and realize that their management is up to date and meant for their welfare. In this sense, the company workers are motivated.

Personnel training: The company management is commendable for its value in employee training. As the objectives of employees are shifting towards self-satisfaction in the work place among other objectives, the management has not lagged in ensuring that its workers are priority in training. The company sponsored a number of its employees to career oriented courses, partly for individual development and overall for the betterment of the company with regards to worker motivation issues. When workers are provided with more of professional competence through training and education programs, they are encouraged to work on towards better quality and increased production.

3.2 Job Enlargement, enrichment &enhancement through Job design:

Linea Aqua uses its job grading mechanism to place employees on different pay bands, and the source document used in the process of job evaluation is the Job Description. Based on the JD a cross functional team would evaluate whether the size of the job is expanded, whether the job requires in depth thinking or whether the complexity of the job due to thinking challenge has increased. This certainly adds value to the job applicant making him understand the development, the role that is supposed to be played, clarity through chain of command, the skills that needs to be acquired or developed in order to meet his or her targets, and knowing the structures which motivates them towards career progression which is commonly known as succession. Specially when we consider the executive layer and above unlike the worker and staff category they are much more sensitive to achievement and recognition or attaining self esteem and actualization needs as depicted on the higher layers of the Need Hierarchy.

3.3 Reward & Recognition through Performance Appraisals:

Not many organizations practice proper methodologies of appraisals, which are directly linked to reward and recognition. As a result employees complain about not giving a fair hearing to their justifications, playing favourites in the organization and the work horse being the work horse forever. In order to avoid the subjectivity of reward and recognition LA uses a systematic reward scheme linked to performance. This has helped the organization to keep its employees motivated and to get away with de-motivation which is created and fed through subjective decisions made in the absence of a comprehensive appraisal system.

3.4 Empowering Employees at different levels through different strategies:

LA has two sets of employee categories that need to be kept motivated. These two subsets vary mainly due to their level of education. Hence empowering these subsets to keep them motivated is addressed in accordance to their level of needs. For example the lowest layer known as the Worker category which constitutes 90% of females - the Machine Operators are empowered to uplift their living needs through the Women Go Beyond Program. This program is specially designed for women enabling them to expand their horizons in order to build up their families and life styles. This is given to them in the form of advice, legal education, inculcating entrepreneurship qualities and recognizing them as leaders of the society. Executives or employees with an educational background are empowered through the learning culture that the organization has created for them. The source tool used is a shared point where individuals share their learning, views about topics that interest them which also adds value to their lives. Further the organization encourages learning and development for individuals and invests the skills of the employees to the business. The knowledge and skills absorbed through these programmes are then again captured through the skill matrix which visualizes the individual's knowledge base after training. Employees are recognized and based on their assessment results are segregated as a separate pool. This pool will be given priority for Training & Development as well as for Succession. Through all these strategies the organization has attempted to create motivation through self-actualization needs.

3.5 Worker Commitment to Jobs in Linea Aqua.

Overall, there are common features to motivation, but what motivates one person rather than another is subject to infinite variation. According to research, life experience, age, physical and psychological make-up will be significant variables, but will gender, race and ethnicity. People may be motivated differently at different times and in different contexts. In addition, emotion is an important and neglected part of work life, and theories of motivation have tended to view motivation as a sort of calculus rather than a form of inspiration. In the Company, both approaches have something to offer, but the protracted neglect of the emotional impact on motivation means that we still have much to learn about it. It is clear that motivation is very complex. The old carrot and stick model, which oscillate between bribery and bullying, has been superseded. Although simple linear relationships between what a manager does and how a worker responds, has been discredited, there is still no shortage of effort to improve workplace motivation. In this understanding, the company has conducted several researches to help improve worker commitment in the work place.

The job design has been found to be very important since they have proved that indeed, commitment motivates employees. A job well designed has great influence in the attitude and perception of workers. It has been established that in the contemporary society that trust, commitment and emotional labor are significant factors, which contribute to performance.

3.6 Strategies to boosting worker motivation

There are various strategies that the company has taken to boost its worker motivation. These are in line with the theories of motivation in an organizational setting and are as discussed earlier. Several theories of motivation have been put forward to explain the content and process of motivation. Process theories of motivation include Adams' equity theory, Expectancy theory and goal-setting theory, while content theories of motivation include Maslow's hierarchy of needs, theory X and theory Y for McGregor and two-factor theory of Herzberg. Content theories of motivation according to Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp. 143) suggest internalized and instinctive forces are responsible for the motivation of human behavior since they are derived from both psychological and biological factors. These have been discussed earlier in the paper and in the same way, have been applied in the company.

According to goal-setting theory of motivation for instance, attitudes and goals of employees towards the goals of organization is influenced by incentives, self-perception and the way the goals are set. Linea Aqua has taken necessary precaution by training the employees to improve their self-perception through training programs of the company. The company also offers several incentives in terms of benefits concerning wages, insurance schemes, pension, subsidized transport, and lunches among many others. Expectancy theory, which asserts that employees are motivated when they know that they will gain benefits that, is proportional to the effort the offer in job performance.

For instance, the company offers the intrinsic (intangibles) and extrinsic (tangible) rewards the theory propagates to its employees. The extrinsic reward the company offers to its employees include good remuneration, health care, free transport and lunch, insurance schemes and parking among others. The intrinsic rewards are the acknowledgements of the employees' performance, which enable them, develop a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

3.7 Assessing Worker Motivation Levels

One of the ways in assessing worker motivation levels is through work performance tests. The Company has developed strategic milestones for conducting performance tests both per individual workers and collectively in sections or departments. Through the key performance results (KPI), the company management is able to analyze and relate the results to the overall prevailing company environment. Then they are able to tell whether an individual or department is either improving or dropping. In this way, it is possible to tell whether workers are motivated or discouraged.

4.0 Conclusion

Motivation of employees is a very important component of management in an organization. Motivated employees have been found to perform better thereby increasing productivity of the company and organization. Several motivators have been formulated and applied in different firms. However, motivators that have been found to be effective on long-term basis are those that aim to change the attitudes and behaviors of employees. One of the major means of motivating employees that Herzberg propagates is job enrichment, which he argues that when a job is made interesting at the expense of organizations, employees are bound to like the job and will feel motivated most of the time.

However, much as the theories of motivation may sound successful, they are more complicated in practice. Linea Aqua has proved this and has provided several reasons worth forming a critique of the theories. For instance, the theories discussed above only touch on specific issues in the workers esteem in the work place. For instance, Herzberg's two factor theory only touches on the aspect of satisfaction and dissatisfaction of the worker. It does not acknowledge the place of company requirements which may at times mismatch the workers interests. In the same way, other theories have their limitations and therefore, this paper is justified to attest that the theories of motivation in the work place are only partly reliable and therefore limited. However, it has been said over and over again these it is better half a loaf than no loaf at all and so, the company has chosen to uphold these theories as discussed below.

Many psychologists, sociologists and philosophers have developed several theories on both the content and process of motivation. The theories include Maslow's hierarchy of needs, McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y, Herzberg's two-factor Theory, Adam's Equity Theory, Expectancy Theory and Goal-setting Theory. Maslow's theory of hierarch of needs is for instance quite reasonable and applicable. Maslow enlisted the needs of employee which ranged from psychological needs to safety and security needs. He enlisted esteem/personal growth needs as well. It is correct that employees will not pay attention or concentrate in their work if they do not have the psychological needs. Therefore it's important that employees look into the welfare of employees by ensuring that they have access to affordable survival needs by offering them reasonable remuneration that enable them to meet such needs. Such needs should be monitored closely by the safety and security needs to ensure safety of employees. Employees should be cared & respected, made to feel important to the organization in order to instill the sense of belongingness. As the company values its workers good wages and training programs are offered, which enables the employees to acquire all the needs in the Maslow's hierarchy.

Herzberg's two-factor theory of satisfiers and dissatisfies enhances job satisfaction through the means of motivators and eliminates job dissatisfaction by the means of hygiene factor. This is crucial because job satisfaction does not necessarily mean absence of job dissatisfaction. Adams' equity theory is also quite logical in the sense that it tries to eliminate inequity in organization, which can be a great impediment to performance as well as productivity. Apparel enhances job satisfaction by offering wages on equal basis depending on the effort of employees. All the theories of motivation are crucial in changing the attitudes and behaviors of employee which in turn translate to increased performance and productivity.