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Motivation is very significant in realizing 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 started picking up in 20th century after it was established that employees were becoming lazy and needed close and constant supervision in order to perform as per the expectation. It was later found out that when workers are motivated, they are likely to perform better with little control.
Fulop and Linstead (1999, pp.136) ascertained that when employees are rewarded accordingly for their good and satisfactory performance, they become motivated and perform better which quite healthy for the production of organizations and companies. In order to initiate motivation, the following practices should be developed: reduce working time, spiraling wages, fringe benefits, human relations training, sensitivity training, communication enhancement, job participation and employee counseling among others (Herzberg, 2003, pp. 88 - 91). Apparel Manufacturing company has embraces necessary practices, which has enable it motivate its employees, thereby retaining its good staff and at the same time improving the performance of the company.
In addition, the company pays its employees very good remuneration or wages of an average of 12 USD per hour, which translate about 120 USD per day. This is far much above the wages that similar firms offer their employees. For instance, a number of garment factories in Los Angeles pay their employees a wage of about 35 USD a day, which is lower than the wages of Apparel Manufacturing Company by about 85 USD. The company also offers other benefits such as health care, bus passes, free classes, free parking services, paid time off, subsidized lunch among many others.
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, 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 programmes.
Figure 1: Maslow's theory of Hierarchy of needs
Source: Tutor2u, n.d. Motivation - Theories. [Online]. Available at: http://tutor2u.net/business/gcse/people_motivation_theories.htm [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, "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
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 screen-printing and embroidery as well as promotion products industry. Reasons behind such success are competent, well skilled and motivated human resource. It has been ascertained that the industry is quite preferable among several similar firms in Los Angeles.
The Apparel Manufacturing 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, 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.
Worker Motivation Strategies in Apparel Manufacturing Company
Classical examples of evidence that the management of Apparel manufacturing company is ultimately committed to worker motivation is seen in various perspectives. The key strategies applied by the company management are based on the company's Total Quality Management (TQM) efforts. These strategies can be summarized to main points as shown below.
Job rotation: The Apparel manufacturing company management has through job rotation created a 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 experiences. Through this approach, the company has been able to expose its workers to different departments, increasing their experience and apparently boosting their morale at work. Indeed, job rotation has been a sure strategy in the motivation of workers in the Apparel manufacturing company.
Job Simplification: The Company of this study has also applied the job simplification strategy in motivating its workers. Through this approach, the company has broken down its entire production process into simpler tasks which are easier to carry out. These tasks have been delegated to specific relevant sections of departments in the company setting. Through this approach, the company has actualized increased productivity with less effort either mentally or physically.
Reduction of working hours: It has been proved through practice in the company that one of the ways of motivating workers to work is by depriving them of the opportunity to work. Overtime, the average worker time has been reduced gradually from up to ten hours and now to as low as six hours a day. This principle has the effect of motivating employees to work harder in the less time available. Studies show that motivated workers normally seek more time to work, not less. Therefore, reducing time in spent 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: Apparel Manufacturing Company 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 showed by various organizational behavior studies that production is depended on rewards. Higher rewards imply higher the performance and vice versa. In this understanding, the Apparel manufacturing 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 motivation building 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. Studies show that in the past, 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 in taking part in production activities are to attain social welfare and to find personal satisfaction. Workers today are more aware of their rights and obligations. For this reason, the Apparel Manufacturing Company has not lagged in responding positively to this change in order. The company management has overtime reduced the time spent at the work place, increased worker benefits and advantages. Some of these benefits include medical cover and other allowances. They also include regular paid vacations for outstanding workers. The workers in this company in seeing this realize that their management is up to date and meant for their welfare. In this sense, the company workers are motivated.
Personnel training: The Apparel Manufacturing company management is commendable for its value in employee training. As the objectives of employees have are shifting towards self satisfaction in the work place among other objectives, this company's management has not lagged in ensuring that its workers are priority in training. In the just ended economic year, 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. According to studies, 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 quantity in company production.
Communication: Through communication, activities in any production process are run smoothly. In this sense, the Apparel Manufacturing Company has taken role in facilitating its communication process. Major in its strategy has been the revision of its work space lay out from closed to open. This enables fast and easy communication among workers. The fact that one can see how the other workers are busy with their work motivates each worker to stay busy and concentrate. This is unlike the case in closed office layout where workers can easily lazy around without getting noticed.
Worker Commitment to Jobs in Apparel Production Company
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 so also 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 Apparel Manufacturing 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. Recent company's interest in the area of violation of psychological contracts suggests that emotions are an important part of understanding commitment as well as the reason why people withdraw commitment or seem to lose motivation or interest in their work. It is clear from the research that motivation is very complex, having material and deeper psychological and spiritual aspects. 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 several researches conducted on job design have 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. In addition, motivation has been found out to vary from one culture to another and that globalization has not been able to neutralize cultures despite how extent it has spread. Research on whether effect of motivation is different between women and men has proved that both sexes have common understanding to job commitment. On the other hand, the level of commitment is more extensive among men compared to women. Even though women embrace commitment, they prefer such commitments that will accord them lower visibility as well as meaning that is more traditional that are associated with commitment.
Strategies to boosting worker motivation
There are various strategies that the Apparel Manufacturing 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 Apparel Manufacturing 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. Apparel manufacturing company 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, is also taken care of in apparel Company. 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.
Assessing Worker Motivation Levels
One of the ways in assessing worker motivation levels is through work performance tests. The Apparel Manufacturing Company has in this sense developed strategic milestones for conducting performance tests both per individual workers and collectively in sections or departments. Through the performance results, 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.
Motivation of employees is a very important component of management in organization. Motivated employees have been found to perform better thereby increasing productivity of the companies and organizations. 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. Their application in the Apparel Manufacturing Company 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 Apparel Manufacturing 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 listed list the needs of employee from psychological needs, safety and security needs, belonging needs, esteem needs and personal growth needs, which are important in that order. It is true that employees will have dived attention and not concentrate at all in their work if they do not have the psychological needs, which are the main basic needs of shelter, water and food. It is therefore 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 can enable them access such needs. Such needs should be followed closely by the safety and security needs to ensure safety of employees. It would motivate employees if their employer were concerned of their security at place of residence, at work and between work and place of residence. Employees should be loved and made to feel to be important to the organization in order to instill the sense of belongingness. Apparel company value its workers and offer them good wages and training programs, which enable 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 for the better, which in turn translate to increased performance and productivity.