Motivation and leadership in organizations

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The success of any organization, and in our case we will discussing that of a company, is the result of a healthy work environment which is based firstly on how motivated the employees are and to which extent they associate their own values and beliefs with the ones of the company. Being able to motivate workers is a key skill that anyone attempting to have a leading position must acquire. The word "motivation" itself is derived from the Latin word movere, which means "to move". It means how the leader manages to channel the energy of the employees by "moving" them in the same direction as the company's target.

There are many ways to define motivation, all pointing to the same end and one comprehensive definition we came across is from BusinessDictionary.com which states that motivation is represented by "Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested in and committed to a job, role, or subject, and to exert persistent effort in attaining a goal." (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/motivation.html) Internal factors or motivators determine the employees to act out of pleasure, importance or desire, while external factors depend on how the leaders manage to inspire us, through work conditions, safety, benefits, affiliation, recognition of merits and other reward systems, including salary and promotions. These external factors give the employees a feeling of approval and satisfaction with their work, while meeting their personal needs.

In order to analyze various motivation theories, the literature of this field is "primarily concerned with (1) what energizes human behavior, (2) what directs or channels such behavior, and (3) how this behavior is maintained or sustained." (Porter, Bigley & Steers, 2003:1)

In time we have seen a shift in motivational theories, from motivation seen as a form of fear of punishment (physical, financial or social) to an inner desire that is not engineered by salary, but by feeling oneself useful, important, by getting satisfaction from the work done, and this has been achieved mainly through empowerment of the employee in a positive and creative work environment.

3. Motivational Theories

There are several different motivational theories and techniques that people and organizations should be aware of. There are so many that it would be impossible to list them all and explain how they relate. So we are going to use Maslow's pyramid as an examplehttp://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQEtS1ZDJdsK15BFTTFTSd-ZEEJWsVyhcpnc6yox16AGm4OXJ3Mhttp://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-DFc8SaPw3-jORNZsug6u5B6_mBObyq-1CLr5_Zq5L7FYU1a7 and explain a motivational theories that match each level of the pyramid.

http://images.wikia.com/psychology/images/c/c3/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.png

Starting at the bottom of the pyramid is Physiological needs. This is considered the most basic of needs such as food, water and sleep. The person advances to the next level only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied. The next is safety; this refers to security, employment, family and health.

Extrinsic motivation can be used for the first step of the pyramid. Even though most people think of this as getting rewards for a good job, there is another category that falls under this. "Self-determination theory proposes that extrinsic motivation can be internalized by the individual if the task fits with their values and beliefs and therefore helps fulfill their basic psychological needs." (psychology.wikia.com)

Both intrinsic/extrinsic motivations also apply for the Safety step of the pyramid. Using Fredrick Herzberg's two-factory theory we are able to divide this into two separate categories, motivators and hygiene factors. Motivators include "achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth" while hygiene factors include "company policies, salary, coworker relations" (Porter, Bigley, Steers, 2003: 9) and fringe benefits that do not motivate if present, but if absent, results in demotivation.

Love/Belonging is the third step of Maslow's pyramid. Everyone is motivated to feel loved or to belong. It is difficult to focus on self-motivation if you are out of sorts with friends, family, or feel isolated. Consequently, peer pressure and family discouragement against set goals or dreams can lessen motivation. Self-motivation is understood best as emotional intelligence. There are four categories of emotional intelligence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence):

Self-awareness - the ability to read one's emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

Self-management - involves controlling one's emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

Social awareness - the ability to sense, understand, and react to others' emotions while comprehending social networks.

Relationship management - the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Esteem is the next step on the ladder or pyramid. It is based on the premise that performance motivation results from the way broad components of personality are directed towards performance. As a result, it includes a range of dimensions that are relevant to success at work and feelings of accomplishment.

Self-Actualization is the top of the pyramid. This is often stated as the goal-setting theory of motivation. This is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined end state. Goal setting theory is one of the most popular theories adopted in organizational psychology.

4. Motivation Myths

Because motivation is a complex phenomenon and its boundaries are often blurred, there are misconceptions as to what motivates employees in their work. We call them "motivation myths" and in this paper we wish to approach and destroy some of them, as follows:

Money as a motivator - A pay rise or a promotion is an acknowledgement of work well done, but they are not motivators to further performance. Sometimes it can even be the opposite, meaning a safer position might de-motivate on the long run.

Fear as a motivator - An employee cannot experience motivation if he/she is on constant alert that he/she is being observed or if he/she is being threatened to lose the job, in case of poor performance.

What motivates the leader motivates the employees - We are all individuals, have different needs and therefore are motivated by different things. While some are motivated by recognition of a job well done, others are by spending more time with the family, others by salary or benefits and job security, and so on.

Increased job satisfaction means increased job performance - This statement is correct if the goals of the organization are aligned with the goals of the employees, otherwise an employee can get satisfaction from a job that does not benefit the company, because it does not relate to the end target of that company.

Some people just don't have motivation - Everyone has motivation, some towards things they like and others away from things they do not like. The task of a leader is to find out what motivates each of the employees and to channel their energy in a positive direction. (http://managementhelp.org/guiding/motivate/basics.htm)

5. Basic techniques of Employee Motivation

Motivation is a behavior that you can influence but not create. Even highly motivated individuals can get frustrated, discouraged, or tired on a project. Team members need to know they are valued, their efforts are noticed, and their good work is appreciated. Remember that each employee is different and motivated or rewarded by different things.

There are 5 basic steps to remember:

Motivating employees starts with motivating yourself.

Always work to align goals of the organization with the goals of the employees.

Understand what motivates your employees.

Recognize that supporting employee motivation is a process.

Support employee motivation by using organizational structures.

Have some fun in your workplace - 1/2 page - Jake

Plan for fun and having fun at work are two different things as everyone has his own understanding of the term fun at work.

Having fun at work brings benefits for both employers and group leaders. This will motivate yours employees and create a positive work environment for everyone and in this environment relationships are built among management/employee and customer/employee.

Having your employees happy improves team work and at the end of the day your employees are satisfied with their work which will keep high the loyalty to the company and retain the best of the best on your team. This team will keep your customers satisfied and have your company's productivity and performance over the roof.

As we will see in this project Google is one of the most innovative companies in this area. They make sure their employees are happy, motivated and helped by the company in there every-day needs.

   b. Adjust to personality difference

One of the secrets to understand what motivates your employees is to understand who your employees are, what are their values and beliefs. In the globalized world of today, we cannot ignore the importance of different backgrounds and cultures. What motivates a Western employee, like career development and more challenging tasks may differ significantly from an Eastern employee, who could be motivated by spending more time with family and a work environment based on personal relationships rather than cold and strict procedures.

One important tool in realizing these differences is the research conducted by Geert Hofstede (http://www.geert-hofstede.com/) on employee value scores collected by IBM from over 70 countries, between 1967 and 1973, and grouped in 5 Value Dimensions: Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV), Masculinity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) and Long-Term Orientation (LTO). By analyzing each of the value dimension scores for a particular culture one gets a proper image of how the employees would react in a certain work situation, but then again we always have to keep in mind that even within one culture there are significant differences between individuals.

   c. Giving rewards/employee of the week/month, etc - 1/2 page - Jerry

   d. Have room for mistakes - 1/2 page - Jake

   e. Empower your employees

Empowering employees means delegating responsibilities and giving freedom to the employees to participate in the decision-making process. It can be in the form of self-administrating projects individually or as teamwork, where the only pressuring factor is the deadline. Successful empowerment is also the result of a smaller social distance between the leader and the employees (Stewart, 1994), where the employees are more relaxed and encouraged to express their opinion.

When delegating or empowering, the leader needs to inform the employees if he/she thinks they are on a wrong track, but this should not happen under a threat of taking back the power. The leader must be viewed as the coordinator but not the coercive force. Other sources suggest that the leader should "calibrate the authority" (Galford & Drapeau, 2002, p. 120), by being able to decide what he/she must do, find and train the right people to help with that and then delegate the rest.

6. Case Study - Google

Google is a public and profitable company that focuses mainly on Internet search engine services. Today Google is definitely one of the most popular search engines and is also one of the top 5 most powerful companies in the world. Google was founded back in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two graduates of Stanford University as search engineers. (http://google.about.com/od/googlebasics/p/whatisgoogle.htm). Google's breakthrough technology and continued innovation serve the company's mission of "organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful." (http://www.google.com/corporate). Google's competitive edge in its market is the fact that they have more resources compared to all the existing competitors. Google cares for all their employees by creating a positive environment, by attracting talented employees, people who are team workers, creative and want to have an amazing time doing it. Google motivates their employees, and they, the googlers "believe in the ability of technology to change the world, and are as passionate about their lives as they are about their work." (http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/lifeatgoogle/index.html).

How do they manage to achieve this? As explained in the text above by keeping the employees motivated. When researching for the Google-case study we found on their company site a list that explains the "Top 10 Reasons to Work at Google" (http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/lifeatgoogle/toptenreasons/index.html) and we want to share it with you because we think those are perfect examples of motivation in a workplace.

"Lend a helping hand" - teamwork is important and so is trying to help each other, Google promises that the company is close to the googlers and, also as a team company Google helps the rest of the world to have an easier life.

"Life is beautiful" - gives employees an opportunity to work for this company and also respect them, having as goal to make their life beautiful.

"Appreciation is the best motivation" - by appreciating the work that the googlers do the leaders acknowledge their efforts and give satisfaction, which will have a great positive impact on future motivation.

"Work and play are not mutually exclusive" - by offering fun activities that fit to all personalities for example gym, game rooms, pc games, relax rooms, laundry room, and others. Google have created all that the employees want in their life in order to be motivated and extra creative.

"We love our employees, and we want them to know it" - Google does not just love their employees but their families also helping them by financial boost, medical benefits, stock opportunities and many more. If googlers want something that Google doesnot offer, the leaders will get it for them.

"Innovation is our bloodline" - new ideas can make the company improve and give faster results to the billions of users worldwide and this is achieved through employees' efforts and motivation.

"Good Company everywhere you look" - for Google all employees are equal and they appreciate each individual as being very important.

"Uniting the world, one user at a time" - worldwide users use Google, meaning that the company has "access" to the whole world and offers help to more people each day.

"Boldly go where no one has gone before" - new ideas, teamwork, improvement, creativity, opportunities and so on. That is what made Google one of the top 5 companies worldwide in less than 13 years.

"There is such a thing as a free lunch after all" Google offers 24/7 free meals with best quality, delicious and made with care for all their employees.

Google is one of the top companies in less than 13 years and they achieve this by motivation of their employees, the high quality standards that they have, the teamwork, they are open for new ideas, creativity, improvement, etc. In our opinion Google is an example for companies worldwide to learn that motivating the employees is so important that it has the power to change the world.

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