There are misconceptions on the meaning of motivation and the ways in which it influences organisations if at all. Motivation can be seen as the drive an individual has to achieve a set goal; however Laurie J. Mullins (2005) describes motivation as "the direction and persistence of action." There has been a wide range of research concerning the topic of motivation; however there are still arguments on the extent to which it has an influence on existing businesses and if so how these businesses can use it to their advantage. I am quite intrigued by the idea of motivation, as my main aim at present is to become a Financial Manager. As a result of this main aim I have decided to broaden the ideas I have about individuals' thinking and the factors that increase their performance during the course of this assignment for future use.
Research and Observation
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Using books and online case studies I have found that it could be argued that motivation is quite a broad topic as there are many aspects to it; however I find that motivation is as simple as an individual's desire to achieve. Business analysts like Mullins (2007:251) have identified that motivation is not only brought about by the individual but also by the environment in which they are working in. Laurie J Mullins (2005) seems to believe that "performance = function (ability * motivation)" which seems to suggest that an individual's motivation to achieve is a factor of their performance (for example how well they get the job done). This then brings about the main question, 'how essential is motivation in a business setup'? How can motivation be practised in a given business set up?
The Volvo case study (Robbins, Judge, Campbell 2010); Volvo being a car manufacturing business, its goal was to motivate its employees to produce these quality cars which would in turn maximise its profits. In order to motivate its employees it decided to practice the strategies of a self-managed team, where the team members were responsible for producing the cars and had a supervisor to report to if any problems were to occur. Volvo genuinely believed that this autonomy would motivate employees to would harder, however it all went pear shaped as it turned out that the meetings with supervisors were now get-togethers where the team members criticised each other's performances to the supervisor. Having observed this strategy we find that this was not a form of motivation, as the individuals felt they had to work in order to reduce complaints about them to the team supervisors, not because they genuinely wanted to perform better. Many companies like Volvo set out to motivate their employees in various ways (such as the self-managed team), but I believe that the business should then be aware and monitor their strategies to make sure they go according to their plans. The way I see it is that the situation with Volvo may be seen as an ethical issue as the employee stress could have resulted due to the fact that they always had to watch their backs when working (due to the fact that they may have felt that their jobs were not secure). This thereby demonstrates that businesses have identified that their employees need to be motivated in order to perform on the job. This self-management strategy turned out to be a great strategy for the business' product line, but the real question is was this strategy an incentive?
Linstead, Fullop and Lilly (2004) point out McKenna (1999: 301) states that "the topic of motivation has lost its relevance and needs to be replaced with concepts such as 'sense making, 'identity' and 'diversity'. He seems to believe that motivation is brought about by the individual; organisation intervention suggests that the organisations are influencing or manipulating the situation as we have identified with the Volvo case study. McKenna (1999)'s theory being quite an interesting observation one is able to visualise what he was trying to put across (Volvo case study), but does this then mean that motivation can only be brought about by the individual, with it being essential to businesses?
There are other researchers such as Roy Jacques (1996:160-1) who believe that, "there are categories of workers who do not need motivation, who are more career and professionally oriented". However observing ourselves we find that each individual, not looking at whether they are career oriented or not, has days when they feel down or times when they do not feel like performing. There then has to be an incentive to encourage them to carry out their daily routines, such money or the need to socialise which we know as motivation incentives. Having acknowledged this observation, if an individual needs motivation to carry out their daily routines then we are reluctant to believe that (all the more) they will need them in order to perform at a high standard for the business to achieve its goals.
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As identified above, there are quite a number of theories different researchers have come up with, which now shape the way in which many individuals perceive motivation. All the theories above, in one way or another are stating that individuals need to be motivated in order to perform, thereby implying that the more motivated an individual is the higher their performance level will be. One of the well-known theories of motivation being Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Maslow's theory argues that individuals have a hierarchy of needs, that motivation is attained by satisfying higher order needs, as identified below;
Siemens is an organisation that has based its motivational theories for employees on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. This was a result of the organisation acknowledging that not only do production levels increase when its employees are motivated but other factors too, such as the fact that employees who are motivated feel that their work is valued, which inspires them to take pride in the tasks they perform. Ultimately Siemens has identified that with as a set of demotivated staff; the organisation loses out on benefitting from factors that revolve around production maximisation. An example is that if staff do not feel valued (an incentive to motivation) then the organisation is more likely to suffer from staff absences or high staff turnover as no individual desires to be in an environment where they feel they are not required. This then brings the topic back to product/profit maximisation; the more absent the employees are the less the organisation will produce and the less profit the organisation will make. The higher the employee turnover (job satisfaction is low) a business has the more money it has to spend on recruitment which means the more the business loses money. This altogether brings down the level of efficiency the production level of the business is. Here we have only identified one aspect in which motivation increases performance, there are many more such as the fact that motivated individuals are more willing to work together as they feel they are all working towards the same goal, self-achievement. This is implying that the more employees feel that their needs are being met, the more they are willing to achieve the business' needs, thereby stating that motivating employees in turn motivates the business.
Marchese M.C., 2003. Phycology applied to work; Concept Charts for Study and Review for Muchinsky's, 12;24
Linstead S, Fulop L, Lilley S, 2004. Management and Organisation; a critical text, 9; 281-282
Robbins S.P., Judge T.A., Campbell T.T., 2010. Organisational Behaviour, 6;140-195
Mullins L.J., 2005, 2007. Management and Organisational Behaviour, 4; 471-503, 7;250-285
Mckenna E 1994. Business Psychology & Organisation Behaviour; a student handbook, 2;63-107
The Siemens Case Study- http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case-study--motivation-within-a-creative-environment--89-405-2.php#ixzz13WeKNXsZ