Proposal for a Study into Improving Software Employee Motivation.

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This research document presents a scientific model of the software project management process based on focused field interviews and includes a detailed case study that was conducted to test the model. Covers human resource management, software production, controlling and planning

2.2 Professional Project Claim

This Why study and apply employee motivation principles?

Quite apart from the benefit and moral value of an altruistic approach to treating colleagues as human beings and respecting human dignity in all its forms, research and observations show that well motivated employees are more productive and creative. The inverse also holds true. The schematic below indicates the potential contribution the practical application of the principles this paper has on reducing work content in the organization.

Employee motivation is one of the toughest factors for managers. This is because employees do not respond to the same motivations. Every person is different and so are his or hers likes and dislikes. To motivate them to perform in the best way they can it is very important for the managers to identify and understand the pulse of each one of them. Some of the easiest steps to motivate employees are to remain excited and passionate about your mission, making sure that everyone in the organization understands and can communicate, to ensure that employees understand how they fit into the process of fulfilling the organization's mission and to make a connection between the mission and the individual values and goals of your employees.

Literature Review

Motivation theorists and their theories

The theories are concerned with identifying factors with in the individuals which "energize, direct, and sustain behavior". Process theories concentrate on how employee behavior is initiated, redirected and halted. Such theories focus on certain psychological process underlying actions, in particular how individuals make decisions that are related to their behavior. Many of the motivation theories are not county compatible which means that these theories do not necessarily work in different institutional frameworks. Various studies, from which some will be introduced, have examined the most prominent motivation theories and their country compatibility. Nevertheless, these studies often merely conclude that the motivation theories are not applicable in all countries with out providing any further insight on what then actually motivates the employees in those countries where the motivation theories do not apply.

Although the process of management is as old as history, scientific management as we know it today is basically a twentieth century phenomenon. Also, as in some other fields, practice has been far ahead of theory.

This is still true in the field of management, contrary to the situation in some of the pure sciences. For instance, Albert Einstein formulates a theory, which is later proved by decades of intensive research and experimentation. Not so in the field of management.

In fact this field has been so devoid of real fundamental work so far, that Herbert A. Simon is the first management theoretician to win the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1978. His contribution itself gives a clue to the difficulty, bordering on impossibility, of real fundamental work in this field concerned with people. In order to arrive at a correct decision, the manager must have all the information necessary relevant to the various factors and all the time in the world to analyze the same.

This is seldom, if ever, the case. Both the information available and the time at the manager's disposal are limited, but he or she must make a decision. And the decision is, therefore, not the optimum one but a 'satisfying' one - in effect, a satisfactory compromise under the real conditions prevailing in the management 'arena'.

3.1.1 Traditional theory 'X'

This can best be ascribed to Sigmund Freud who was no lover of people, and was far from being optimistic. Theory X assumes that people are lazy; they hate work to the extent that they avoid it; they have no ambition, take no initiative and avoid taking any responsibility; all they want is security, and to get them to do any work, they must be rewarded, coerced, intimidated and punished. This is the so-called 'stick and carrot' philosophy of management. If this theory were valid, managers will have to constantly police their staff, which they cannot trust and who will refuse to cooperate. In such an oppressive and frustrating atmosphere, both for the manager and the managed, there is no possibility of any achievement or any creative work. But fortunately, as we know, this is not the case.

3.1.2 Theory 'Y' - Douglas McGregor

This is in sharp contrast to theory 'X'. McGregor believed that people want to learn and that work is their natural activity to the extent that they develop self-discipline and self-development. They see their reward not so much in cash payments as in the freedom to do difficult and challenging work by them. The manager's job is to 'dovetail' the human wish for self-development into the organizations need for maximum productive efficiency. The basic objectives of both are therefore met and with imagination and sincerity, the enormous potential can be tapped.

Does it sound too good to be true? It could be construed; by some, that Theory 'Y' management is soft and slack. This is not true and the proof is in the 'pudding', for it has already proved its worth in the USA and elsewhere. For best results, the persons must be carefully selected to form a homogeneous group. A good leader of such a group may conveniently 'absent' from group meetings so they can discuss the matters freely and help select and 'groom' a new leader. The leader does no longer hanker after power, lets people develop freely, and may even (it is hoped) enjoy watching the development and actualization of people, as if, by themselves. Everyone and most of all the organization, gains as a result.

3.1.3 Theory 'Z' - Abraham Maslow

This is a refreshing change from the theory X of Freud, by a fellow psychologist, Abraham Maslow. Maslow totally rejects the dark and dingy Freudian basement and takes us out into the fresh, open, sunny and cheerful atmosphere. He is the main founder of the humanistic school or the third force who holds that all the good qualities are inherent in people, at least, at birth, although later they are gradually lost.

Maslow's central theme revolves around the meaning and significance of human work and seems to epitomize Voltaire's observation in Candied, 'work banishes the three great evils -boredom, vice and poverty'. The great sage Yajnavalkya explains in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that by good works a man becomes holy, by evil works evil. A mans personality is the sum total of his works and that only his works survive a man at death. This is perhaps the essence of Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, as it is more commonly know.

Maslow's major works include the standard textbook (in collaboration with Mittlemann), Principles of Abnormal Psychology (1941), a seminal paper, 'A Theory of Human Motivation' (1943) and the book, Eupsychian Management (pronounced yew-sigh-keyan) published in 1965. Maslow's theory of human motivation is, in fact, the basis of McGregor's theory 'Y' briefly described above. The basic human needs, according to Maslow, are:

physiological needs (Lowest)

safety needs;

love needs;

esteem needs; and

self-actualization needs (Highest)

Mans behavior is seen as dominated by his unsatisfied needs and he is a 'perpetually wanting animal', for when one need is satisfied he aspires for the next higher one. This is, therefore, seen as an ongoing activity, in which the man is totally absorbed in order to attain perfection through self-development.

The highest state of self-actualization is characterized by integrity, responsibility, magnanimity, simplicity and naturalness. Self-actualizers focus on problems external to themselves. His prescription for human salvation is simple, but not easy: 'Hard work and total commitment to doing well the job that fate or personal destiny calls you to do or any important job that "calls for" doing'.

Maslow has had his share of critics, but he has been able to achieve a refreshing synthesis of divergent and influential philosophies of:

Marx - economic and physical needs;

Freud - physical and love needs;

Adler - esteem needs;

Goldstein - self-actualization.

3.1.4 Frederick Herzberg - Hygiene / Motivation Theory

This is based on analysis of the interviews of 200 engineers and accountants in the Pittsburgh area in the USA. According to this theory, people work first and foremost in their own self-enlightened interest, for they are truly happy and mentally healthy through work accomplishment. People's needs are of two types:

Hygiene factors


Interpersonal relations

Working conditions


Human Needs (motivators)





Unsatisfactory hygiene factors can act as de-motivators, but if satisfactory, their motivational effect is limited. The psychology of motivation is quite complex and Herzberg has exploded several myths about motivators such as:

shorter working week;

increasing wages;

fringe benefits;

sensitivity / human relations training;


As typical examples, saying 'please' to shop-floor workers does not motivate them to work hard, and telling them about the performance of the company may even antagonize them more. Herzberg regards these also as hygiene factors, which, if satisfactory, satisfy animal needs but not human needs.

3.1.5 Some common myths about employee motivation

Myth Number One: "I can motivate people"

Myth Number Two: -- "Money is a good motivator"

Myth Number Three: "Fear is a damn good motivator"

Myth Number Four: "I know what motivates me, so I know what motivates my employees"

Myth Number Five: "Increased job satisfaction means increased job performance"

Myth Number Six: "I can't comprehend employee motivation -- it's a science"

3.2 Research Approaches:

This Research includes the following approaches. Which are the different approaches to find the level of motivation and job satisfaction. Previously we discussed some theories and now we are discussing some approaches. Following are the different approaches:

'Stick' or 'carrot' approach

Manager's motivation 'toolkit'

Don't coerce - persuade

Job satisfaction - is there a trend

Individualize motivation policies

'The one-minute manager'

'Stick' or 'carrot' approach?

The traditional Victorian style of strict discipline and punishment has not only failed to deliver the goods, but it has also left a mood of discontent amongst the "working class".

Punishment appears to have produced negative rather than positive results and has increased the hostility between 'them' (the management) and 'us' (the workers). In contrast to this, the 'carrot' approach, involving approval, praise and recognition of effort has markedly improved the work atmosphere, leading to more productive work places and giving workers greater job satisfaction.

Manager's motivation 'toolkit'

The manager's main task is to develop a productive work place, with and through those he or she is in charge of. The manager should motivate his or her team, both individually and collectively so that a productive work place is maintained and developed and at the same time employees derive satisfaction from their jobs.

This may appear somewhat contradictory, but it seems to work. The main tools in the manager's kitbag for motivating the team are:

approval, praise and recognition

trust, respect and high expectations

loyalty, given that it may be received

removing organizational barriers that stand in the way of individual and group performance (smooth business processes, systems, methods and resources - see outline team building program)

job enrichment

good communications

financial incentives

These are arranged in order of importance and it is interesting to note that cash is way down the ladder of motivators. Let's look at a couple of examples taken from real life situations.

The Swedish shipbuilding company, Kockums, turned a 15 million dollar loss into a 100 million dollar profit in the course of ten years due entirely to a changed perception of the workforce brought about by better motivation. At Western Electric there was a dramatic improvement in output after the supervisors and managers started taking greater interest in their employees.

Don't coerce - persuade!

Persuasion is far more powerful than coercion, just as the pen is mightier than the sword. Managers have a much better chance of success if they use persuasion rather than coercion. The former builds morale, initiative and motivation, whilst the latter quite effectively kills such qualities. The three basic components in persuasion are:


play on the person's sentiments; and

Appeal to logic.

Once convinced, the person is so motivated as to deliver the 'goods'. The manager will have achieved the goal quietly, gently and with the minimum of effort. It is, in effect, an effortless achievement.

There has been a considerable amount of research into persuasion / motivation in the field of advertising and marketing. The research is entirely of the applied type, which can and has been used to great practical advantage. Some of the findings in this field were first published in the fifties in a book with the title, The Hidden Persuaders, which became a bestseller.

Can these findings be used in actual work conditions? AT&T (The American Telephone and Telegraph Co.,) recognizing the importance of hidden needs, at one time succeeded in promoting long distance calls by use of the simple phrase: 'Reach out, reach out and touch someone'. Managers will need to adapt this persuasion / motivation technique to their own situation.

Job satisfaction - is there a trend?

This is the title of a study carried out by the US Department of Labor among 1500 workers, who were asked to rate the job factors, from a list of 23, which they considered important starting from the most important factor.

Their findings (Sanzotta (1977)) are contained in the table below.

Job Satisfaction Findings

White-collar workers Blue-collar workers

A. Interesting work A. Good pay

B. Opportunities for development B. Enough help and resources

C. Enough information C. Job security

D. Enough authority D. Enough information

E. Enough help and resources E. Interesting work

F. Friendly, helpful coworkers F. Friendly, helpful co-workers

G. See results of own efforts G. Clearly defined responsibilities

H. Competent supervision H. See results of own work

I. Clearly defined responsibilities I. Enough Authority

J. Good pay J. Competent supervision It is interesting that out of the 23 job factors listed for the survey, yet with the exception of two items (white-collar workers' choice (B) and blue-collar workers' choice (C)) groups selected the same top ten factors, although with different rankings. It is significant that good pay was considered as the most important factor by the blue-collar workers, but it ranked as the least important for white-collar workers.

Individualize motivation policies

It is well known that individual behavior is intensely personal and unique, yet companies seek to use the same policies to motivate everyone. This is mainly for convenience and ease compared to catering for individual oddities (Lindstone (1978)). 'Tailoring' the policy to the needs of each individual is difficult but is far more effective and can pay handsome dividends. Fairness, decisiveness, giving praise and constructive criticism can be more effective than money in the matter of motivation.

Leadership is considered synonymous with motivation, and the best form of leadership is designated as SAL, situation adaptable leadership. In this style of leadership, one is never surprised or shocked, leadership must begin with the chief executive and it is more a matter of adaptation than of imparting knowledge. Ultimately, it is the leadership quality which leads to the success of a company through team building and motivating its people.

'The one-minute manager'

To start with, the manager sets a goal, e.g. one page read in one minute, and it is seen to be achieved by 'one minute' of praising or reprimand as the case may be. But to be effective, these must be given (a) promptly, (b) in specific terms, and the behavior, rather than the person, should be praised or reprimanded.

The concept is basic and it makes sense, although the book seeks to 'dramatize' it. 'One minute' praising is seen to be the motivating force. Everyone is considered a winner, though some people are disguised as losers, and the manager is extolled not to be fooled by such appearances.

4. Research methodology

As our motive is to research the employee motivation in software organizations. So I decided to make questionnaire and do research by getting answers from those Questions. We will ask these questionnaire to the software engineers who are worked in the corporate organizations. And also we will ask to different demographics in organizations and in different organizations. Then we will conclude accordingly. But as of now we are discussing with the expected results and also discussed and concluded according what we had research as of now. And we will get answers from managers of different organizations of different levels of different demographics. And by verifying the answers we are going to analyse those answers and we will give final conclusion. As of now we asked some managers in 1 organization. By those answers are we are giving analysis and expected results.

Questionnaire about Employee motivation:

This Questionnaire we asked to managers in an organization. And below mentioned are their answers are point it out.

What is the 'primary aim' of your company?

Your employees may be more motivated if they understand the primary aim of your business. Ask questions to establish how clear they are about your company's principles, priorities and mission.

2. What obstacles stop employees performing to best effect?

Questionnaires on employee motivation should include questions about what employees are tolerating in their work and home lives. The company can eliminate practices that zap motivation.

3. What really motivates your staff?

It is often assumed that all people are motivated by the same things. Actually we are motivated by a whole range of factors. Include questions to elicit what really motivates employees, including learning about their values. Are they motivated by financial rewards, status, praise and acknowledgment, competition, job security, public recognition, fear, perfectionism, results...

4. Do employees feel empowered?

Do your employees feel they have job descriptions that give them some autonomy and allow them to find their own solutions or are they given a list of tasks to perform and simply told what to do?

5. Are there any recent changes in the company that might have affected motivation?

If your company has made redundancies, imposed a recruitment freeze or lost a number of key people this will have an effect on motivation. Collect information from employees about their fears, thoughts and concerns relating to these events. Even if they are unfounded, treat them with respect and honesty.

6. Are employee goals and company goals aligned?

First, the company needs to establish how it wants individuals to spend their time based on what is most valuable. Secondly this needs to be compared with how individuals actually spend their time. You may find employees are highly motivated but about the "wrong" priorities.

7. Is the company's internal image consistent with its external one?

Your company may present itself to the world as the 'caring airline', 'the forward thinking technology company' or the 'family hotel chain'. Your employees would have been influenced, and their expectations set, to this image when they joined your company. If you do not mirror this image within your company in the way you treat employees you may notice motivation problems. Find out what the disparity is between the employees image of the company from the outside and from the inside.

Expected Results and Discussion

The ranked order of motivating factors were: (a) interesting work, (b) good wages, (c) full appreciation of work done, (d) job security, (e) good working conditions, (f) promotions and growth in the organization, (g) feeling of being in on things, (h) personal loyalty to employees, (i) tactful discipline, and (j) sympathetic help with personal problems.

A comparison of these results to Maslow's need-hierarchy theory provides some interesting insight into employee motivation. The number one ranked motivator, interesting work, is a self-actualizing factor. The number two ranked motivator, good wages, is a physiological factor. The number three ranked motivator, full appreciation of work done, is an esteem factor. The number four ranked motivator, job security, is a safety factor. Therefore, according to Maslow (1943), if managers wish to address the most important motivational factor of Centers' employees, interesting work, physiological, safety, social, and esteem factors must first be satisfied. If managers wished to address the second most important motivational factor of centers' employees, good pay, increased pay would suffice. Contrary to what Maslow's theory suggests, the range of motivational factors are mixed in this study. Maslow's conclusions that lower level motivational factors must be met before ascending to the next level were not confirmed by this study.

The following example compares the highest ranked motivational factor (interesting work) to Vroom's expectancy theory. Assume that a Centers employee just attended a staff meeting where he/she learned a major emphasis would be placed on seeking additional external program funds. Additionally, employees who are successful in securing funds will be given more opportunities to explore their own research and extension interests (interesting work). Employees who do not secure additional funds will be required to work on research and extension programs identified by the director. The employee realizes that the more research he/she does regarding funding sources and the more proposals he/she writes, the greater the likelihood he/she will receive external funding.

The following example compares the third highest ranked motivational factor (full appreciation of work done) to Adams's equity theory. If an employee at the centers feels that there is a lack of appreciation for work done, as being too low relative to another employee, an inequity may exist and the employee will be dis-motivated. Further, if all the employees at the centers feel that there is a lack of appreciation for work done, inequity may exist. Adams (1965) stated employees will attempt to restore equity through various means, some of which may be counter- productive to organizational goals and objectives. For instance, employees who feel their work is not being appreciated may work less or undervalue the work of other employees.

This final example compares the two highest motivational factors to Herzberg's two-factor theory. The highest ranked motivator, interesting work, is a motivator factor. The second ranked motivator, good wages is a hygiene factor. Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman (1959) stated that to the degree that motivators are present in a job, motivation will occur. The absence of motivators does not lead to dissatisfaction. Further, they stated that to the degree that hygienes are absent from a job, dissatisfaction will occur. When present, hygienes prevent dissatisfaction, but do not lead to satisfaction. In our example, the lack of interesting work (motivator) for the centers' employees would not lead to dissatisfaction. Paying centers' employees lower wages (hygiene) than what they believe to be fair may lead to job dissatisfaction. Conversely, employees will be motivated when they are doing interesting work and but will not necessarily be motivated by higher pay.

The discussion above, about the ranked importance of motivational factors as related to motivational theory, is only part of the picture. The other part is how these rankings compare with related research. A study of industrial employees, conducted by Kovach (1987), yielded the following ranked order of motivational factors: (a) interesting work, (b) full appreciation of work done, and (c) feeling of being in on things. Another study of employees, conducted by Harpaz (1990), yielded the following ranked order of motivational factors: (a) interesting work, (b) good wages, and (c) job security.

In this study and the two cited above, interesting work ranked as the most important motivational factor. Pay was not ranked as one of the most important motivational factors by Kovach (1987), but was ranked second in this research and by Harpaz (1990). Full appreciation of work done was not ranked as one of the most important motivational factors by Harpaz (1990), but was ranked second in this research and by Kovach (1987). The discrepancies in these research findings supports the idea that what motivates employees differs given the context in which the employee works. What is clear, however, is that employees rank interesting work as the most important motivational factor.


There is no simple answer to the question of how to motivate people. Can money motivate? Yes, but money alone is not enough, though it does help. We have discussed some of the pertinent theories bearing on human motivation and this is balanced by some of the practical factors which can lead to excellence. Human resource remains the focal point and leadership the critical component, and motivation has to be 'tailored' to each individual. The next section deals with an important mode of motivation, namely financial aspects of rewarding employees.