The academic theories of Employee Motivation

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"Academic theories about employee motivation, empowerment and performance are just that theories, they are of little practical use to business leader or their companies, with reference covered to the material cover on the OBL course, and the people management of one Employee of Choice, please evaluate the validity of this statement.

Organizational Behavior is the study of behavior of individual, group and people in the organization. It focuses on the relationship between individual and organization in the holistic manner. It focuses on meeting the social objectives, organizational level objectives and individual level objectives.

Motivation of employees is a theory in organizational behavior which is mostly focused in the studies but it is also the most complex and contradictory term as well. These empirical researches and studies give a deeper insight to the leaders about the employee motivation, work performance, and employee empowerment.

'Motivation': This term is derived from a Latin word which means 'to move'. In organizational context the term motivation refers to enhance the desires and commitment of employees by influences and procedures in order to achieve the objectives and goals of the organization and their personal goals as well.

There have been many theories proposed for employee motivation in an organizational structure. Content theories are the most important and most discussed theories of them. These theories are more insightful about the needs of people and their values as work motivators. Following are the four content theories proposed and their comparison with each other. (Forster, 2005)







Need for achievement



Need for power



Need for affiliation

Safety and Security

Hygiene factor

Physiological needs


All these theories have their limitations in the real world scenario. The practical implications of these theories and empirical support of the theories gives a mixed output. These theories propose that the each and every entire individual have similar needs and requirements for power and similar objectives in their working and professional life. But these desires and objective varies with the demographic, economical and cultural variations. These theories also overlook the other factors which influence the motivation level of employees and their work performance. These contingent factors are the culture of the work place in the organizations, reward system of the companies, and the leadership style practiced by the leaders in the organization.

Process theories are also an important and different approach for employee motivation. These theories neglect many factors such as aggressive behavior, negative attitude, work place politics, and different perception of each individual but these theories includes factors like equity, expectancy, attribution and goal setting. But these theories also does not have very practical significance in the work places of current organizations because these theories are very time consuming which requires a lot of effort and need a more intimate knowledge about the employees. These requirements are not that easy to attain in the current professional environment. (Forster, 2005)

Increasing the Job satisfaction is another important managerial duty. It is essential for leaders to maintain the job satisfaction level of the employees within the organization. This would not only decrease the turnover of the employees but also generate the healthy environment within the organization. Organizational Behavior theories help the managers to understand the general behavior of the employee about job satisfaction, but it does not showcase how to increase job satisfaction for a particular employee. According to dispositional theory individual who is happy in his life is happy at his job as well. According to this theory there are the factors affecting job satisfaction i.e. positive and negative affectivity, personality attributes and self evaluation. This theory as well does not find the actual reason specific to a particular individual and hence managers would need to carry out the analysis specific to the individual. (Forster, 2005)

Now another very important aspect of management and leadership skills which is though written in most of the books but can be understood in practical way the best is coaching and mentoring. The philosophy behind this quality is taken from the sports management field which implies that insights of sports psychology can help leaders and managers and it can be utilized in any organization to teach and mentor the employees. Though the idea seems a bit different to connect sports and business but it has been very helpful as it parallels both the environments and uses many of the skills from one field to the other. Effective coaching, setting goals, mentoring, taking feedback is what employees need so that they can track the growth of their careers themselves hence the purpose of coaching is to make and create leaders who are more energized , focused and self aware which will help and organization grow at a faster rate.

Organization Behavior theories works as the general framework for the leaders but could not act as the specific solution for a particular organizational problem. It requires extensive analysis and thorough understanding of the organization and individual behavior to meet the objectives of the organization.

All the theories proposed by for the employee motivation, work performance, and empowerment has been done many years ago when the organization culture and work place environment used be completely different from the current scenario. But now days the situation in the organizations are different so these theories does not have much of practical implications. W. L. Gore associate has been a company with the work culture driven by self management and motivation of employees. The company has a reward system which gives the employees benefits of stock options and share in profits of the company. The company does not even have a hierarchical corporate structure. The communication structure of the company does not include any intermediates. No fixed authority is there in the organization. There is no one as the boss but there are sponsors in the company. Functions of the employees are governed by a commitment system. (Nelson, 1999)

Question 2:

With reference to Organizational Behavior leadership on gender inequity in organization, and you own work experience if relevant, evaluate the extent to which this issue will require further attention from public and private sector organization in the UAE now and in the future. How can local organization ensure that there is true equity of opportunity for their women Emirati employees and what will be the likely commercial benefits of doing this?


Gender Inequality means differentiation between individuals on the basis of their gender. As per gender inequality the responsibility, human and social possibilities differ from men to that of women.

To start with we will see some achievements and status of women in different organizations which are quite evident today. Women are proving their mettle today in every field is it business or jobs but still they are not getting the rendition they deserve. Despite of this invisibility they have always been an essential labor resource for the society in all cultures. There are many women in the workforce of different organization be it middle management or top management positions and also made huge progress. A small number of women have become CEO's as well. All these figures indicate the power of women today but still we see gender inequity around us everywhere. (Forster, 2005)

It is found that most of the theories showcase the organizational structure as the reason for gender inequality. It is as per organizational structure which causes differences in roles, difference in position, and difference in behaviors between men and women.

Division between Domestic and Public Work: Their role of mother and wife devalued their role social roles and hence high profile. Women are bound with the domestic responsibilities and hence have to take care of the family and have to invest time there as well. On the other hand men are free from domestic responsibilities and have greater access to high valued resources.

It is noticed that there is inequality in pay of men and women, and women are paid less than men. It is also found that two-third of the women works in areas low profile areas like catering, cleaning, clerical jobs, caring jobs. The reason for women being paid less than men is that their job includes discontinuity because of maternity leaves, and to take care of family and children. Moreover still the ratio of highly qualifies women is less than that of men. This gives men an edge to work in high profile jobs and so being paid more than women. (Forster, 2005)

Gender Inequality in UAE: The UAE government is trying their best to reduce the gender inequality in UAE. In the year 2008, UAE is participating actively in reducing the gap of gender disparity by organizing various conferences for the same. Dubai School of Government along with Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research and World Bank, organizes a conference to narrow down the gender gap in North Africa and Middle East. The conference named "Gender and Economics in MENA: from Theory to Policymaking"

The main purpose of the conference was to highlight the importance of high education over women. In the conference, Nabeel Al Yousuf, vice chairman of trustee board in Dubai School of Government, focused on gender inequality for the social, national and economic development. Community Development Authority is coordinating with various government and non-government organizations to maintain gender equality.

In the recent years UAE has worked well in reducing the gender gap in the emirates. As per a report, UAE has topped in human development chart among gulf countries. Though the ratio of educated women is increasing, but still UAE needs to improve on gender equality. This gender inequality further drags the human development index of the country. (Forster, 2005)

The gender equality could be improved with the help of combined effort from public and private companies.

Protect Women Rights: It is essential to get women aware of their rights and also make them aware how to fight against the violation of any basic right. This education would help them to fight for their basic rights. It is required for both public and private organizations to coordinate with Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to protect the rights of women.

Women Education: To increase the status of women in the society it is required to further increase the level and quality of education for women. To achieve the same it is required for public and private educational institutions to work together to achieve the common objective.

Healthy Work Environment: It is required for the private and public organizations to maintain healthy work environment for the women at workplace. It could be done by providing facilities for women like pick and drop from home, work from home etc.

The local organization could ensure the equal opportunity for women by ensuring that jobs are offered as per the qualification and not on the basis of gender. The pay should be equal as per the caliber and qualification of the individual. It is required for the local organization to create equal opportunities for both men and women and should not create any disparity between the two.

Gender equality would ensure equal status for the women in the society and would increase their standard of living. It would ensure right investment of the income and less wastage of money. It has been found that women invest 90% of her income on family whereas men only invest 35% of his income on family. This would change political and public welfare policies would increase focus on women as well. Increase in education level of women would reduce the health problems and diseases in the society. (Forster, 2005)