The History Of Motivational Techniques Business Essay

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This study purpose is to underpinning and analyzing the effectiveness and efficiency of motivational techniques used in company R a kind of sister company of Company A, were company a does a role of top management and decision maker, and compare those techniques to motivation theories taking into consideration different aspect of company structure, culture, introduction of technology and job design that affect the motivational process inside the organisation.


First I will introduce Company R and its organic relationship with company A the mother company, then I will give a brief introduction to Company A as a mother company.

Company R has to execute tasks or doing a specific role assigned by company A and for its benefit, despite that company R has a legal entity as a company by itself nevertheless departments like accounting, marketing, sales, customer care, purchasing and human resource are in fact at company A's head quarters and that they perform tasks for both companies for regular salaries from company A without any additional salary pay in return for working for company R. Mother company A considered Fayol's principles of management in the organization's structure whereas Company R is another department thus acting to its employees accordingly. Company R has to perform gas "station management" for several gas stations owned by company A, where Company R assigned a first line manager to each. Company R is where I used to work several years ago as "first line manager".

Company A is one of the major oil and gas companies in the world. It is one of the largest publicly-traded integrated and a world class chemical manufacturer based on market capitalization as of Dec 31, 2011 (Company's Website). Company A operates in 130 countries and has around 95000 employees. The main engagement of company A is upstream and downstream operations from excavation, production, refining, marketing and trading in power generation. In order to acquire a market share in retail, company A establishes a sister company, Company R with a predefined role to manage Company A's gas stations and to preserve Company A's image and Market positioning.

Critical Analysis

Company A has a rational-legal authority structure, a level bureaucracy that stresses law, rules and predefined routines, Webber (1948) theory definition. Top management decide, employees including Company R's first line managers comply. Company A is a centralised administration with its specialisation of jobs, hierarchical authority, ensuring efficient regulations, rewards and punishments and job security, employees report to senior employees who from their part report to managers in an hierarchical manner where top managers are decision makers and express daily supervision over their subordinates. This level of bureaucracy is negatively referred to as Bureaucratic Dysfunction (Organisational Behaviour, p14). Gouldner suggested that bureaucracy drive employees to achieve minimum output, Alvin Gouldner (1954) therefore individual initiatives are low and de-motivation accures.

Company A belongs to the dysfunctional school, criticism to its structure is highly encourage and it is contingent, this leads to structure the organization of what is called the System Theory, this term has been introduced first by Ludwig Von Bertalanffy in 1951, it consists of certain key concepts that process input into output to achieve balance or Equilibrium. Company A has social sections working collectively to achieve organisation goals, has specialised departments and a feedback collection system, however, company A is a successful organisation. Its success is depending on how much it copes with the environment change or how much it is contingent, despite its bureaucratic, non-organic, non-flexible structure. In other words, it has a mechanistic structure that totally reflects on company R, of course, because it is treated as another department.

Due to its creation dated earlier of the 80's era, Fordism coupled with Taylorism is still influential. Company A top management impose high level of authority on their employees and on their departments including company R's. Decision making is strictly in the hands of Company A's top management. Company R's gas station managers has little authority and decision making over their gas stations despites of their positions and accountancies, slightest mistake from their part will be held accounted for, warning notice will be send and dismissals will be performed. This kind of punishment leads to job insecurity. Feelings of security and freedom from threats are highly absent. According to Maslow hierarchy of needs unsatisfying of those needs will negatively affect employee's motivation. However, Piore and Sable argued that the condition necessary to sustain Fordism are no longer present after the 1980's, Piore and Sable (1984).

Regarding that there is no research I could find taking Lebanon's human behaviour and motivation empirical study, I would argue that these conditions are still present in some part of countries of the third world like Lebanon, where physiological needs and safety needs still the most important job satisfaction factors. According to Hofstede countries cultures plays a major role in interpretation of human needs, Hofestede (). Countries like Lebanon are obliged to implement job security according to its law provided by the ministry of labour and national social security fund. Companies violating these laws are subjected to penalties, whoever, many companies operating in Lebanon found ways to overcome those penalties. Motivation in this case could be with the satisfaction of those needs to a certain extent. I would also argue that individuals in countries like Lebanon are extrinsically driven, motivation are related to pay levels aspect that correlates to their "outside" social life or Maslow's social needs.

As a reflection of Company A, Company R's bureaucratic system prevents modern corporate culture, research of Brown (1998) suggests that strong, appropriate adaptable cultures which values stakeholders and leadership are associated with high performance, thus strong culture. This strong culture creates committed, dedicated, enthusiast even passionate employees, Deal and Kennedy (1982).these conditions are the real interpretation to sense of belonging, the third level of Maslow's pyramid of needs. Nevertheless, the Howthorne studies demonstrated the influence of security and recognition towards work performance. With these correct conditions the individual will accept even seek responsibility, according McGregor's Theory Y, furthermore, people would be motivated and even desire to achieve harder goals. Employees are motivated when they find their work enjoyable as suggested by intrinsic theories of motivation,(Organisational Behaviour,p62).

Company R In exchange, has Process Culture, bureaucracy related as defined by Deal and Kennedy. It has also a transmission of informal mechanism culture that enables the employee to learn through observation, experience and from experienced job holders. Moreover, bureaucracy encourages employees to achieve only a minimum standard of behaviour and output, Alvin Gouldner (1954). Company R's gas station managers everyday repetitive different tasks made them perceiving negative inequity comparing of other employees with similar inputs rather enjoying greater outcomes according to Adam's equity Theory. Gaz station managers have bigger responsibilities contrary to first line managers of mother company A. in fact they are accountable for sales, purchases, accounting, maintenance and management of their gas stations alone, negative equity then makes them stressful and redundant. This lead to the expectancy theory which holds people behaviour according to what they believe is the balance of their work input and what will be in return as pay off or output. According to Vroom's first aspect theory, individuals believe that a particular level of reward will follow a particular degree of effort, Vroom (1964).

Company R then has corporate culture as defined by Linstead and Grafton Small (1992) is devised by management and imposed on the rest of the organisation. I would argue that corporate culture is a kind of bureaucracy that negatively influences intrinsic stimuli and leads to de-motivation. Gareth Morgan (1997) argued that mangers can influence the evolution of culture, but they can never control it.

T echnology plays a major role at both company's A and R's structure, technology is used in all departments. This heavy use of technology within a bureaucratic structure give rise to the highest alienation and de-skilling, when jobs became powerless, meaningless, isolated and self-estrangement, Robert Blauner (1964). In the other hand, technology also describes processes like methods and procedures that ensure appropriate execution of tasks. The presence of Enterprise Resource Planning system insures speed and accuracy of data collection. It will also save time and others resources. Jhon Child argued that technology use impacts human and organization. In the other hand Blauner realised the difference between craft technology and automation, he expected that automation will become more important by increasing the intellectual work content in a way that becomes meaningful (organizational behaviour, p104).

In order to gain the maximum return on their investment in human labour, employers have to maximise their control of the behaviour of employees, Harry Braverman (1974). Company R installed cctv cameras to monitor all actions conducted by its employees in all gas stations. Merton argued that classic bureaucracy that its emphasis on control and repeatability often results a rigid and defensive human behaviour, Robert Merton (1949). Management monitoring and supervision interacts with McGregor's Theory X which assumes that people must coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment in order to get their tasks done.

Motivational Techniques

First line Manager's Job design in Company R is loaded with accountable tasks, Managers are responsible of equipment maintenance, Purchases, inventory, sales of company A's products such as gasoline, petrol and engine oils. They are accountable of selling other services such as carwash as well as to retain customer's satisfaction and loyalty through customer care programs with Total Quality Management perspective to preserve Mother Company's image, Company A, and its market positioning. As stated previously, managers are accountable also of selling other irrelatively items such as calling cards to execute marketing plans set by top managers of mother Company A under a great stress of Mother Company A daily supervision. This kind of supervision and job stress make room to de-motivation and quits and dismissals. The reconsideration of job design is a must, poor designed or stressful tasks can de-motivate and decrease job satisfaction, Rowlinson et al (1998). Company A's top management consider monetarily recompenses as only motivators. Contrary to Herzberg's two factors theory of motivation, where money is not a motivator rather a hygiene factor, Hertzberg (1974). While earlier scientific management relies on the economic model of man, Frederic Taylor believes that workers should be fairly rewarded on satisfactory work performance and that it motivates them sufficiently. Hertzberg built on Roethlisberger and Dickson, (1939) human relationship approach that treats human beings as emotional rather than economic rational. Gas station managers should follow a goal-setting strategy a process that specify top management desired outcome towards certain tasks, sales turnover for instance, is predefined for a certain yearly quarter to be reached, gas station managers who reach their predefined goal will be awarded accordingly. It is argued that goal setting process increases efficiency and effectiveness, Locke et al (1981) define a goal as,

"What an individual is trying to accomplish; it is the object or aim of an action".

Thus, management's financial incentives can clearly notice employee enhance performance, Lock et al (1981). Also this motivational technique suggests that difficult goals lead to higher performance, in condition that the person trying to achieve them accepts tem first, Locke and Latham (1990) and Mento, Steel and Karren (1987).

Company R top management considered also expectancy theory process of motivation, that link effort with performance and job satisfaction, more effort in return to valued rewards in the form of extrinsic tangible rewards, Porter and Lawler (1968). Gas station managers expected a predefined scale of rewards on a certain task achievement based on predefined scaled goals.

Company A's top management, use to set predefined customised goals for each gas station manager to reach, within a period of three months, in term of sales turnover, Goals are customized based on gas station size, location and past performance. It is also argued that if these sales goals are badly defined either unreasonably demanding or too easy to achieve, could become de-motivators, while if they are defined in such a challenging yet achievable way, will generate motivation, managers then show their skills and enthusiasm into tasks fulfilment, (Organisational Behaviour: 64). Successful companies are likely the cause of successful employees' motivation techniques, where company's sets of goals are achieved.

Theories and Limitations

In order to understand how motivation work, we need first to understand human nature, then we need to understand its environmental culture that influences human nature taking into consideration that motivational techniques and theories are developed in the west specifically in north America and acknowledging that what motivates people within that particular environment and cultures does not necessary motivate others from a different one. It is also acknowledged that motivation differs according to gender, age, economical status, marital status, education, and so on. Motivational variations must be recognised by managers, the assumption of homogenous workforces are considered to be unrealistic, Parker (1998). Rayner argued that in countries like Japan, Maslow's lower level of needs such as job security and pension motivate people more than higher level needs such as recognition or status and positioning, Rayner (2009). However, Maslow's hierarchy of needs is still fundamental brick in trying to better understanding of the individual needs. Nevertheless, Mazlow himself gave a descent portion of criticism to his theory:

"My motivation theory was published 0 years ago and in all that time nobody repeated it, or tested it, or really analysed it, or criticised it. They just used it, ewallowed it whole with only the minor modification"

Wilson (2004:146)

The reason to such criticism is because motivation is a complex phenomenon in which it is an intersection of many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Maslow's needs are more accurately operating on the basis of those intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli, people are motivated through these factors to their work, Thompson and McHugh (1995). Alderfer argues in his ERG theory that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is not flexible, resulting that people may become uncomfortable and de-motivated if they cannot move to the next level of the hierarchy. Alderfer's ERG theory minimised needs to 3 levels, existence needs, relatedness needs and growth. Similar work was conducted by McClelland, in which he believes the importance of understanding human behaviour towards a particular set of actions, thus to motivation. McClelland identified three needs, the need for achievement (nAch), the need for affiliation (nAff) and the need for power (nPower). McClelland argued that need for achievement is the driving force for individuals who want to achieve a superior desire and to excel by completing difficult tasks. These individuals need constant feedback on their performance to measure their achievement progress. The need for affiliation is the need of creating harmonious connections with others, while the need for power is the need to control, supervise and manage others behaviour.

Furthermore, implementing motivational theories inside their natural environments or cultures could be a straight forward process while implementing it outside is considered to be a complex procedure. I would argue that even inside their natural culture, reality defies motivational theories, because human nature is not a constant factor rather it is a variable highly emotional factor. Managers' processes, leadership, and senior employees' guidance can influence motivation thus performance. Avolio and Jung (1999) found that individuals of different cultures view leadership differently for instance Asians tend to agree with their leaders instead of seeking challenging ideas, the reason is to maintain group harmony and avoid criticism. Managers believe that financial rewards and pay increase are prime motivators. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs highest level is self actualisation, the process when human being seeks responsibilities, achievement, self development, training, and additional progress. Herzberg's first factor, satisfiers are also responsibility and advancement thus motivators. The term empowerment incarnates the Herzberg's satisfier factor, where empowerment is the delegation of some managerial power to employees to motivate greater responsibilities in balancing achievements, French R, Rayner (2008). Empowerment also creates employees' satisfaction which made them more productive through motivation.


Over the years many researchers took motivation theories to build on their researches in order to design motivational techniques to help managers to enhance employees' motivational stimuli. As we have noticed many motivational approaches was the creation of a particular culture westerner or North American, where values like masculinity, high-individualism and self-interest don't apply on other part of the world. Those approaches are the creation of the 50's-60's era, further empirical studies and observation to more understanding the human nature, thus human behaviour must be conducted so can new motivational theories can be immerged.

Both content and progress approaches to motivation, tried to analyse intrinsic and extrinsic people's factors that influence needs yet to assume their behaviour against these factors. Content theories assumption of individuals' motivation through understanding individuals needs and behaviour to particular set of stimuli, yet assuming that motivation will appear based on fulfilling these needs. Whilst process theories assume introducing measurement to quantify in order to more predict the outcome of the theory implemented as the case of expectancy theory and equity theory. Nevertheless we cannot neglect Maslow's first level of needs as a prior to other levels where people tend to not follow the Maslow's designed path. However managers are to follow every motivational theory as for each individual has his own behaviour towards particular sets of motivational incentives in such a way that human behaviour is influenced by many factors starting from childhood.

Motivation theories could be enhanced by Job enrichment and job design