The Joy Of Giving Business Essay


Various strategies have been devised over the span of time and in accordance with transforming management styles. With the dynamic work environment and the world becoming a global village, there cant be a better way of staying abreast with competition than to have work satisfaction among the employees and treating them as assets. Eventually motivation theories have been devised till date that relate to the organizational environment and the situation they can be matched with.

Having mentioned this, it might not be wrong to say that Frederick Taylor's Scientific Management theory (Stimpson, 2002) has become obsolete or that it can only be applied to countries where there is still a strong focus on assembly line work, therefore, as determined by this theory contradictions are now inevitable as money is not the only motivating factor for an employee and the concept of motivation through fringe benefits and small tokens of appreciation.

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With Herzberg's theory and Maslow's hierarchy of needs established well over fifty years ago, a lot has been penned down in terms of new theories being devised which lay stress on cognitive theories, that is, how people think about their rewards.

Problem Statement:

This is to determine the relevance of these theories according to the rewards and benefits given to employees and to extract what triggers them into performing well.

Aim and Purpose:

This paper will present an argument in support and against the various approaches being utilized as mentioned in the case. The points in favour will be backed by appropriate theories and criticisms in the wake of real life examples.

The aim is to highlight the factors that pave way to satisfaction at work and eventually the production of self-motivated individuals.

Critical Analysis of the Case:

Motivation is the intrinsic driving force and the willingness to work to facilitate a goal oriented behavior. According to Hacker and Roberts (2003), motivation has originated from the Latin word, 'movere' which translates into, 'move'. The higher the motivation in an organization, the higher would be the result and ability of that organization to have a competitive edge in the external environment. In other words, a decentralized environment gives employees a stake at decision making and lets them be more creative as opposed to an autocratic environment where company orders mean everything and everything has to be executed in a preplanned and orthodox ways. This happens to be the cause of failure in many organizations, for instance, Enron which got to be known as the outcome of fraud and deception and demotivated employees (Wart, 2007).

Many a times, Maslow's hierarchy of needs still is incorporated with respect to different job positions and the designations employees have. For instance, having a reward program would help fulfill social and esteem needs, whereas, those still at their basic level would need further encouragement, perhaps in the form of a monetary reward that could make both ends meet (Nyland, 1996), therefore, having a token of appreciation might not be sufficient or could also be rendered irrelevant.

McGregor has further classified employees into two categories, that is 'Theory X' and 'Theory Y', according to him the latter are demotivated by nature and need to be forced to work in order to deliver some level of performance, however, Theory Y classified people are naturally motivated to perform and do not need an autocratic style to work. Thus, as discussed in the case study, these employees have been given circumstances that make them behave like self motivated individuals while the benefits and perks are just to appreciated them than to assume that they would not be attracted into performing well had they not been given these bounties (Northhouse, 2009).

Salary alone does not trigger result from employees but rather it's a combination of organizational structure, work flexibility, management and satisfaction as a result. Therefore, if it's a publicly announced 'thank you' email from Madgex to it's appreciated employee or small treats by Metaswitch has a trickledown effect in the entire workplace in terms of the value being invested in subordinates through their recognition schemes.

Transformational Leadership Theory was devised by Tichy and Devanna on a period of four years starting from 1986 (Wart, 2007), the study was focused on organizational needs which later have an impact on behavioral need as the second priority. Accordingly, transformation and continued excellence in organisations was thought to be the most valuable key for global competitiveness and of utmost concern for managers. The term coined was 'Transformational Leadership' which paved way for the burgeoning roots of entrepreneurship and innovative change thus relating individual and organizational needs to them.

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In the wake of the above mentioned theory, leaders are supposed to spark excitement in people while discovering new areas of expertise, and should be able to relate well to subordinates in a democratic way since an autocratic approach is often regarded as undermining an organisation's strength. Thus, if small rewards rack up excitement and the feeling of being valued then it is a completely innocuous way of letting one's employees know how much the company cherishes them and how it would later impact the moral values and behavioral norms of those associated.

Similarly, as mentioned by Ebener (2010), Burns and Bass have highlighted important differences between transactional leadership and transformational leadership. As mentioned, transformational leaders extract the potential to do well in people by instilling the concept of innovation and change on the basis of future vision, this leads to the creation of more leaders and in return carves a pathway towards self actualization. The transactional leaders, on the other hand, are determined in implementing that thought about vision on the basis of motivation resulting from punishments and rewards. In this case, the strategy of rewards is highlighted that is common with all companies mentioned, that is, instilling motivation by recognition of work done well.

The Goal Path Theory, on the other hand determines subordinates' performance and work related satisfaction as a result of leadership behaviours (Northhouse, 2009). It was one of the theories that gave a suggestion that leaders chose a relevant leadership style based on the types of subordinates in an organization and different job break down structures. In other words, it is more of an amalgamation of expectancy theory and leadership theory, thereby, highlighting the motivational factor involved. Goal Path Theory aims at asking questions as: 'How can I make my subordinates feel that they have the talent to be beneficial to the organization?' 'How can I come up to the expectations of my employees and subordinates?' 'What payoffs would be best suited for them?' 'How would I reward them based on their performance', 'How can I make them feel important and valued?'

Thus, it is further refined as supportive leadership where a particular leader shows consideration and support to subordinates regarding certain tasks, directive leadership helps in giving appropriate guidance, achievement oriented leadership quests for putting forward attainable challenges, whereas, directive leadership relates to giving instructions about what should be done and how it should be done.

Therefore, employees should not be treated equally but rather equitably depending on their contribution and worth of responsibilities taken well, pay systems would then perceived to be fair and motivating as well. Feedback given on achievements by acknowledging individual efforts and monitoring goals through achievable deadlines add to the growth of the organization.

Similarly, Herzberg has divided his theory into hygiene and motivation factors where the motivation factors related to all organizations discussed; it's not a matter of how big the reward is but rather the realized feeling of self esteem brought about through appreciation among co workers or an applaudable work that makes a person stand out (Northouse, 2009).

On the other hand, a work place that has paved it's way through rewards only get's itself recognized as a brand that only interacts and engages with it's employees through incentives and therefore it could be argued that they facilitate the growth of 'Theory X' people. There should be a reward based on a few defined and specific tasks performed well as opposed to giving related benefits every now and then that would make people want to work only for the sake of being rewarded.

Similarly, there are employees who are very consistent while some are classified as being average and having such a reward plan based on performance could also mean a certain amount of resentment being allowed to prevail. Therefore, it could be argued that team rewards could best eliminate such a feeling to flourish such as in the example of Bravissimo where recognition is timely and tailored to the department or team being appreciated, however, having constant feedback from subordinates and workers could turn the organization into more of a laissez faire than just being a decentralized one.

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Similarly, the criticism of trivial token is also worth being noticed that raises concern against giving the company's own brands as products as employees might consider themselves as being treated lackadaisically by the employer or those items being given would be considered as cheap without any value being invested in the company's assets, that is employees.

If a manager does not show respect to the subordinates for their efforts and puts them down for what they have to propose then having a reward given just for the sake of fulfilling company requirements would not do any good to boost their motivation level and persuade them into performing well. A manager is not necessarily a leader, however, he/she needs to make sure to have their subordinates presence felt through a series of not just rewards but appreciation as well.

In a nutshell, it could be mentioned that employee satisfaction is a combination of appreciation of work through equitable treatment and the right pay. On the other hand, there are myths associated with pay itself, according to Pfeffer (1998), it is a common mindset that incentive pay improves performance and that people principally work for money which was a theory devised decades ago by Taylor for assembly line workers and the elaboration of money being the only motivator was more relevant in yester years. However, increasing the pay does not necessarily increase performance levels while many other factors need to be taken into consideration such as hygiene and motivation and flexible hours given the diversity present while the world is becoming a global village at large. If these myths are being bought into by managers, the firm is likely to go down the hill with employees being allowed to go to waste by not being investments but rather an added cost.

With companies facing severe competition in the corporate world being hit by recession at the same time it's not just a matter of people being downsized, it's also a case of having the right skilled candidates to be made part of the dynamic workforce. Thus, the concept of flexible hours and work rotation comes into play.

HSE stands for Health and Safety Execution which keeps into consideration, as the title suggests the health and safety of employs in the work place. The purpose is to eradicate discrimination and empowering roles within organization, thereby, facilitating equality and an equitable stance for all. In the meanwhile, diversity prevailing in the society needs to be acknowledged while different needs and perspectives have to be catered to for people from all walks of life.

ACAS is Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service with an idea of improving and enhancing employee and employer relationship through a mutual process whereby the stake of both parties are built upon a relationship of trust and truthfulness.

Likewise, if Julia needs to work flexible hours, first of all, it would depend on the nature of the organization and the time that she can put in whether fixed or overtime, however, according to the HSE, her diversity would be respected, while an alternative format of work, in this case flexible working hours should be allowed. It helps a great deal in handling stress if physiological or basic needs are fulfilled as determined by Maslow (Byrnes, 2003). Once the basic needs and safety needs are fulfilled, the employee can easily go up the ladder with trust invested into him/ her for respect given for contribution made.


Various theories have been devised in terms of transformation with the span of time, however, there still could be instance when organizations face a frog leap situation in terms of the nature of work. For instance, Taylor and McGregor's theories though rendered obsolete in the developed world could still be applied to developing nations where there is still a great deal of assembly line work being done and employees are paid on the basis of piece rate (Wart, 2007).

Thus, the rewards as mentioned in the case for going an extra mile might not be applicable everywhere. However, an employee should go through a constant process of innovation and positive change for which regular feedback and rewards make up an essential part of a competing and decentralized organization.