The management of motivation and perspective


Traditionally, the management of motivation has focused upon two key perspectives; developing individual performance based schemes which reward contributions and redesigning work to increase performance outcomes for both the individual and their organisation. Taylorism brought about the prominence of redesigning job roles in the 1960s and this included making roles more interesting, satisfying and challenging for the employee. The 1970s saw the inclusion of employee participation and democracy in the workplace and by the early 1990s they were joined by the popular management themes of teamwork, culture, empowerment, total quality management and business re-engineering.

Job design could be viewed as the reversal of the negative effects that scientific management, particularly with regards to very regulated and routine jobs. In the early 1960s, theorists believed motivation was all about satisfying the needs of the employee, which could only be satisfied through work. These, regarded as the 'needs deficiency' theories of motivation helped create a belief that if employees needs could be identified, they could not only be controlled, but shaped and influenced in order to ease the motivation of employees and to also drive employee performance.

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Needs based approaches to motivation have had a lasting effect upon management theory and are still apparent in more modern theory to this date. Many approaches to job redesign focus upon a homogenous view of what satisfies employees.

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Job re-design

A majority of the early job redesign strategies were concerned with reversing the negative effects brought about by Scientific Management; these include rigid and inflexible job roles, in order to find new ways of improving employee performance. Scientific Management and Fordism brought about mainly deskilled jobs, which reduced the value of the employee, in the sense that employees were less costly but also easier to replace. These highly structured roles produced difficult working conditions for employees which resulted in a poor quality of working life. Taylorism acknowledges the messiness of organisations and factors such as individuality and collective consciousness which contributed to this. Managers would impose principles that controlled diversity in light of the teachings of Scientific Management. This formed an integral part of Taylor's work as a response to this controlling nature of the workplace, as Taylor understood that the level of diversity in the workplace was extremely high and the benefits that this could bring.

One of Taylor's key principles was the notion of the economic man - a theory of motivation which covered all employees. Taylor, and many other theorists following him, believed that money was the key basic motivating principle. Men were believed to be largely motivated by the prospect of personal interest and gain, thus being satisfied by monetary rewards. Taylor viewed this as a vey rational type of behaviour supporting the principles of hard work and a strong work ethic. This stems for Taylor's belief that everybody could succeed through hard work and enterprising values whilst acknowledging that poor managers deprived workers of the opportunity to satisfy their economic needs and from attaining the highest possible rewards (Benedix 1956).

During the 1960s and 1970s, a rise in employment and tight labour markets saw employers turn a critical eye towards the effects of deskilling, especially with regards to declining productivity, a rise in absenteeism, poor workforce morale, the rising cost of labour turnover and a large increase in industrial action (Child 1984: Emery and Phillips 1976: Strauss 1976). All of these effects had a dramatic effect on the overall performance of organisations. Job design emerged as a solution for overcoming deskilling in the workplace. By and large, job redesign strategies mainly focused upon improving job satisfaction and subsequently motivation in the workplace, aiming to create greater economic benefits for the organisations concerned.

George Strauss (1976), suggests that the growing interest in job redesign reflected concerns relating to the management and motivation of an increasingly diverse workforce. A key learning from Strauss' work was the huge number of children born after the Second World War, now entering the workplace in the 1970s, were more resistant to authority and less afraid of economic uncertainty. Instead, they placed a greater value on self-fulfilment, agreeable lifestyles and having control over their own destinies. An increasing number of women were also entering the workplace during this time and Strauss argues that they placed a lesser value on economic factors and a measure of success. The changing nature of how work is perceived in terms of satisfaction has also been attributed to Women's liberty organisations, civil rights agitation and student activism. Kelly Goloski and Mary Belfry (1991) echo this view, also adding that the new generation of workers in the workplace were more focused on their entitlements and less accepting of authority. This new generation are less committed to life-long employment with one organisation and are inclined and more likely to take risks. The rise of diversity in the home, in terms of an increased number of single-parent families and childcare, also poses the threat that employees will require different means of motivation than the strategies of which job redesign had been built.

Job enrichment

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Job enrichment theory has had a lasting effect upon job redesign and the theories of motivation. Elton Mayo's research encouraged a view that viewed a manager's role as developing human relations between the organisation and its employees and among workers themselves. Mayo believed this provided a basis for motivation as the workforce could work together productively, cooperatively with economic, psychological and social satisfaction. Human relations theory however never challenges the theories of Taylorism with regards to approaches of organisation of work and task specialisation.

However, unlike Taylor, who believed workers to be rational and calculating, Mayo argued that people were motivated by personal sentiments and were in need of social routine. Mayo believed that logical thinking would only take place when workers were pressed into problem solving scenarios. Logical thinking and the pursuit of self interest, the economic man as described by Taylor, was perceived as a measure of the last resort of workers, by Mayo (Benedix 1956). Instead, Mayo proposed a social man view of motivation and behaviour in the workplace. Mayo was concerned with the excessive emphasis that was being placed upon individualism and self-interest in society in general, and argued instead that workers were longing for a belonging to or a sense of community. Small supportive work groups within organisations would fill workers needs for an identity shaped and determined by social conformity. Informal groups, rejected by Taylor, were seen as natural to organisations, but managers would still be able to retain control by means of paying attention to their social needs and facilitating group cohesion (Rose 1975).

During the 1950s and 1960s researchers from the developing area of behavioural sciences began to extend the psychological dimension of human relations, building upon the earlier work of Mayo. Psychological well-being would require a meaningful job over which the individual worker had an element of control, in addition to good working conditions. Abraham Maslow's (1974) hierarchy of needs provides the basis for this school of thinking. Maslow developed a classification of human needs which he considered to be a logical sequential development from 'lower order' to 'higher order' needs, which Maslow assumed that need be applied universally to all individually. The hierarchy can be seen below in figure x.x:


Psychological needs are classified as primary needs and are given the utmost priority in the hierarchy. If a person is hungry, only food occupies his or her mind. However, once this need is satisfied, the person becomes concerned with a need which was formerly of less significance, for example safety and security. Maslow firmly believes that people are motivated by unsatisfied needs and that an individual is never completely satisfied on any level, but that a reasonable feeling of gratification with regards to the most basic needs must be met before progressing further up the hierarchy. The model has been used to argue that with growing financial security, affluence in society in general and rising levels of education, workforces would increasingly only be motivated by the higher order needs of self-esteem and self-actualisations. The 'economic man' needs of Taylor and the 'social man' needs of Mayo were given a low priority in Maslow's 'complex man' approach, as Maslow believed the problems of society determined which individuals could achieve self actualisations and fulfilment, as opposed to being reactive to circumstances. Maslow himself had concerns with the elite individuals he classified as self-actualisers and in giving advice as to the educational and social systems that should be developed specifically for them. Whilst Maslow had a vision for a society where each and every individual could self-actualise, a less emphasised aspect of his theory was that not everybody would be able to self-fulfil or self-actualise, because of their nature and that many would be caught only in the lower motivational levels.

It is important to conclude that Maslow never intended for his model to be embraced as a complete theory of motivation and was aware of its shortcomings (Aungles and Parker 1988), and Maslow was particularly critical that many management theorists had adapted his model, but that it was never tested or developed further. This did not take place until the 1960s, after Maslow himself had conducted an organisational investigation at a technology firm in the USA in 1962 with which he concluded that the basic principles of his theory were correct (Maslow 1965).

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Fredrick Hertzberg (1987) took the work of Maslow one step further by identifying the job of work itself as a source for motivation. Hertzberg denied that his work was based upon the previous work conducted by Maslow, but subsequent authors have noted similarities. The work undertaken by Hertzberg followed researched directed at ascertaining factors that lead to employee satisfaction, these multidisciplinary factors included; pay, status in the workplace and working conditions. Hertzberg's underlying assumption was that a single continuum existed ranging from job satisfaction at the top end of the scale, to job dissatisfaction at the lower end. Hertzberg's work proposed two different continua as detailed below:

Hygiene factors

These make up a continua ranging from dissatisfaction to no dissatisfaction. Examples of these factors are pay, interpersonal relations, supervision, company policy, working conditions and job security. Hertzberg argues that these factors do not serve to promote job satisfaction but their absence can promote job dissatisfaction. Their presence alone can serve to eliminate job dissatisfaction and are often referred to as the context of work.

Motivation factors

These make up a continua ranging from satisfaction to no satisfaction. Examples of these motivators include the job role itself being challenging, gaining recognition in the workplace and the scope for achievement, the possibilities for growth, career advancement and greater levels of responsibility. If workers are to be truly motivated, the job and its role must be the source of that motivation. The role of hygiene factors is to eliminate dissatisfaction by cleaning up the environment (Hertzberg 1966).

The approach taken by Hertzberg rests upon two assumptions about the nature of individuals and people in general; a need to avoid pain and a need to grow. Hygiene factors prevent dissatisfaction and pain by providing a good working context whilst motivation factors enable growth within the workplace towards self-actualisation. In order to reach this assumption, Hertzberg surveyed 200 engineers and accountants in the workplace, but did not study operative level workers. He asked middle class employees to report satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their role in the workplace and which motivational factors were likely to lead to their success at work. Alongside the non-inclusion of lower class workers his methodology in general has been criticised for ignoring important factors of motivation (Fincham and Rhodes 1992). Hertzberg did not believe that all jobs were capable of being enriched, or that they required enrichment. He further argued that all hygiene seekers could perform productively in the workplace and could remain satisfied in momentous and deskilled roles (Hertzberg 1987). This led to the idea of vertical loading, which in essence means designing jobs which increase motivation factors and allow for the psychological or personal growth of the employee. Furthermore Hertzberg proposed the idea of job enrichment, which would increase basic skills on the horizontal level and autonomy and responsibility on the vertical one. This involves giving whole tasks to individuals that have an increased level of complexity and greater expertise on the behalf of the employee. Vertical job loading resulted in employees acquiring more responsibility, recognition, growth, achievement, challenge and advancement. Hertzberg was not interested in studying the effect of horizontal specialisation, especially when looking at unskilled labour. This could be attributed to Hertzberg's work largely focusing upon the work conducted by professional workers. These jobs that were studied were highly amenable to increased in planning and problem solving (Child 1984).

The work of Hertzberg was built upon by Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham (1975) who developed a job characteristics enrichment model, more popularly referred to as the Hackman model. This model treated needs as a hierarchy as opposed to 2 separate continua as suggested by Hertzberg. The Hackman model suggests that in order to create job enrichment and job satisfaction tasks need be meaningful, entail responsibility for the task's outcomes and for feedback to be provided based upon the outcome. These 3 components could be considered as critical factors for high levels of motivation among the workforce, satisfaction and ultimately performance (Hackman and Oldham 1975). There are 5 core dimensions of a job and each of these impacts differently upon job redesign. The first 3 cover combining tasks, forming natural working teams or business units and establishing client relations, all of which make work meaningful, but not enriched. The remaining two, vertical loading and opening feedback channels, are the most important as they remove supervisory controls and increase individual responsibility. Hackman and Oldham identify personal and work outcomes, such as high motivation, quality performance and low absenteeism and turnover which provides the benefit of job enrichment to both the employee and their employing organisations.

Consistent with the previous work of Maslow and Hertzberg, Hackman and Oldham agree that lower-needs need be met first if job enrichment is to take place successfully. However, the way in which the Hackman model introduces the idea of individual differences and needs creates a greater feeling of acceptance for the work as opposed to Hertzberg's original research. Subsequently, it is suggested in the Hackman model that any failure to display the appropriate need drivers is perceived as an individual failure or weakness.

Job enrichment has been widely critiqued by various authors and theorists. A large argument is that the whole theme of job enrichment in focused upon professional, middle-class workers, where issues arising with regards to limits upon skills variety and task significance are more readily readdressed (Buchanan 1979). It is also apparent that the theories are more focused upon the work of individuals as opposed to the developing dynamic of teamwork (Fincham and Rhodes 1992). Contextual matters are also not addressed, including technology, wages and the implications of supervisory levels when redesigning roles, Hackman's model in particularly only acknowledges individual factors. The job enrichment theories in general are very managerial and the ideas for redesign are based upon the views of management figures in terms of the need for enrichment, subsequently worker participation is fairly low in the job redesign strategy. Another final important consideration is that a universal view is taken that those individuals seeking motivation will always welcome job enrichment, implying a consensus of views between management and their staff (Kelly 1982). It is clear that this is not always the case, but is not accounted for in the models reviewed.

Need to achieve, need for power and need to affiliate

David McCelland (1961) took a different view on motivation, one that not only included personality factors but also social influences. It offers a corrective view on the hierarchy of needs approach. McCelland believed that needs varied based upon their relative importance to individuals, opposing the hierarchy as suggested by Maslow. The 3 needs identified by McCelland are; the need to achieve, the need for power and the need to affiliate.

The need to achieve is most closely correlated to business success. Individuals with a high need to achieve reacted well to being challenges whilst those with a low need to achieve are more likely to seek less stimulating work in order to avoid failure and risk taking behaviour. High achievers are likely to pursue highly paid jobs as an incentive, linking in with the work of Hertzberg, that financial gain is also an important need. McCelland interestingly links those with a need for achievement with technological and economic growth in society, emphasising the importance of the social dimension.

McCelland and David Burnham (1976) believe that by including the dimensions of a need for power and for affiliation, it would become possible to see how each of these 3 variables affected the performance of a manager. Research by Richard Boyatzis (1982) concluded effective and successful managers had a greater need for power than a need for affinity. McCelland's concept implies 2 needs for power - a positive need for power which would excite and inspire followers to achieve in the workplace and a negative need for power which would be used to dominate and exert corrupt leadership through un-socialised means of behaviour (Petzall et al 1991).

A need for affiliation can be compared to Mayo's social man theory and is generally not associated with becoming a successful manager or with achieving a high level of performance within the workplace. McCelland's work has been criticised on several accounts. It does not account for cross-cultural differences including gender, race and age in defining individual and differing needs. McCelland also focused his studies upon those in managerial roles, limiting the whole concept of needs in a similar way to which Hertberg did.

Socio-technical systems

The limitations of the job enrichment models and McCelland's needs theory were challenged by the emergence of the socio-technical systems (STS) approach to job redesign. The STS approach focuses upon 4 key aspects;

A switch in analysis from individualistic behaviours to that of working groups and teams

Integration of small-group theory with systems theory - broadening the factors involved in job redesign

Identification of technological, social and economic systems as being critical to the job redesign process

Implementing autonomous working groups to redesign jobs.

STS and its approach can be described as creating autonomous groups with the responsibility for whole task or tasks within the workplace , where the integration of technological and social aspects of work take a firmer priority (Buchanan 1979). STS differs from job enrichment strategies in a number of ways including heightening the importance of worker participation in the job redesign process and increasing flexibility in the workplace. It has been argued that the best designed systems resulted in the optimisation of both social and technical systems (Lupton 1971). However, a key fault with this approach is the lack of autonomy in the grander picture, as when tasks fail or breakdown it is often difficult for management to source and isolate the problems. This could lead to a potentially damaging effect in terms of motivation and job satisfaction, ironically the problem the approach was aiming to tackle.

Total quality management

The success of Japanese car manufactures during the early 1980s, especially in terms of quality and productivity, resulted in a new interest in job redesign focused upon the principles of quality and practices (Womack, Jones and Roos, 1990). In the same way that Taylor aimed to, the gurus of Total Quality Management (TQM), Joseph Juran (1988) and Phillip Crosby (1979), set out with the aim of creating a revolution in the field of management. A key aim of the new approach and its way of thinking was to reverse and eradicate the most negative aspects of Taylorism, whilst incorporating the more progressive and humanistic elements contained in the job enrichment and STS theories. The key theme with the approach, in line with other TQM work is upon continuous improvement.

David Boje and Robert Winsor (1993) argued that TQM goes far beyond other job redesign strategies as it sought to integrate a programme of social and psychological engineering. TQM can be described as the engine of regaining competitive advantage and has been highly successful in transforming working cultures to mirror values and attitudes seen in the Japanese markets; the aim of course being to instil loyalty and work ethic leading to higher levels of employee motivation and subsequently business performance. TQM practices include on the job training, health service benefits, progression prospects and financial reward systems, with a view to building life-long employment prospects. TQM also saw the use of statistical control methods reintroduced heavily into the workplace.

More specifically in terms of motivation in the workplace, TQM fundamentally supports collective forms of problem solving, delegation to teams and the heightened importance of up streaming of communication. Whilst self regulating devolved action teams are considered the heart and soul of TQM, the steering comities, still comprised of the most senior managers are considered the brain of TQM (Cox 1995). Therefore TQM can still result in the de-motivation of employees, whilst many of the above listed could be perceived as motivating factors, Boje and Windsor argue that increased workloads and pressures upon employees lower in the hierarchy can lead to stress and lower levels of work-life balance. It has also been suggested that TQM is more concerned with restoring managerial power within the workplace through performance control than employee motivation (Balk 1995). In conclusion, it can be said that the effect of TQM upon employee motivation is dependant on the way in which that approach is implemented within organisations, which can be troublesome itself.

Business Re-engineering

Disenchantment with TQM due to its focus on incremental systems improvements led to the more radical job redesign strategy of business re-engineering (BR). Unlike TQM and its focus upon continuous improvement, BR advocates radical improvements in terms of both quality and cost by starting from scratch (Hammer and Champy 1993). 3 key processes that drive BR are customers, competition and change. Scientific management and its inefficiencies have created fragmented and narrow-minded organisations which Hammer and Champy aimed to challenge by ensuring that all processes within an organisation create value to its customers.

BR improves upon processes by looking at how things are done in an organisation or asking why they are done at all as opposed to analysing and changing existing processes. A key idea with BR is that many processes and practices exist due to historical precedent and the mindset which accompanies this. BR depends on developing systems by making use of information technology (IT) and using teams that mirror the processes that an organisation actually works around, as opposed to its functional areas, in order to execute processes (De Cock and Hipkin 1997).

Hammer and Champy's ideas are mainly IT driven (Oliver 1993) and focus upon and IT revolution in the workplace, similarly to Taylor's scientific revolution. They emphasise that process re-engineering does not equate to a happy workforce and that inevitably some employees will lose their positions, but firmly stress that the aim is to do more with less (Hammer and Champy 1993). Leaders of re-engineering need to be motivating and inspirational figures to gain and build commitment (Stewart 1993) and that employee motivation can be created in this way. However, several confusing messages arise from this approach, including the idea that a new working culture is easily created and adapted to (Buchannan 1995). The BR approach has also been referred to as dictatorial and hierarchical (De Cock and Hopkin 1997) and that employee de-motivation can occur due to added pressures of adapting to change and increased work pressures, especially when the changes are forcefully led by senior management figures within the workplace (Mishra et al 1998).

The meaning of work

A key question in the study of motivation in the workplace is of what work actually means to those who actually do it. This aspect of motivation is largely ignored by TQM and BR approaches. Goldthorope, Lockwood, Bechofer and Platt (1968) researched orientation to work and drew a fine distinction between the needs and wants of workers in the workplace. This work implies that the attitude and behaviours of employees should be understood in terms of particular situations and that there is not a universal in-built hierarchy of needs. Workers' needs and wants may therefore change in order to adapt to their current situation. For example, financial pressure may take precedence to an employee if they are besotted by financial problems and they may change job roles in order to satisfy this need. In this example, the employee is not deviant nor mentally ill, as commented by Hertzberg, but making a rational choice based on their assessment of their personal priorities and preferences (Dawson 1996).

New directions in motivation theory have linked the psychological treatment of motivation to the idea of the meaning of work, which has traditionally been a sociological question. Stephen Fineman (1983) explores the idea that studies of people in work can only provide a limited view of what is important to individuals. Our sense of positioning in the social structure can also be affected by whether we are in work or not. The implications of this are that there is an increasing changes to the structure of work, as seen with the rise of part-time and flexible working.

The idea of McDonaldization was introduced by George Ritzer (1990) and explored the nature of organisational behaviour in McDonalds fast food outlets. Bukard Sievers (1995) further explores the idea that changes in the structure of work have deskilled many jobs and have made more work meaningless. Ritzer's research of the McDonalds company and its Tayloristic operation has an oppressive effect upon its employees who are subject to strict working regulations, processes and practise. Howard Schwartz (1990) argues that in this situation employees stop asking questions or thinking for themselves as they are embraced by a strong corporate identity which drives and controls their own behaviours in the workplace. Further work by Ritzer, looking at the behaviours of staff in Disneyland, supports this view, as employees are characterised into behaving and presenting themselves in a certain way, as determined by the organisation.

The social view of motivation

The social constructionist view emphasises the important role of meanings and interpretations in shaping people's motivation. The key idea in this approach is the idea of how people understand and make sense of their organisational encounters. This can include events, situations, constraints, opportunities and moments of resistance. It has been argued that social constructionism is 'a philosophy in its own right, one which puts individuals at the centre of their own universe as architects' (Sims, Fineman and Gabriel 1993).

Social constructionists focus on accounts of motivation that are specifically learned, social and context bound. The model of interactional motivation, as presented by Jonathan Turner (1987) attempts to make the link to job redesign. Three key findings emerged as a result of his sociological research which were important in driving motivational levels, these were;

The need for a sense of group inclusion

The need for a sense of trust

The need for ontological security.

The key causes of anxiety were failure to achieve inclusion trust and security. Turner's work reaffirms the importance of sense making within organisations in understanding motivational processes. Turner argues that individuals need a sense of ethnology in terms of understanding who they are and what they stand for.

The importance of developing a common language and understanding among culturally diverse groups is now a fundamental motivational issue. A sense of shared meanings is key to ensure a cooperative and well working organisation. The potential negative effects could be very damaging to the dynamics of an organisation in terms of inclusion, cooperation and teamwork.

Emotions and motivation

Organisations and their management systems aim to eradicate unpredictable behaviour within the workplace, which is initiated as a result of emotional behaviour, so that business efficiency and rationality can be ensured. Emotional issues have been described as being present, but rarely dealt with by organiations (Linstead 1997). Emotional behaviour and energy is pivotal in ensuring that a sense of belonging is created within an organisation (Fineman 1993). Fineman also suggest that organisations demand various forms of emotional behaviour from their employees. Emotional management is often built in to the design of many jobs and its training; in this case employees not only have to deal with their own personal emotions but the emotions of loyalty and commitment to their employing organisation. A clear way of seeing this in practice was explored by Hochschild's (1983) research into flight attendant, debt collectors and doctors. The research concluded that this jobs had emotional labour structured into their roles - for example flight attendant are to smile, act positively and be courteous under all conditions and in all scenarios. However, this can have a damaging effect, especially when employees feel coerced into 'playing an act'. Employees may feel uncomfortable and uncertain about their own-self identity or self-concept which their performance violates, adds Hochschild.

Whilst Fineman points out that emotional labour does not cause all employees to feel estranged or confused, it is an important consideration that is still does to some workers. This can include work place rituals, which can be gender-based, for example a female working in a predominantly male working environment being subject to a traditionally male culture. This could lead to estrangement and a loss of motivation. However, it is important to note that it is not especially clear from Fineman's research whether emotional performance in the workplace ceases of whether it is carried back into the home or into other relationships.

Emotions are often left repressed or unspoken about in organisations, especially where emotions can have a negative effect such as fear, envy or greed (Bedeian 1995). Motivation is derived from both conscious and unconscious sources and these can either be resistant or malleable, recognised or unrecognised. A whole range of activities and forces can shape motivation in particular social relations (Burkitt 1991).


The literature reviewed explores the nature of motivation in great depth and can be used to answer some important questions ahead of further research into motivation in the workplace at Boots UK.

In summary classical theories of motivation identify that we work because we have needs to satisfy - needs for the basic elements of life, for example food and housing, and these are primarily obtained through salary and wages. Beyond these needs, we may work to be regarded with affection by our colleagues or as described by Maslow, to achieve self-actualisation and to fulfil our potential. McCelland identified the need for power, achievement and affiliation as being socially significant. Meanwhile more recent theories have taken social dimensions into account. The work of Turner identified the basic social needs of which 3 - group inclusion, trust and ontological security and the most important and relevant to the workplace.

It can be concluded that there are common features to motivation but the main source of motivation from one individual to the next is subject to variation. Life experience, age, gender and psychology are variables but so to is the contextual environment. Emotion is also an important and neglected part of work life and motivational theories tend to view motivation as a calculus rather than a separate form of inspiration.

The research shows that whilst job design is an important factor in motivation, it is far from exclusive. A well designed job role or group of jobs can have an influence. However, efforts which seek to motivate purely through good job design, which neglect other organisational factors are likely to be unsuccessful.

Basis for further research

Whilst the field of motivation in the workplace has been heavily researched, very little interest has been shown to the motivational effect of managerial style upon an employee. In light of this discovery, the main aim of continued research within this dissertation will be upon how differing managerial styles effect employee motivation in the workplace.