The Process Of Employees Motivation Business Essay

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in the field of motivation and necessary to facilitate a comprehensive analysis and understanding of the research question .It may be useful to conceptualise the term financial motivation and what its concepts are. A broader definition of motivation will be introduced.

2.1 what is motivation?

1According to Greenberg and Baron (2000 p190) this definition could be divided into three

main parts. The first part looks at arousal that deals with the drive, or energy behind

individual (s) action. People turn to be guided by their interest in making a good impression

on others, doing interesting work and being successful in what they do. The second part

referring to the choice people make and the direction their behaviour takes. The last part deals

with maintaining behaviour clearly defining how long people have to persist at attempting to

meet their goals.

Kreitner (1995), Buford, Bedeian &Linder (1995), Higgins (1994) all cited in Linder

(1998,p3) defined motivation as "the psychological process that gives behaviour purpose and

direction, a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific unmet needs,

an unsatisfied need, and the will to achieve, respectively.

Young (2000, p1) suggest that motivation can be defined in a variety of ways, depending on

who you ask .Ask some one on the street, you may get a response like "its what drives us" or

"its what make us do the things we do." Therefore motivation is the force within an individual

that account for the level, direction, and persistence of effort expended at work."


Halepota (2005, p16) defines motivation as "a persons active participation and commitment

to achieve the prescribed results. "Halepota further presents that the concept of motivation is

abstract because different strategies produce different results at different times and there is no

single strategy that can produce guaranteed favourable results all the times."

According to Antomioni (1999, p29), "the amount of effort people are willing to put in their

work depends on the degree to which they feel their motivational needs will be satisfied. On

the other hand, individuals become de-motivated if they feel something in the organisation

prevents them from attaining good outcomes.

It can be observed from the above definitions that, motivation in general, is more or less

basically concern with factors or events that moves, leads, and drives certain human action or

inaction over a given period of time given the prevailing conditions. Further more the

definitions suggest that there need to be an" invisible force" to push people to do something in

return. It could also be deduced from the definition that having a motivated work force or

creating an environment in which high levels of motivation are maintained remains a

challenge for today's management. . This challenge may emanate from the simple fact that

motivation is not a fixed trait -as it could change with changes in personal, psychological,

financial or social factors.

For this thesis, the definition of motivation by Greenberg & Baron (2003) is adopted, as it is

more realistic and simple as it considers the individual and his performance. Greenberg

&Baron defines motivation as:

"The set of processes that arouse, direct, and maintain human behaviour towards

attaining some goal". (Greenberg &Baron, 2003, p190)

Bassett-Jones &Lloyd (2005, p931) presents that two views of human nature underlay early

research into employee motivation. The first view focuses on Taylorism, which viewed

people as basically lazy and work -shy", and thus held that these set of employees can only be

motivated by external stimulation. The second view was based on Hawthorn findings, which

held the view that employees are motivated to work well for "its own sake" as well as for the

social and monetary benefits this type of motivation according to this school was internally



2.2 Motivational theories

Even though much research been conducted on the field of financial motivation and many

researchers and writers have proposed theories on the concept of financial motivation, and its

role in enhancing employee's performance in every organisation some of these models have

been widely used and accepted by today's organisations leaders. In this thesis discussion on

some of the motivational theories will include Alders (ERG theory), Maslow (Need theory),

Vrooms (Expectancy theory), Adams (Social equity theoty), Taylor (productivity theory),

Herzberg (Two factor theory), Mac Gregory (theory X and Y), Geogopalaus (path goal

theory) and skinner (Reward theory). To better understand this discussion a summary of the

theories is presented and an indebt discussion on Maslow and ERG theories on which I base

my thesis overlooked.

Alder asserts in his Existence relatedness and growth theory commonly known as the ERG

theory that there are three basic human needs: Existence, relatedness and growth, which must

be meet by an employee to enable him, increase performance.

Maslow (1943) suggests that human needs can be classified into five categories and that

these categories can be arranged in a hierarchy of importance. These include physiological,

security, belongings, esteem and self-actualisation needs. According to him a person is

motivated first and foremost to satisfy physiological needs. As long as the employees remain

unsatisfied, they turn to be motivated only to fulfil them. When physiological needs are

satisfied they cease to act as primary motivational factors and the individual moves "up" the

hierarchy and seek to satisfy security needs. This process continues until finally selfactualisation

needs are satisfied. According to Maslow the rationale is quite simple because

employees who are too hungry or too ill to work will hardly be able to make much a

contribution to productivity hence difficulties in meeting organisational gaols.

Vroom (1964) proposes that people are motivated by how much they want something and

how likely they think they are to get it he suggest that motivation leads to efforts and the

efforts combined with employees ability together with environment factors which interplay's

resulting to performance. This performance interns leads to various outcomes, each of which

has an associated value called Valence.


Adams (1965) on his part suggests that people are motivated to seek social equity in the

rewards they receive for high performance. According to him the outcome from job includes;

pay, recognition, promotion, social relationship and intrinsic reward .to get these rewards

various inputs needs to be employed by the employees to the job as time, experience, efforts,

education and loyalty. He suggests that, people tend to view their outcomes and inputs as a

ratio and then compare these ratios with others and turn to become motivated if this ratio is


Taylor (1911) observed the soldering by employees, which is a situation whereby workers

work less than full capacity. He argued that soldering occurs due to the fact employee's fear

that performing high will lead to increasing productivity, which might cause them to lose their

jobs. This slow paces of work where promoted by faulty systems however this situation is not

what prevails with contemporary employees who organisations evaluate them through their


Herzberg suggested that there are factors in a job, which causes satisfaction. These he called

intrinsic factors (motivators) and other factor he refers to as dissatisfies (hygiene factors).

According to him if the motivational factors are met, the employee becomes motivated and

hence performs higher.

Mac Gregory suggested that there exist two sets of employees (lazy and ambitious

employees) With lazy employees representing theory X, hard and ambitious workers

representing Y. According to him the lazy employee should be motivated to increase

performance in an organisation

Geogopalaus path Goal theory of motivation states that, if a worker sees high productivity as

a path leading to the attainment of one or more of his personal goals, he will turn to be a high

producer. But if he sees low productivity as the path leading to the attainment of his goal he

will turn to be a low producer and hence needs to be motivated.

This discussion on the above motivational theories explains the fact that the concept of

employee's motivation has been a critical factor addressed by previous authors as what

determines the core competence of every organisation in achieving a competitive position.


Skinner who propounded that any behaviour that is rewarded tends to be repeated supported

this view.

The term motivation has been used in numerous and often contradictory ways. Presently

there appears to be some agreements that the crucial thread that distinguishes employee's

motivated behaviours from other behaviour is that it is goal directed behaviour, Bindra (2000

P223) agues that the core of motivating individuals lays in the goal-directed aspect of


Jones suggested "motivation is concern with how behaviour gets started, is energised, is

sustained, is directed, is stopped and what kind of subjective re-action is present in the

organisation while this is going on. The Jones statement can be converted into a diagram

which shows the employee motivational process as it influences performance.

Figure 1.1. The process of employees motivation


The figure illustrates that the process begins because of tension within drives or needs of an

employee. Next there is a search within the company or groups or within employee to fulfil

his desires. When the employee is satisfied with his financial motivation he redefines his

desires and needs and the process is initiated again.

These groups of researchers were over the years divided into what was later labelled the

content and process theories of motivation. According to steers, mowday &Shapiro

Tension or drive

To fulfil or need

Fulfilment and

Re-definition of needs

Goal directed



(2004,p382) the process generated during this period, makes this period referred to as "the

golden age of work motivation theories".

"Never before and, some would argue, never since has so much progress been made in

explicating the aetiology of work motivation" (steers et al., 2004, pp380-383)

Bassett-Jones & Lloyd (2005,p 932) suggests that the "content theorists led by Herzberg,

assumed a more complex interaction between both internal and external factors, and explored

the circumstances in which individuals respond to different internal and external stimuli. On

the other hand, process theory, where victor Vroom was the first exponent considers how

factors internal to the person result in different behaviours.

From the focus point of these two groups, one could observe that the process theories attempt

or try to understand the thinking processes an individual might go through in determining how

to behave in a workplace. The primary focus was on how and why questions of motivation,

how a certain behaviour starts, developed and sustained over time.

It is true that human behaviour in general is dynamic and could affect the individual's

personal altitude as well as factors surrounding that individual. These exogenous factors

eminent from the environment in which the individual operates generate stimuli to employees.

It is my belief that employees in general are goal seeking and look for challenges and expect

positive re-enforcement at all times. Hence it could only be of benefit if organisations could

provide these rewards and factors. Though I have discussed earlier in this thesis that

employees are financially motivated, motivation could be seen as a moving target, as what

motivates differs among different people. And may even change for the same person over a

given period of time, developments within the modern organisation has probably made

motivating employees ever more difficult due to the nature of every individual, behaviour

increasing the complexity of what can really motivate employees.

According to Bassette-jones & Lloyd (2005,p.932) "expectancy, equity, goal setting and

reinforcement theory have resulted in the development of a simple model of motivational

alignment. The model suggest that once needs of employees are identified, and organisational

objectives and also satisfy employee needs .If poorly aligned, then low motivation will be the



According to (Wiley, 1997,p264) "modern approaches to motivation may be organised into

three related clusters: (1) personality-based views (2) cognitive choice or decision approaches

and (3) goal or self-regulation perspective; where personality-based views emphasise the

influence of enduring personal characteristics as they affect goal choice and striving.

Workplace behaviour is posited to be determined by persons current need state in certain

universal need category. Cognitive choice approaches to work motivation emphasise two

determinant of choice and action; expectations, and subjective valuation of the consequences

associated with each alternative. These expectancy value theories are intended to predict an

individual choice or decision. Goal framework to work motivation emphasise the factors that

influence goal striving which focuses on the relationship between goals and work behaviour.

The assumption is that an employees conscious intentions (goals) are primary determines of

task-related motivation since goals direct their thoughts and action".

It is worth noting that an in-depth review of all the different theories mentioned above, is

beyond the scope of this thesis. However, the personality-based perspective of work

motivation within which Maslow need theory of motivation and Alders ERG theory falls will

provide the main support and serve as a foundation for the research reported in this thesis.

Specifically, as organisational scholars have paid a great deal of attention to the idea that

people are motivated to use their jobs as mechanisms for satisfying their needs. This thesis

intend to use Maslows hierarchy of need theory of motivation as a foundation to identify the

factors that motivate today's employees, and in the process determine a ranking order of

factors that motivates these employees, the original Maslow theory will be looked at more

detail hereof.

2.3 History and Explanation of Maslows Hierarchy of Need Theory

The "motivation to work" published by Maslow probably provided the field of organisational

behaviour and management with a new way of looking at employees job altitudes or

behaviours in understanding how humans are motivated. Probably the best-known

conceptualisation of human needs in organisations has been proposed by this theory. Abraham

Maslow was a clinical psychologist who introduced his theory based on personal judgement,

which was generally known as the need hierarchy theory. According to him if people grew in

an environment in which their needs are not met, they will be unlikely to function as healthy

individuals or well-adjusted individuals. This idea was later applied to organisations to


emphasise the idea that unless employees get their needs met on the job, they will not function

as effectively as possible.

Specifically Maslow theorised that people have five types of needs and that these are

activated in a hierarchical manner. This means that these needs are aroused in a specific order

from lowest to highest, such that the lowest-order need must be fulfilled before the next order

need is triggered and the process continues. If you look at this in a motivational point of view

Maslow's theory says that a need can never be fully met, but a need that is almost fulfilled

does not longer motivate. According to Maslow you need to know where a person is on the

hierarchical pyramid in order to motivate him/her. Then you need to focus on meeting that

person's needs at that level (Robbins 2001)

According to Greenberg and Baron (2003,p192) the five needs identified by Maslow

corresponds with the three needs of Alderfers ERG theory. Where as Maslow theory specifies

that the needs be activated in order from lowest to highest Alder's theory specifies that the

needs can be activated in any order. His approach is much simpler than Maslows. Alder

specifies that there exist three main needs as opposed to five postulated by Maslow. This

human basic needs include existence, relatedness and growth. These needs according to Alder

need not necessarily activated in any specific order and may be activated at any time.

According to him Existence needs corresponds to Maslows physiological needs and safety

needs. Relatedness needs corresponds to Maslows social needs and growth needs corresponds

to esteem and self-actualisation needs by Maslow

Below is a summary of these needs that in this thesis are divided into Deficiency needs

(psychological, safety, social needs) and Growth needs (esteem, self-actualisation needs).

Factors Explanation

􀂙 Physiological needs are the need at the bottom of the triangle and include the lowest order

need and most basic. This includes the need to satisfy the fundamental biological drives

such as food, air, water and shelter. According to Maslow organisations must provide

employees with a salary that enable them to afford adequate living conditions. The

rationale here is that any hungry employee will hardly be able to make much of any

contribution to his organisation.


􀂙 Safety needs this occupies the second level of needs. Safety needs are activated after

physiological needs are met. They refer to the need for a secure working environment free

from any threats or harms. Organisations can provide these need by providing employees

with safety working equipment e.g. hardhats, health insurance plans, fire protection etc.

The rationale is that employees working in an environment free of harm do their jobs

without fear of harm.

􀂙 Social needs: This represents the third level of needs. They are activated after safety needs

are met. Social needs refer to the need to be affiliated that is (the needed to be loved and

accepted by other people). To meet these needs organisations encourage employees

participation in social events such as picnics, organisations bowling etc

􀂙 Esteem needs this represents the fourth level of needs. It includes the need for self-respect

and approval of others. Organisations introduce awards banquets to recognise

distinguished achievements.

􀂙 Self-actualisation: This occupies the last level at the top of the triangle. This refers to the

need to become all that one is capable of being to develop ones fullest potential. The

rationale here holds to the point that self-actualised employees represent valuable assets to

the organisation human resource.

Most research on the application of need theory found that although lower-level managers are

able to satisfy only their deficiency needs on the jobs, managers at the top level of

organisations are able to satisfy both their deficiency and growth needs (Greenberg &Baron

2003 p.194) this view was supported by Shipley & Kiely (1988, p.18)

Shiply & Kiely (1988,p.18) argue that as " need satisfaction is an attitude, and that it is

perfectly possible for a worker to be satisfied with his/her need, but not be motivated the

reverse of which holds equally true. Hence, need satisfaction and motivation are not

synonymous and both need fulfilment and un- fulfilment can have negative as well as positive

influence on motivation

2.4 Organisational /managerial Applications of Maslows Need theory

The greatest value of Maslows need theory lies in the practical implications it has for every

management of organisations (Greenberg & Baron 2003 p.195). The rationale behind the


theory lies on the fact that it's able to suggest to managers how they can make their

employees or subordinates become self-actualised. This is because self-actualised employees

are likely to work at their maximum creative potentials. Therefore it is important to make

employees meet this stage by helping meet their need organisations can take the following

strategies to attain this stage

􀂾 Recognise employee's accomplishments: Recognising employee's accomplishments is an

important way to make them satisfy their esteem needs. This could take the form of

awards, plagues etc.. According to (Greenberg & Baron 2003, p197) research carried out

in GTE Data services in Temple Terrace, Florida shows that awards are given to

employees who develop ways of improving customer's satisfaction or business

performance. But it should be noted that according to Greenberg &Baron awards are

effective at enhancing esteem only when they are clearly linked to desired behaviours.

Awards that are too general fail to meet this specification.

􀂾 Provide financial security: Financial security is an important type of safety need. So

organisations to motivate their employees need to make them financially secured by

involving them in profit sharing of the organisation. In a research carried out with AT&T

and Wang showed that 50% of their employees received financial outplacement services

to assist laid-off employees in securing new jobs.

􀂾 Provide opportunities to socialise: Socialisation is one of the factors that keep employees

feel the spirit of working as a team. When employees work as a team they tend to increase

their performance. Research conducted on IBM shows that it holds a "family day" picnic

each spring near its Armonk, New York headquarters.

􀂾 Promote a healthy work force: Companies can help in keeping their

Employees physiological needs by providing incentives to keep them healthy both in health

and mentally. In a research carried out at the Hershey Foods Corporation and Southern

California Edison Company showed that Employees are provided with insurance rebates with

health lifestyles while extra premiums were given to those with risk habits like smoking.

2.5 Criticisms of Maslows Need theory of motivation

Maslow proposed that if people grew up in an environment in which their needs are not meet,

they would be unlikely to function healthy, well-adjusted individuals. Research testing

Maslow's theory has supported the distinction between the deficiencies and growth needs but

showed that not all people are able to satisfy their higher-order needs on the job. According


the results of the research managers from higher echelons of organisations are able to satisfy

both their growth and deficiency needs lower level managers are able to satisfy only their

deficiency needs on the job. Maslow's theory has not received a great deal of support with

respect to specific notion it proposes (Greenberg &Baron 2003, p195). To them this model is

theorised to be especially effective in describing the behaviour of individuals who are high in

growth need strength because employees who are different to the idea of increasing their

growth will not realise any physiological reaction to their jobs.

Centers & Bgental (1966, .193) in their survey carried out among a cross-section of the

working population in Los Angeles, posited "background factors, altitudes and aspirations

affects workers needs, expectations and situation assessment". According to Graham &

Messner (1998, p.196) there are generally three major criticisms directed to the need theory

and other content theories of motivation. (A) There is scant empirical data to support their

conclusions, (b) they assume employees are basically alike, and (c) they are not theories of

motivation at all, but rather theories of job satisfaction. This was supported by the views of

Nadler & Lawler (1979) in Graham &Messner (2000, p 188).

Nadler & Lawler (1979) cited in Graham & Messner (2000,p.198) where also critical of the

need theory of motivation. They argue that the theory makes the following unrealistic

assumptions about employees in general that: (a) all employees are alike (b) all situations are

alike and that (c) there is only one best way to meet needs. Another critic to this view was

Basset-Jones & Lloyd (2004, p 961).

Basset-Jones & Lloyd (2004, p 961) presents that in general, critics of the need theory argue

that it is as a result of the natural feeling of employees to take credit for needs met and

dissatisfaction on needs not met.

Nonetheless and regardless of the heavy criticism levied at the hierarchy of need theory, I

believe that this theory has a made a significant contribution in the field of organisational

behaviour and management especially in the area of employee motivation and remains

attractive to both researchers and managers alike. The incorporation of the need theory into

the work environment today could be as a result of the contributions made so far by Maslows

Hierarchy of need theory.


2.6 Empirical studies on employee motivation using the original and

adapted Maslows model

If any person has to come up with the question that is there any need for employees

motivation? The answer to this type of question of-course should be simple-the basic survival

of every organisation be it public or private limited before, today and in the foreseeable future

lies in how well its work force is motivated to meet the objectives of the organisation. This

explains why the human resource department in today's organisation is became a focus of its

core functions. I think that motivated employees are needed in this rapidly Business world

where the principal-agent conflict is the issue confronting most managers. Most organisations

now consider their human resources as their most valuable assets (a strategic or competitive

advantage). Therefore, in order to effectively and efficiently utilise this strategic asset, I

believe managers and the organisation as a whole, must be able and willing to understand and

hopefully provide the factors that motivate its employees within the context of the roles and

duties they perform. This is because highly motivated employees are the cause of high

productivity levels and hence higher profits for the organisation. Having noted this rationale

the next question one may ask is what factors motivate today's employees"?

According to Wiley (1997, p265) at some point during our lives, virtually every person may

have to work. He claims that working is such a common phenomenon that the question "what

motivates people to work is seldom asked. Wiley went on to say that "we are much more

likely to wonder why people climb mountains or commit suicide than to question the

motivational basis of their work",. Therefore, exploring the altitudes that employees hold

concerning factors that motivate them to work is important to creating an environment that

encourages employee motivation.

From the much amount of literature available on employee motivation, it is clearly evident

that a lot of surveys regarding employees and what motivates them have been undertaking.

These employee motivation surveys have been conducted in many different job situations,

among different categories of employees using different research methods and applications.

One of the very first survey to be conducted was on industrial workers by (Hershey &

Blanchard, 1969) over the years, similar or different survey employees have been carried out

see (Kovach, 1987, 1993) (Wiley, 1995), (Lindner, 1998, 1999)


According to a research carried out by Kovach on industrial employees who were asked to

rank ten "job rewards" factors based on personal preferences where the value 1 represented

most preferred and 10 being the least preferred. The results were as follows (1) full

appreciation of work done (2) feeling of being (3) sympathetic help with personal problems

(4) job security (5) Good wages and salaries (6) interesting work (7) promotion & Growth (8)

employees loyalty (9) Good working conditions (10) tactful discipline

During the periods of (1946, 1981 & 1986) when employee surveys were carried out,

supervisors were at the time asked to rank job rewards, as they taught employees would rank

them. The rankings by the supervisors were relatively consistent for each of the years. These

rankings were as follows: (1) Good wages (2) Job security (3) promotion and Growth (4)

working conditions (5) interesting work (6) personal loyalty to employees (7) tactful

discipline (8) full appreciation (9) sympathetic help with personal problems (10) recognition

(Kovach 1987 p.49-54)

The results from the supervisor survey indicated that their ranking had not changed over the

study period with regards their collective perception of factors that motivate employees. This

shows that they had a very inaccurate perception of what motivates employees but also that

they did not realise the importance of the need theory

In a survey by Wiley (1997, p.278) in which approximately 550 questionnaires were

administered to person employed at different industries and divided into 5 subgroups, or

categories namely: (occupation, gender, income levels, employment status and age) they were

asked to rank 10 factors according to the level of importance each is in motivating them to

perform best with the most important factor ranked 1 and the least important ranked 10th. The

survey concluded with the following collective rank order by respondents: (1) Good wages (2)

full appreciation of work done (3) job security (4) promotion (5) interesting work (6)

company loyalty to employees (7) Good working conditions (8) tactful discipline (9)

recognition (10) sympathetic help with personal problems.

The results from a representative sample of the labour force in seven different countries by

Harpaz (1991 p.75) showed that the two most dominant work goals were "interesting work"