The Relationship Between Motivation And Performance Business Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The relationship between motivation and performance is often talked about but not many organizations are making concrete efforts to study it in detail and thus ending up walking in the blind alley rather than taking decision based on the findings and instigators.

Managers believe that motivation is just psyching up employees to give superior performance. It is no greater than old way of continuous supervision, after a time an employee no more is enthused about the prep talk, dangling carrot of increased incentives or histrionics of how the organization is making the world go round to further their career.

The measuring tools of the relationship are also rudimentary one; most organizations believe that their motivation strategies are working if there is lesser dis-satisfaction among employees and high retention rate.

The processes should be designed to enable employees to put in work their knowledge, skill and expertise. The results should be transparent enough so that an individual don't have to look for higher authorities to interpret the performance. Finally each individual should be treated as an individual not a cog in wheel. Time has come when people should be focus of business rather than technology, machinery and results. People deliver results when they know how they can increase their ability and opportunity in an organization not when they were told why they have to. The reason for it is inherently all human being know what to expect not only from themselves but also from the organizations. Congruence of these two needs can motivate employees to give their best rather than that pot of commission.


Workers in any organization need something to keep them working. Most times the salary of the employee is enough to keep him or her working for an organization. However, sometimes just working for salary is not enough for employees to stay at an organization. An employee must be motivated to work for a company or organization. If no motivation is present in an employee, then that employee's quality of work or all work in general will deteriorate.

Keeping an employee working at full potential is the ultimate goal of employee motivation. There are many methods to help keep employees motivated. Some traditional ways of motivating workers are placing them in competition with each other.

Employee motivation schematic


Herzberg, a psychologist, proposed a theory about job factors that motivate employees. Maslow, a behavioral scientist and contemporary of Herzberg's, developed a theory about the rank and satisfaction of various human needs and how people pursue these needs. These theories are widely cited in the business literature.

In the education profession, however, researchers in the '80s raised questions about the applicability of Maslow's and Herzberg's theories to elementary and secondary school teachers: Do educators, in fact, fit the profiles of the average business employee? That is, do teachers (1) respond to the same motivators that Herzberg associated with employees in profit-making businesses and (2) have the same needs patterns as those uncovered by

Maslow in his studies of business employees?

This digest first provides brief outlines of the Herzberg and Maslow theories. It then summarizes a study by members of the Tennessee Career Ladder Program (TCLP). This study found evidence that the teachers in the program do not match the behavior of people employed in business. Specifically, the findings disagree with Herzberg in relation the importance of money as a motivator and, with Maslow in regard to the position of esteem in a person's hierarchy of needs.

Herzberg's theory of motivators and hygiene factors

Herzberg (1959) constructed a two-dimensional paradigm of factors affecting people's attitudes about work. He concluded that such factors as company policy, supervision, interpersonal relations, working conditions, and salary are hygiene factors rather than motivators. According to the theory, the absence of hygiene factors can create job dissatisfaction, but their presence does not motivate or create satisfaction.

In contrast, he determined from the data that the motivators were elements that enriched a person's job; he found five factors in particular that were strong determiners of job satisfaction: achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, and advancement. These motivators (satisfiers) were associated with long-term positive effects in job performance while the hygiene factors (dissatisfiers) consistently produced only short-term changes in job attitudes and performance, which quickly fell back to its previous level.

In summary, satisfiers describe a person's relationship with what she or he does, many related to the tasks being performed. Dissatisfiers, on the other hand, have to do with a person's relationship to the context or environment in which she or he performs the job. The satisfiers relate to what a person does while the dissatisfiers relate to the situation in which the person does what he or she does.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

In 1954, Maslow first published Motivation and Personality, which introduced his theory about how people satisfy various personal needs in the context of their work. He postulated, based on his observations as a humanistic psychologist, that there is a general pattern of needs recognition and satisfaction that people follow in generally the same sequence. He also theorized that a person could not recognize or pursue the next higher need in the hierarchy until her or his currently recognized need was substantially or completely satisfied, a concept called prepotency. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is shown in Table 1. It is often illustrated as a pyramid with the survival need at the broad-based bottom and the self-actualization need at the narrow top.


Maslow's hierarchy of needs


Type of Need




Thirst, sex, hunger



Security, stability, protection


Love and Belongingness

To escape loneliness, love and be loved, and gain a sense of belonging



Self-respect, the respect others



To fulfill one's potentialities

TCLP study in relation to Herzberg's theory

According to Bellott and Tutor (1990), the problems with Herzberg's work are that it occurred in 1959--too long ago to be pertinent--and did not cover teachers. They cite earlier research by Tutor (1986) with Tennessee Career Ladder Program as a means of overcoming both those problems. TCLP has three levels, the largest and beginning one of which (Level I) has 30,000 members. Bellott and Tutor believe that the data from the study clearly indicate that the Level I participants were as influenced by motivation factors as by hygiene factors (Table 2), contrary to Herzberg's position that hygiene factors do not motivate.


Distribution of motivation and hygiene tendencies 

among teachers at the various 

Career Ladder levels (from Bellott and Tutor)


Level I

Level II

Level III

















The survey asked classroom teachers, "To what extent did salary influence your decision to participate in the (TCLP) program?" Teachers responded using a scale of from 1 (little influence on deciding to participate in the program) to 7 (large influence). The results for the four highest-average items, shown in Table 3, indicate that at all three levels teachers viewed salary as a strong motivating factor, easily the most important of 11 of Herzberg's hygiene factors on the survey.


The importance of various of Herzberg's 

hygiene factors in teachers' decisions to participate 

in TCLP (from Bellott and Tutor)


Level I

Level II

Level III

Personal life




Possibility for growth












Items ranked lower than those shown were Interpersonal relations with peers, with students, and with superiors; job security; school policy and administration; supervisor; and working conditions.

On Herzberg's five motivation factors, achievement ranked as the most important one. However, the overall conclusion drawn from the research is that salary was the single most important influence on the teachers' decisions to participate in TCLP, regardless of level in the organization. Further, actual salary increases ranged from $1000 to 7000 per year. The teachers perceived the amount of salary increase to be tied to achievement and the other motivation factors. 

The study and Maslow's theory

According to data from the TCLP survey, the teachers at all three experience levels are less satisfied with their personal achievement of esteem (a middle level need according to Maslow) than with their achievement of self-actualization. These results are summarized in Table 4. Therefore, it can be concluded that self-actualization is a prepotent need for esteem. Two reasons seem to account for this. First, self-actualization provides the basis for self-esteem. Second, this self-actualized performance is also the basis for reputation, the esteem of others.


It's okay to ask: What factors could be changed to help staff enjoy their work more in the XYZ depot?

Whereas it's not very clever to ask: Why is there such a crap attitude among staff at XYZ depot?

The second example is daft of course, but you see the point.

managing (just), or leading?

In this excellent guide article by motivation expert Blaire Palmer, ten central points (for some, myths) of employee motivation are exposed and explained, many with real case study references and examples.

employee motivation principles - a short case study - sounds familiar?

When Michael started his own consultancy he employed top people; people he'd worked with in the past who had shown commitment, flair and loyalty and who seemed to share his values. But a few months down the line one of his team members started to struggle. Jo was putting in the hours but without enthusiasm. Her confidence was dropping; she was unfocused and not bringing in enough new business.

Michael explained to Jo the seriousness of the situation. Without new business he would lose the company and that would mean her job. He showed her the books to illustrate his point. He again ran through her job description and the procedures she was expected to follow. He told her that he was sure she was up to the job but he really needed her to bring in the new business or they would all be out on their ear.

Jo told Michael that she understood. She was doing her best but she'd try harder.

But a month later nothing had changed. After an initial burst of energy, Jo was back to her old ways.

No matter how experienced a leader you are, chances are at times you have struggled to motivate certain individuals. You've tried every trick in the book. You've sat down one-to-one with the individual concerned and explained the situation. You've outlined the big vision again in the hope of inspiring them. You've given them the bottom line: "Either you pull your finger out or your job is on the line". You've dangled a carrot in front of them: "If you make your targets you'll get a great bonus". And sometimes it works. But not every time. And there have been casualties. Ultimately if someone can't get the job done they have to go.

The granddaddy of motivation theory, Frederick Herzberg, called traditional motivation strategies 'KITA' (something similar to Kick In The Pants). He used the analogy of a dog. When the master wants his dog to move he either gives it a nudge from behind, in which case the dog moves because it doesn't have much choice, or he offers it a treat as an inducement, in which case it is not so much motivated by wanting to move as by wanting choc drops! KITA does the job (though arguably not sustainably) but it's hard work. It means every time you want the dog to move you have to kick it (metaphorically).

Wouldn't it be better if the dog wanted to move by itself?

Transferring this principle back in to the workplace, most motivation strategies are 'push' or 'pull' based. They are about keeping people moving either with a kick from behind (threats, fear, tough targets, complicated systems to check people follow a procedure) or by offering choc drops (bonuses, grand presentations of the vision, conferences, campaigns, initiatives,


Although Herzberg's paradigm of hygiene and motivating factors and Maslow's hierarchy of needs may still have broad applicability in the business world, at least one aspect of each, salary as a hygiene factor (Herzberg) and esteem as a lower order need than self-actualization (Maslow), does not seem to hold in the case of elementary and secondary school teachers. These findings may begin to explain why good teachers are being lost to other, higher paying positions and to help administrators focus more closely on the esteem needs of teachers, individually and collectively.