The Relationship Between Theory And Practice Business Essay


Recent years have seen a turn towards 'Practice' as an object in management studies, Informed by the wider turn towards practice in contemporary Social theory (cited in W. Jack 1986). Throughout the history of management, there has been curiosity to understand the relationship between the researcher and the person who practices business.

This curiosity has led to unexpected inefficiencies resulting from the sluggish adoption of new concepts and improved techniques of making decisions; it has also drawn back managements growth towards professionalism since conflicts similar are rarely evident in more established fields such as Medicine, Law and Engineering.

Most consultants have been disappointed because their recommendations were not accepted and were not found to be practical before they were even given a trial; the lack of sustainability between beliefs, ambitions of researchers and practitioners has led to stereotyped relationships resulting in both parties forming different orientations. Those orientations listed and explained briefly below:

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Separate Functionalist: behaves as if management theory and practice are completely interdependent of one- another.

Communicator: emphasizing the need to create more understanding of the researcher on the part of the Manager, also emphasizing the need for the researcher to understand the manager.

Persuader: Arguing that the researcher must understand the manager for the manager to accept the researcher's recommendations.

Mutual Understanding: emphasizing that theory and practice cannot be separated, that researchers and managers are equally responsible for the acceptance and implementation of management theory.

According to Modernists, theories attempt to explain, create or describe a segment of reality; their perspective focuses on the organization as an independent objective entity and takes a positivist approach to generating knowledge. Modernist focus on how to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and other objective indicators of performance through the use of theories relating to structure and control.

Thorpe(1988) theory has a way of explaining action; it provides the managers with a common understanding and analytical powers with this tool manager's are able to reflect on and develop meaningful interventions, theory introduces them to principles that can be applied to a new and different problem across different backgrounds.

Theory is meant to provide enough information to face the assumptions of various management practices. It supplies technical knowledge that may be used for solving practical challenges; it demonstrates, explains and creates models to reflect upon necessary action. It is important to note that without practice theory makes no sense, just as practice makes sense through the reflections designed by theory. Managers need both and the interaction between the both to cope with the changing business environment.

Academicians may wish that practitioners select concepts on the basis of academic criteria such as logical rigor and empirical validity; on the other hand practitioners may hope that they have selected concepts on the basis of increased organizational efficiency and profitability. However, management concepts are applied at points separate from where and when knowledge is generated. Moreover, management knowledge is frequently used in various groups and individuals.

Theory and Practice should therefore be married so that one may influence the other.

Studying Personalities; the Difficulties Encountered and its Importance to Organizations

The starting point for understanding individual behavior in organizations is personality. Personality theory overlaps with other disciplines, most notably psychology; various theories try to explain personality (Ewen.R. 1988). There is a wide range of definitions to personality because of the complexities involved in defining individual personality in an organization.

Ian Brooks (2006) defined personality as "Specific characteristics of individuals which may be open or hidden and which may determine either commonality or differences in behavior in an organization".

David Buchanan and Andrzej Huczynski (2004) defined personality as the psychological qualities that influence an individual's characteristic behavior pattern in a stable and distinctive manner. The concept of personality underpins psychology's attempt to identify the unique characteristics of individuals and to measure and understand the differences between people. It is concerned with patterns of distinctiveness and stability, understanding behavioral patterns consistent with different contexts over time.

Difficulties Encountered in the Study

David Knights (2007) there has been assumptions that science is the best way to study personality, while some claim that natural science is more appropriate to study personality. Questions arising on whether personality is the outcome of nature or nurture- that is whether biological and genetic dispositions determines and explains personality, or whether the environment ( Historical and Social conditions Better explains its emergence. A major difficulty involved in understanding personality is "what to count relevant or significant in a person, knowing if there is a common difference.

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Examine a breakdown of difficulties encountered in studying personality below:

Flexibility: people are flexible and multifaceted, able to develop new skills and behaviors to adapt to new situations.

Performance depends on various factors like luck, training, payment systems, physical facilities, supervisory style, organizational structures, policies and procedures.

Changes in job conditions, predictions made on current measures are unreliable.

Nomothetic Methods work with population and large samples against which individual profiles can be compared; they are not designed to make predictions about individuals.

People do not usually give honest answers in assessments especially when job promotion is at stake

Too many factors to consider to make reliable decisions

Difficulties in Understanding Action Tendencies

Importance of Studying Personality

It provides a reliable indicator of identifying and measuring character or behavior.

Helps Management who seek greater Precision make predictions on a person's reliability using their personality.

It helps to identify potential candidate's communication skills, emotional control and judgment.

It helps in making management decisions based on the understanding of personalities

It helps to Analyze, Evaluate and Make Judgments on abstract data removed from day to day practices.

Understanding Motivation Theory and its Contribution to Organizational working; Illustrating key Arguments using Organizationally Based Examples

Theories of motivation make attempts to explain why people exhibit certain behaviors and factors that contribute to those behaviors. However, the relationship between Motivational theories and practice of management is crucial to the success of an organization. Gerald Cole (2004)

Gerald Defined Motivation as the Process in which people make choices between other forms of behavior in order to achieve certain goals. Motives are major determinants of behavior if they are understood behavior can be influenced. Motivation may be explored from three distinct but related perspectives;

Goals: the motives of behavior wealth, status and power trigger behavior directed towards their pursuit. This perspective view motivation in terms of desired goals, this question is addressed by content theories of Motivation.

Decisions: why people choose to pursue certain goals, why do we study hard to earn distinctions while a friend has a full social life and gets pass grades? This perspective views motivation in terms of cognitive decision making process, influencing an individual's choice of goals, this question addressed by process theories of motivation.

Influence: How can we motivate you to work harder? Manager wants to motivate employees to turn up in time and be helpful to customers.

David Buchannan (2004) defined motivation as a broad concept that includes preferences for particular outcomes, strength of effort and persistence in the face of barriers. These factors according to David need to be understood in order to motivate employees to behave in organizationally desirable ways.

Mullins (2005) described motivation as the direction and persistence of action. Concerning why people choose to do certain things in preference to others, and why they will continue with a chosen action, often over a Long Period, and in the face of difficult Problems.

There are a Number of theories that provide different conceptualizations of the factors that drives motivation in the workplace;

Theories of Motivation began to be developed as early as the 1930's and 40's (kanfer, 1991), focusing on psychological processes involved with the arousal, direction, intensity, and persistence of Voluntary actions that are goal directed (Mitchell, 1997).

Goal setting theory, one of the most important and empirically supported theories of Motivation (Locke and Lathem, 1990, 2002 cited in Myeong GU Seo Et Al, 2004) explaining the phenomenon of self regulation involved in work Motivation. The core predictions of this theory is that goal properties such as goal level and goal commitment, are direct determinants of purposeful action and work performance (Locke & Lathem, 1990; Locke et al, 1981)

Content theories for Motivation for example Abraham Marslows (1943, 1954, 1971 cited in David Buchannan) aim to resolve the perplexity between drives and Motives, arguing that people have nine (9) inborn Needs or Motives:

Biological Needs for sunlight, sexual expression, food, water, rest and oxygen in other words, needs basic to individual survival.

Safety needs, for security, Comfort, peace, freedom from fear and threat from the society, for shelter, and an organized world.

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Association needs, for attachment, belongingness, affection, love, relationships.

Value needs, for strength, confidence, achievement, self esteem, independence and for reputation, prestige recognition, attention and appreciation in other words, the need for a stable high evaluation based on capability and respect from others.

The need to know understand and gain systematized knowledge, the need for curiosity, learning, philosophizing, experimenting and exploring.

Aesthetic Needs for order and beauty.

Transcendence need, spirituality and cosmic identification, or to be at one with the Universe.

The need for freedom of expression, essential prerequisite for the satisfaction of other people's Needs.

Self Actualization Needs for the Development of our full Potential.

In general terms motivation just refers to the route and persistence of action .As previously explained it concerned with why people choose a particular course of action, often over a long period, and in the face of difficulties and problems. The underlying concept is the driving force within individuals by which they endeavor to achieve goals on order to satisfy certain needs and expectations (kast and Rosenzwerg, 1985 cited in Dillanthi Amaratunga and David Baldri 2002). In Understanding the effect of Motivation on the organization Douglas McGregor (1960) suggested several types of management styles:

Delegation: give people a degree of freedom to assume responsibility in helping to achieve organizational growth and development

Job Enlargement: people should be allowed to participate at all levels of the organization and to assume responsibility for providing solutions to problems.

Goal Setting and performance Appraisal: individuals should be involved in setting goals of their own that will act in line with those of the organization. Encouraging them to take greater responsibility for planning and appraising their contribution to the organizations objective.

Rabey (2001) quotes from different Motivational theories to show that motivation;

Influences Performance;

Reduces Absenteeism and turnover;

Influences Commitment to the Organization;

Leads to job satisfaction; and

Attracts people to an organization

The Performance reward connection shows that workers would recognize that rewards are allocated by the organization on the basis of performance. One requirement for action is critical and unavoidable, a willingness and desire by management at all levels to ask, and listen and respond (Rabey, 2001).

Other theories that explained the relationship between motivation and organizational work were;

Herzberg's Motivation theory; and

McGregor's Theory "X" and "Y".

Herzberg's Motivation theories concentrated on work satisfaction. He concluded that certain factors lead to job satisfaction (Motivators), while others led frequently to dissatisfaction (hygiene factors). He identified five factors that most often contributed to employee "dissatisfaction". These were seeming fairness of organizational policy, money, working conditions, relationship with managers, and relationship with co-workers. These factors are related to job context and they are concerned with the job environment as an extrinsic to the job itself. The other set of factors are those which if present, serve to motivate the individual to enhanced effort and performance. These "Motivators" include achievement, recognition the work itself and responsibility, these factors relate to job condition of the work itself. The potency of these factors will affect the feeling of satisfaction or no satisfaction but not dissatisfaction. This theory challenged the dominant theoretical assumptions prevailing at the time that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction could be presented on a continuum, at the Midpoint of which, an individual would experience a neutral state been neither satisfied or dissatisfied, Nigel Basset et al(2005).

Mc Gregor's Theory "X" and "Y"

Douglas McGregor Introduced theory X and Y in his book the Human Side of enterprise, (1960). He explains in his book the characteristics of managers who deal with employees with theory X and theory Y points of View and lists the qualities that contribute to both ways of thinking Managers who make theory X assumptions believe that employees hate and attempt to avoid work, need direction avoid conscientiousness and lack ambition. In contrast, Managers who make theory Y assumptions believe that employees do not dislike work, have self control and direction, and seek responsibility (Mc Gregor, 1960).

Douglas questioned one of fundamental assumption assumptions about human behavior in organization; he outlined a new role for Managers: rather than commanding and controlling subordinates, managers should assist them in reaching their full potential. Assumptions of this theory are;

That employees are Lazy

Capable of self Direction and self control, and

Capable of providing important ideas/ Suggestions that will improve Organizational Effectiveness.

Therefore with suitable Management Practices, Such as providing objectives and rewards and the opportunity to participate in decision making personal and organizational goals can simultaneously be realized. In contrast to theory Y, McGregor posited that conventional managerial assumptions (which he called theory X) reflect essentially an opposite and Negative View KopelMan et al (2008).


The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) is one of the largest financial institutions in the world.

It is a global business with a range of operations in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

RBS has centers in thirteen European countries, sixteen North American states and eight major

Asia Pacific cities.

As Maslow describes, workers are not motivated by money alone. Individuals are motivated by

Different things. Motivation can be about shaping a worthwhile career or it may involve having

More flexibility with time. For example, at the start of your career, help to pay off your student debt

May be more important to you than retirement planning. Employees at RBS enjoy Total Reward -

A specific benefits package designed by RBS that goes far beyond salary. It offers benefits for each

Member of staff that include not just money, but also personal choice in working hours and


The RBS Total Reward package also offers flexible pension funding, health and medical benefits,

Paid holidays, and a confidential advice service. Employees have a generous holiday allowance

(Between 25 and 30 days for full-time staff), with the option of buying or even selling days.

Employees may also choose from a wide range of lifestyle benefits, including discounted

Shopping vouchers, childcare facilities and RBS financial products, such as mortgages, currency Exchange, personal loans and banking at special staff discounted rates.


Despite various Contribution to enhancing the understanding of motivation, there is lack of attention to affective processes, this constrains the scope of motivation theories because of the implicitly shared and largely Unquestioned Assumption that People Deliberate and plan before they act (Lowenstein et al, 2001), Motivation Theories therefore fail to Address Motivational phenomena that are not based on discrete choice Processes. Myeong- GU Seo et al (2004)