The theories emphasized in Employee Motivation

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Employee motivation theories are strongly emphasized by today's management to satisfy employees in order to control absenteeism, turnover and retain a competent workforce. Employees intention to leave or stay not only depends on work factors but also on non-work factors (Moorhead & Griffin, 2009 )."Managers have the responsibility to create a proper climate in which employees can develop to their fullest potential. Failure to provide such a climate would theoretically increase employee frustration and could result in poor performance, lower job satisfaction, and increase withdrawal from organization" (Steers & Porter, 1983) .This section provides a historical perspective on motivation theories and the role of employee motivation theories in organizational retention practices. According to Swanson (2001) a theory should not only be scholarly but also evident through practice.

Motivation is derived from a Latin word "movere" which means to move (Kretiner ,1998). In general motivation is concerned with efforts towards any defined goal; "Motivation is important in organizations because in conjunction with ability and environment it determines performance" and this relationship can be stated by equation P=f(M,A and E) (Moorhead & Griffin, 2009). Robbins (1993) defined motivation in organizational context as "the willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort's ability to satisfy some individual need." Robbins, Judge & Sanghi (2009) believed that motivation is determined by the intensity, direction and persistence of individual efforts to achieve a goal. Furthermore, a difference of opinion is found among motivational theorists regarding individual needs but most agree that motivation requires ability and a desire to act towards a goal. Following motivation theories were selected for review in relevance to their significance towards employee retention

Theories and Models of Employee Motivation and Satisfaction

Murray's Manifest Needs

H.A Murray (1938) believed that people have different set of needs that motivates behavior and that multiple needs with different degree of intensity may operate at the same time. Murray identified direction and intensity as two important components of a need. These ideas were further translated into operational framework by J.W. Atkinson (1964).

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943), influenced by the human relations school of thought, presented that five different levels of needs exist in every human being which have to be satisfied in a hierarchal way starting from lowest order of need and moving towards upper order of need. As one level of need is satisfied the next need becomes dominant. These five level of need are Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem and Self-actualization respectively. Furthermore Maslow classified physiological and safety needs as lower order whereas social, esteem and self-actualization as upper level of needs. Based on Maslow hierarchy of needs Champagne and McAfee (1989) suggested potential ways to satisfy employee needs and believed that managers following these will be more supportive and considerate managers.

Alderfer's ERG Theory

Clayton Alderfer (1972) attempted to extend and refine Maslow's need hierarchy theory to conduct a more empirical research. He classified human core needs into three needs based groups as Existence, Relatedness and Growth needs. Existence needs are similar to Maslow's physiological and security needs .The Relatedness needs are similar to Maslow's social and status needs and Growth needs are similar to Maslow's Self-actualization need. Alderfer suggested that multiple needs may operate at the same time to motivate a person.

McClelland's Need Theory

McClelland's (1961) proposed "Theory of need" believing that people have a drive for personal achievement. He focused on Achievement, Power and Affiliation needs. The need for achievement is the drive to effectively accomplish a goal. Need for power is the desire to control the resources in one's environment and need for affiliation is the need for human companionship (Moorhead & Griffin, 2009). Furthermore, McClelland argued that these needs are subconscious to a person. This theory had the best research support as compared to other early theories of motivation. McClelland suggested that high achievers tend to be successful entrepreneurs. People with high affiliation need spend more time in maintaining social relationship. According to McClelland top managers should have a high need of power and a low need of affiliation (Kretiner, 1998).

Herzberg's two factor/Motivation-Hygiene theory

Fredrick Herzberg (1959) and his associates argued that the traditional one dimensional model of satisfaction and motivation was incorrect. Herzberg identified two distinct sets of factors that were associated with the satisfaction and dissatisfaction in a job and stated that two different dimensions must be involved. Employee may be satisfied or not satisfied and at the same time may be dissatisfied or not dissatisfied. A set of"Motivators" included those factors that were intrinsic to work itself whereas the set of "Hygiene" factors included those that were extrinsic and non-work related. Furthermore, Herzberg (1968) suggested seven steps for enriching a job arguing that a job need to be fully enriched in order to truly motivate an employee.

Equity Theory

Adams (1965) explained the satisfaction of employees in term of their perceptions of being treated fairly or unfairly in relation to others. On the basis of the ratio of inputs, such as efforts, to outcomes, such as salary, employees seek to maintain equity against the perceived ratio of inputs to outcomes of others. The belief is that perception of equity by employee motivates them to maintain the status quo and continue giving the same input on the other hand the perception of being under rewarded or over rewarded generates a tension which motivates them to reduce it. Adam suggested that to reduce this state of inequity an employee may change his input and outcome, perception about self and others, the object of comparison or as a last option may leave the organization. A challenge for today's management is to design a reward system that is in accordance to the employees feeling of equity.

Expectancy Theory

Expectancy theory holds that to act in a certain way depends on the expectation of performance through efforts, expectation of reward through performance and the attractiveness of that reward to an individual. According to Vroom (1964, p.15) "Choices made by a person among alternative courses of action are lawfully related to psychological events occurring contemporaneously with the behavior". The three components that were involved in this process as identified by Vroom were Valence, Instrumentality and Expectancy. Expectancy is the perception of an individual about how much effort will make one to perform to a certain level, Instrumentality is the perception of an employee about getting a reward on basis of that particular level of performance and the Valence is the importance of that reward to an individual.

Porter and Lawler's Expectancy Model

Using the Vrooms expectancy theory as a foundation Porter and Lawler developed an expectancy model of motivation. The model concludes that an individual motivation and effort is affected by the perceived probability of effort-reward and the value of reward to an individual. The feelings of equity of rewards among employees determine the job satisfaction. Furthermore, the model links the efforts with the performance. Porter (1968) argued that the employees traits, role perception and abilities moderates the association between effort and performance.

Job Characteristic Model

Hackman J.R. and Oldham G.R. (1980) highlighted five job characteristics and identified them as skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. They associated them to personal and work outcomes. According to the model these job characteristics directly influence three psychological states of employees that are meaningfulness of work, responsibility for outcomes and knowledge of results respectively. Increase in these three psychological states will as a result enhance motivation, performance, and job satisfaction.

Identification of retention variables in respective motivational theories and their organizational implications

The retention factors identified in respective theories are categorized as:

Individual Need Factors: Satisfaction of individual needs is important for employee retention. These needs vary from employee to employee. According to Moslow's, A. (1943), McClelland (1961) and Alderfer,C.(1972) employee is motivated by physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, achievement needs and need for power. Organizations can identify individual needs and design flexible compensation and benefit plans that helps employee to stay intact to their respective organizations.

Work Environment factors: Herzberg, F. (1959) identified various environmental factors that are associated with employee dissatisfaction at work. As argued by Adams(1965) dissatisfied employee may intend to leave the organization. The provision of productive and congenial work environment may be a successful tool for reducing employee turnover.

Factors related with nature of work and job design: Herzberg, F. (1959); Hackman J.R. and Oldham G.R. (1980) argued the work and job related factors like Autonomy, Responsibility, feedback, task identity, task significance and skill variety affect employee motivation. Effective job design plays a vital role in employee job satisfaction and their tendency to stay with their respective organizations.

Attractive Rewards: Adam(1965); Vroom(1964) and Porter(1968) argued that significance of reward to individual is important for employee motivation, satisfaction and effective performance. Organizations designing attractive rewards can not only retain but also attract competent employees.

Employee Training and Development: Porter (1968) argued that employee ability is also associated with employee performance. Employee will be motivated to achieve a task if he believes he can succeed. Organizations providing training, development and opportunities to learn and grow are more capable of retaining employees for a longer period of time.


Previous researches conducted on faculty retention have contributed significantly to academic research and provide a strong platform for future studies. Through out the literature the most significant areas highlighted by majority of researchers are salary, rewards and satisfaction of faculty members. (Hagedorn, 1996; Matier, 1990). Moreover, these issues within the broader areas of worklife and satisfaction have also been shown to have a significant impact on the intended turnover of faculty members, either directly or indirectly (Rosser, 2004; Johnsrud and Heck, 1994; Smart, 1990).

The turnover behavior of faculty member varies according to respective disciplines that are prominent in particular in higher education institutions (Youn 1992). Furthermore, the opportunities in different industries for a faculty member again depends on the relevant discipline (Zhou and Volkwein 2004) . Faculty turnover can be involuntary e.g dismissal from institution or it may be voluntary like attrition and early retirement. Voluntary turnover had been of more concern for educational institutions as on one side it may result in disruption and discontinuity of teaching, research and student mentoring and on the other organizations also face serious financial problems as new recruitment process will take its time (Rosser 2004) as faculty will go through formal orientation and socialization process to be able to actively play its role. (Johnsrud and Heck 1994) argued that turnover is productive for organization to the extent that it provides opportunity for new and fresh blood to join organizations with their fresh and creative ideas.

26 retention variables (e.g tenure, Compensation, education and age of employee) were identified by Cotton and Tuttle (1986) in around 120 different studies on turnover. These variables were related to individual, the work itself and the working environment. According to Cotton and Tuttle the relationship between these variables and the behavior of employees to leave a job varies and this variation in relationship is because of different populations that employee belongs to. Different behavior regarding turnover intention of employees are also associated with salary, advancement and promotion, the responsibility in a job and employee involvement through participation in decision making (Mobley 1982; Steers and Mowday 1981).

A research was conducted by Smart (1990) to find the impact of various faculty retention factors in higher educational context. He argued that the economics, sociology and psychology are basically the foundation of all turnover behavior theories. Furthermore, he categorized the retention factors on the basis of individual, work and context factors. In addition he categorized the satisfaction of employee as salary satisfaction, satisfaction with organization and career satisfaction. These different levels of satisfactions play a mediating role between retention factors and faculty intention to leave or stay in an institution.

Previous studies identified gender, race, and marital status as important retention factors and It has been argued that the population from a particular gender or race will show different turnover behaviors. Johnsrud and Heck (1994) stated that female faculty show more tendency towards leaving an institutions as compared to and faculty in ethnic minority groups. Furthermore, they argued that individual perception plays an important role in faculty behavior towards leaving an institution. In another study male faculty was found more indented to not only leave the institution but the entire academia. (Barnes, L. L. B., Agago, M. O., & Coombs, W. T 1998.) Smith (1979) argued that if faculty has opportunities for advancement inside the institution this will lessen the importance of gender as a retention factor. Similarly, Smart (1990) distinguished the importance of gender as retention factor for tenured and non-tenured faculty members. He argued that for a non-tenure faculty gender is not a retention factor. It is only significant for tenured faculty in particular a male gender show a high tendency towards job switching behavior. Ehrenberg, R., Kasper, H., & Rees, D. (1990) argued that among full time professors female professors have shown a high tendency to switch a job. Mobley (1982) and Smart (1990) studied the turnover intentions in junior faculty and concluded that a high tendency to leave the institutions was found among junior faculty members. Similarly, the turnover ratio will vary among married faculty members as they are also responsible to look after their families (Ambrose, S., Huston, T., & Norman, M. 2005).

There are various career factors that are associated with faculty satisfaction and turnover like academic ranking, tenure professional training, opportunities of learning and growth within the institution, experience, seniority, position, teaching load and research output. More turnover was observed in higher ranked faculty members in study by Ehrenberg et al. (1990). Pfeffer and Lawler 1980 suggested that there is a positive association between faculty retention and total year of professional experience and year of experience in current institutions. Production has been found an important factor that is associated with faculty retention. Rosser (2004) argued that high performance lower down the job switching behavior among faculty members. Blackburn and Havighurst (1979) argued that a high interest in research is positively associated with faculty retention.

In study on faculty retention by Johnsrud and Heck (1994) it was identified that time pressure and overloading of work on a faculty member are associated with faculty turnover behavior. Similary McGee and Ford (1987) and Rosser 2004 stated that faculty participation and facilitation and support towards professional activities are important retention factors. Majority of the previous researches on retaining faculty concluded compensation as the most important retention factor. Still some argued that it is a highly important retention factor only for non-tenure faculty (Smart 1990). According to Ehrenberg et al. (1990) importance of compensation is high for faculty at assistant and associate levels. Compensation is also indirectly related with faculty retention if linked with performance and achievement as Hagedorn 1996 argued that salary is also manifestation of equity and achievement. Studies also indicate physical condition like class room environment, student to teacher ratio and size of department are associated with faculty retention (Smart 1990). Sense of belonging to organization increases job satisfaction of faculty members and hence is positively correlated with faculty retention (Rosser 2004).