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Organizational success strategies are primarily driven by human psychological state of motivation. Many intellects strive to define and assess the theory behind motivation and various motivational strategies which have now proven to be a significant success factor in the competitive business world. A comprehensive understanding of the term motivation has now become imperative.
Managers posed with evolving organizational challenges and necessities have been in a quest to unearth effective motivational strategies driven by the concept of self empowerment, innovation, creativity and self motivational aspects. In the current complex environment where the existence of diverse environments has created complexities, it has become difficult to obtain a truly satisfying solution. One may find companies promoting employee freedom as part of their work ethics while some are rigidly following those obsolete micromanagement techniques where employees are still facing abysmal working conditions of being cramped under fluorescent lights toiling in their tight cubicles.
Successful companies like Cisco Inc and Google Inc have become living examples of how to convert human resources into innovative and achievable ideas of the century. These leading companies have made theorists inquisitive about their management strategies making them prod deep into their organizational setup.
The only secret ingredient these companies hold is in the motivational aspects they utilize effectively on their employees, reaping high quality results. They have been able to provide the best environment suiting their values and culture. Motivating the employees with intrinsic and extrinsic rewards system was done thus empowering the employees in producing the best results. The employees in turn have made these companies what they are today. Leading household names influencing the world by changing the way they think and their names morphing into verbs like “Google” have become part of the frequently uttered vocabulary. Companies should investigate their techniques of turning individuals into autonomous entrepreneur groups by empowering them and create an environment that doesn’t rob an individual of their “humanity, unique individualism or personal freedom” (How Google Inc. rewards its employees. 2010).
Motivation is a derivation of the Latin word “movere” which means “to move”. As described in the current psychological context, it is’
“Those psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed. Managers need to understand these psychological processes if they are to successfully guide employees toward accomplishing organizational objectives” (Kinicki, A & Kritner, R. 2009).
Theory of Motivation
Need theories of motivation:
One of the motivational aspects that can be utilized is the basic needs and necessities of an individual that every person seeks to fulfill. Human physiological and psychological needs are born due to deficiencies caused by the environmental effects which lead to a certain action depending on the intensity of a certain need. They vary depending on time and may differ from place to place. Two theories explained by Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory and McClelland’s need theory best explain this concept. (Kinicki, A & Kritner, R. 2009).
Maslow’s need hierarchy theory
Maslow’s theory concluded that there was a certain hierarchy of an individual’s needs and necessities. The hierarchy began with the most basic physiological needs of survival which once satisfied turned an individual’s attention to advanced necessities of safety, love and self respect thus culminating into self actualization. These needs can be manipulated effectively to achieve desired performances. (Kinicki, A & Kritner, R. 2009).
Leaders are posed with the challenge of creating novel methods of motivation and keeping updated with the needs of an employee because once the necessity is accomplished, the motivational aspect will vanish too. This little blemish in Maslow’s theory can be overcome through devising programmes and rewards satisfying the employee’s needs by offering benefits that meet individual requirements. (Kinicki, A & Kritner, R. 2009).
McClelland’s need theory:
An individual’s need for achievement can thrust an individual to pursue difficult and challenging tasks with an intention of surpassing all existing standards set by their colleagues. They will work speedily and avoid sharing their glory by working independently.
Socially active people dedicate their time in establishing associations with as many individuals and groups as they can. These people are however hampered by this desire for association in their leadership abilities as they are unable to take decisions without compromising their reputation. Therefore the fear of being disliked often breaks their resolve as a leader.
Power hungry people have a desire to influence and control. They can positively channelize this desire by coaching, teaching and urging people towards a certain goal. These people are dedicated professionals adhering to the values of discipline and self respect. (2009)
Individuals can be nurtured in a way to develop in them the desire to achieve. This desire in turn can prove effective as it will lead to better performance. Organizations could focus on this aspect in their training. While human resource department could consider the individual desire for accomplishment, association and power during their placement of individuals in an organizational setup respectively. (Kinicki, A & Kritner, R. 2009).
Kenneth Thomas “Four Intrinsic Rewards”:
Motivational theory can be materialized in form of rewards system. According to a management professor Kenneth Thomas of Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, rewards system can be rooted in the four common decisions that an individual often makes whilst in an organizational setup. This model incorporated the previous models of intrinsic motivations with his research on employee empowerment. (Kinicki, A & Kritner, R. 2009).
The explanation of the theory in a summarized form as indicated by Angelo Kinicki and Robert Kritner are:
- Sense of Meaningfulness:
This sense of meaningfulness arises with a sense of an individual to acquire something that matters in the larger context and is of value to the masses. The sense of being on a worthy path makes all the efforts worthwhile giving a sense of purpose, course and determination.
- Sense of Choice:
Sense of choice in an individual gives them authority to own their work. A sense of ownership further fuels an individual to create novel ideas and devise innovative schemes of achieving that task utilizing the best of their judgment and potential.
- Sense of Competence:
This sense is accompanied by a sense of pride in one’s work when one competes with their capabilities in performing better.
- Sense of Progress:
An individual is motivated towards accomplishing a target once he/she feels satisfied with the progress and a feeling of confidence is developed giving an individual energy and enthusiasm.
The effect of Google Inc:
Google, the world’s most popular search engines, was initialized as a project by two graduate students in 1998. This was web based search service which was named Bak Rub becoming popular among the masses and attracting a lot of investors. It soon grew into a corporation called Google-a Web site whose purpose was to make web pages, discussion forums, and individual words or phrase easily searchable. (Holden, G. 2008).
Larry Page and Sergey Brine, the founders of the web, derived the name “Google” from “googol” which was a mathematical term representing 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name sensibly thought, represented the goal of Google to make the loads of information available universally via a single source (Google.com.2010). Hence Google came to be known as the leading internet based search service provider for a variety of web based applications. (Wahla, S2006) It achieved the target of one of the successful technology based businesses and the most popular search engines on the World Wide Web. (Vise, D.2006).
Google’s success can be determined by the fact that its name was included in Merriam Webster dictionary in 2001 and the Oxford English dictionary 2006 as a verb because of its frequent usage. Sentences like:”I need to Google that and get more background. “Or “I goggled him and found out that” were commonly heard. (Scott, V.2008).
Google was named as the number one “best company to work for” in 2007 and 2008, by the fortune magazine, primarily based on the Googler’s voting. The Googlers as the Google’s employees proudly call themselves, are an indication of the company’s principles of valuing their employees. Therefore in return the Google staff worked hard to build the company’s reputation not only as a successful internet search engine but also as the most highly sought firms by job opportunists. Google receives as, many as 1,300 resumes per day. In response to its 3000 job vacancies in 2006 it received 760,000 applications. (Griffin, R & Moorhead, G. 2010)
Google corporate management policies have been analyzed, indicating the inclusion of features benefitting the employee, creating an unconventional environment which may be considered illogical for a working atmosphere but in this case has lead to a unique and distinct Corporate Culture at Google (Weber, S. 2007).
Google’s founders created this web site with aspirations of establishing a positive environment for the people to work in. Being students themselves they believed in setting a fun filled and lively atmosphere where people could easily interact and come up with innovative ideas in a relaxed environment with motivations of being rewarded for their efforts. These ideals were opposed to the conservative corporation culture born from the concept of “greed is good”. Therefore “Googleplex” came into existence attracting creative professional conjuring up ideas together in a campus type atmosphere. These potential ideas later could be developed into blockbusters. (How Google Inc. rewards its employees. 2010).
Google has gone beyond boundaries of human resource management. They have delegated a corporate culture of their own by providing employees with facilities beyond expectations. Employees are at leisure to bring their pets to work. A gym facility has been provided. They can enjoy free snacks; entertain themselves by playing pool, ping pong and video games whilst working at the same time. (Weber, S. 2007)
Incorporating the idea “fun is good” in their work environment is what the Google Inc believes in. They believe in creating challenging tasks and pursuing it as a fun filled activity thus motivating its employees to be enthusiastic about a challenge. Google has been able to secure a fifth rank through its successful management strategies of benefits provision, flexibility and challenging goals. According to CEO, Erin Schmitt:
“We realize and celebrate that our employees have diverse needs, and that this diversity requires flexible and individually directed support. Our priority is to offer a customizable program that can be tailored to the specific needs of each individual, whether they enjoy ice climbing in Alaska, want to retire by age 40, or plan to adopt 3 children” (How Google Inc. reward its employees. 2010).
Google’s determination to surpass all standards is overwhelming. As Yahoo!’s chef data officer, Usama Fayyad saya:
“We believe the compensation levels (Google) are willing to go is unreasonable. It has gotten nuts,”
Building on the idea the founders started with, Google has created an environment where the basic necessities are taken care of but instead additional facilities are provided.
In addition, The Google community plays together, with film series, parties, ski trips, and hobby clubs. The company has built a sense of community. “Google is like a village, “engineer Dan Ratner.
The Google staff draws pride from their association with the best internet company of the world. Primarily, because of the work philosophy that it conducts for its employees. Google has integrated its staff into one body that functions in coordination with each other. They are therefore able to resolve all problems and multidisciplinary issues as a team. The staff is encouraged to come up with new ideas. Individuals are allowed to spend 20% of their time on their individual project. This enables the staff to improve Google’s projects and products. One such example is of an anthropologist who observed that Asians performed fewer internet searches owing to the incontinency of typing a search term using extended character keyboards.
The company devised a feature called Google Suggest in response. This enabled the site to come up with term suggestions just with the help of few characters. (Griffin, R & Moorheard, G. 2010).
A similar example is of Google Labeler which is a game format in which the users have to associate as many words as they can with that image. This game is in fact doing Google’s task while users have fun. The “cloud” is also one of Google’s innovations. Constituting of thousands of kinked computers in the Google’s information processing centers, the cloud forms a super computer with unparalleled computing power. In some cases this facility is sold to students and companies alike, as an industry expert Frank Gens would say:
“A whole new community of Web startups will have access to these machines. It’s like they’re planting Google seeds, “
In another instance IBM researcher Mark Dean stated:
“Compared to (clouds), the Web is tiny. We’ll be laughing at how small the Web is.” (Griffin, R & Moorheard, G. 2010).
The extent to which Google has gone to create a relax environment is commendable. Employees are free to work in any outfit they chose whether it be their pajamas. They can bring their pets, eat free food, enjoy physical activities and do jobs like washing their clothes which might be considered extremely unsuitable in any kind of working environment. But Google has given its employers the freedom to do whatever they want while they work for the company. By satisfying its employee it can be sure to get high quality performance in response. By relaying the main idea, on which it is built, of “dreaming big” it motivates its employees to create and provides them with resources to achieve their targets. It is described as a university where the employees create, share, and debate and develops ideas in groups.
Google has successfully created an environment that psychologically nurtures the traits of creativity and commitment within the employees. Energized with a lively working environment it promotes innovation and productivity within the employees. Connecting the individuals together as one integrated group sharing a common vision, it negates the concept of monolithic hierarchy among employees that suppress intellectual growth and development. It believes in peer to peer feedback rather than involving middle managers. As Schmitt states:
“If employees want complete control then join the Marines.”
Google’s founder was a staunch believer in the theory that exceptional ideas generate through questioning and assumptions is the main idea behind decentralization of power. As their motto suggests:
“Do not do something because someone told you to do so.”
Innovations arise from questioning and discussions. (Hamel, 2007). A manager would certainly not suit this conceptual setting. Group settings will encourage discussions and debates about an idea leaving no space for middle management or any other high ranking personnel. A command and rule policy will hamper the creative process and definitely goes against the “I think I can” culture and will nurture “no you can’t” bureaucracy. This is something the Google. Inc would not permit. (How Google Inc. reward its employees. 2010).
As the competition grows with new emerging companies the need to address employee ethics will increase. Companies should adopt policies similar to Google’s to increase their success rate by attracting a dedicated and talented staff. Google has certainly set a standard for other businesses to relate and compete with. Many have been debating policies about developing motivation in their employees but have failed to show any fortitude in this aspect. Google authoritative figures have shown purity of intention by investing their major budget on their employees rather than wasting it on other useless ventures, thus gaining employee satisfaction and trust. Google has focused all its projects on a noble cause to bring a positive change in the world. The employees motivated by the cause are encouraged to produce outstanding results as they are filled with pride of being associated with a venture of this magnitude. Therefore leaders should focus their energies in creating intrinsic rewards that would automatically fuel the companies working body.
As the next generation of students prepare themselves to embrace the corporate world it is imperative for the companies to evaluate their strategies and adopt principles like Google .Inc as soon as they can. New individuals will start searching for firms to join with their heads full of brilliant ideas. Google will work on attracting these individuals and develop their ideas into successful products. As the human needs diversify it is for companies to update their management structure and environment to attract young talent to their organizations and retain them as an asset for their organization… Emerging talents have been found to favor working in intimate groups rather than under an authority. They require to be released from the worry of their necessities and need to be given ample of time to work on an idea. They approve of appraisal procedures to evaluate themselves and hunt for challenging opportunities around the world. Leaders should evaluate and strive to maintain motivational atmosphere for their employees as the employees are a valuable asset to be looked after. (How Google Inc. rewards its employees. 2010).
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