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This paper describes three of the motivating theories provided in chapter nine of the book Management. The Three theories described are the expectation theory, equity theory, and Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. The three theories will be explained as to how they motivate people, and who they are best suited to motivate. The theories will also be applied to a fictitious company to show how the theories could be applied to real life situations. The fictitious company is an automobile making company that has many different types of employees. In the fictitious company there will be three different types of employees discussed, all needing different theories to help motivate them. The three types of employees are the salespeople, the production workers and the administrative staff. The expectation theory will be applied to the salespeople. The equity theory will be applied to the administrative staff. Finally, Maslow's hierarchy will be applied to the production workers.
There are many different people out there. People have different needs and desires based on their age, religion, occupation and many other factors. Good management will not deal with every employee the same. The idea is similar to a parent dealing with their children. The parent is not going to deal with his three year old the same way that he deals with his 12 year old. The reason is simple; the two children need different things. They cannot be treated exactly the same. This insinuates that a good manager will discover what the needs of his employees are. He will not be able to motivate his employees until he knows their needs. There are many different ways to motivate people and not all types of motivation work on all types of people. Three of the motivation theories are, the Expectancy theory, the Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, and the Equity theory. It is important for managers to know this and to know how to use the types of motivation strategies effectively. To better understand this concept, lets look at an organization with three different types of workers: salespeople, production workers and Administrative staff.
The fictional organization being looked at is an automaker. The company's name is CF (Car's of the Future). It is a company comparable to Subaru, or GM. It has many different positions in the company. The company creates ideas for new cars, produces them in plants, and then sells them in shops nation wide. The people that have no experience applying to work for CF generally start out in the plants as production workers building the cars. They would then move into sales and then administration over time. The administrative department seems to be having issues lately with getting things taken care of on time. The management is trying to figure out what has slowed down the department so that they can get it back on track. The production department's production has also decreased. The manager has had to lay off a good amount of the department because of the projected sales for the following year. He has noticed a change in a lot of the worker's attitudes. They seem to be more withdrawn and the manager needs some help to get his team back on track. The last branch of the company the salespeople are also struggling. Their sales on automobiles have decreased every month steadily dropping for the last five months. The company's upper management has had meetings of how they are going to move forward with the company and how they can increase the production levels with the productions workers administrative staff and salespeople.
The salespeople get an hourly paycheck, but make the majority of their money on commission and bonuses. The salespeople had plenty of motivation a few months ago, but once sales kept on plummeting, they started being discouraged. The management had been recognizing all of the salespeople's small achievements, but once they were consistently meeting these goals, the recognition stopped and the sales dropped. The management should use the expectancy theory to increase motivation. "Motivational theory is based on cognitive psychology. It proposes that people are motivated by their conscious expectations of what will happen if they do certain things, and are more productive when they believe their expectations will be realized."(Business Dictionary) The problem is that the workers have such low expectations because the car dealership has been so slow the last couple of months that they already feel defeated. Even though they know if they sell a certain amount they will get a bonus, they are not trying hard to sell because they feel that it is to slow that is impossible to ever reach that goal. To increase the employees motivation using the Expectation theory, the management needs to, "consistently recognize employees accomplishments, managers can increase those employees' perceptions of the probability of obtaining a desired outcome if they have performed well".(pg. 250) By increasing the expectations of the employees, the sales will go up to a higher level than they had been at with low expectations.
The production workers are having a tough time with focusing on their work. They all have been very worried about loosing their jobs with the recent cutbacks. The stress has made them feel that their lives are unstable and that they do not have any job security. To approach a situation like this, the management should approach the situation using Maslow's Hierarchy of needs theory. The theory is defined on page 243 of Management as this, "An individual is motivated to satisfy the most basic needs first (such as physiological needs) and then, once those are satisfied, move to the next level." The second level of the pyramid above physiological is security. It is no wonder that the men are not focusing on their relationships at work as much as they had in the past because they can not get past focusing on security. The managers have to focus on making the workers feel secure at work. "Security needs can be addressed by providing job security, retirement benefits and a safe working environment."(MBA) By using this idea, the managers could solve the problems at work by creating work contracts with the employees. The contracts could be two-year contracts that include giving the employees pensions if let go at any point. The managers could also have a meeting for the staff letting everyone know that there will be no more cutbacks with the staff, and that no one has to worry about loosing their job. This will give the employees the security they are looking for, and help them get back to how they behaved before at work.
The administrative staff's difficulty in getting things done has spawned from a majority of the employees feeling that they are being treated unfairly. Apparently a couple of the managers over the administration department like to play favorites. For example, a group in the administrative department came up with a solution to some issues the company has been having. When the whole administrative branch then came together the next day for a meeting, the manager over the group gave credit not to the entire group, but rather to an individual that he plays favorites with. The individual was also given a raise. The others were not. The administration department has been having issues getting things done as of late because of issues just like this. The majority of the employees feel that it doesn't matter how hard they work because they will not be encouraged or recognized for their efforts of lack of either way. When dealing with this type of situation, the managers should use the equity theory to motivate their employees. The equity theory is defined as the, "Concept that people derive job satisfaction and motivation by comparing their efforts (inputs) and income (outputs) with those of the other people in the same or other firms."(Business Dictionary?) In the third edition of Management on page 249, "Equity theory states that people have a number of ways to reduce their feelings that others are "doing better" than they are. One way is to increase their outcomes, such as getting a salary increase or obtaining a promotion". By using this theory in regards to the administrative department, all the management has to do to increase inputs is to give the employees incentives to work harder.
In conclusion, to run a successful business, employees have to be working hard. To keep them working hard, it is management's job to find ways to motivate them. No one wants to fail. People want the desire to go to work and be successful day in and day out. The three theories previously discussed are great ways to get them there. Not one of these theories will work for everyone, but everyone will fall into one of these theories.