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Money is the biggest motivator of people at the workplace. Most people are motivated by money. According to Alison Griffiths, journalist of Metro Canada, survey showed that 53 percent of Baby Boomers in Canada did want to earn more money while 32 percent of them did plan to open a own business after retirement to earn more money too. Besides that, Reuters (2012) also stated that 31.4 percent of Americans aged from 65 to 69 were still working in year 2010, compared to year 1990 with a lower percentage which is 21 percent. These showed that Baby Boomers value money as an important motivation factor. For example, A Generation X employee tells a Boomer manager that he had been working too hard and request for taking an off for family vacation. Instead of saying thanks, the Boomer replies, "I work to get ahead, to get a promotion, not for a vacation." The Boomer manager then gave the employee a bonus, rather than a vacation (Hammill, G., 2005). In contrast, Generation X seek a work-life balance where they will take less money if they are given opportunity to work lesser hours and have time off to spend with family or take a vacation. For them, money act as an incentive or reward but it does not add value to the job. Whilst, Boomers are attracted to position and even more money rather than placing value on vacation time or flex time. According to Mcshane (2010), Generation X and Generation Y employees expect a more egalitarian workplace. For them, money is an important factor but it is not a standalone. A study by Accenture consulting firm found that 50% of middle managers were interested in new job that provide benefits such as more time off rather than more pay (Williams, R., 2010) Thus, money is very important to employees for number of reasons. I firmly believe that money is the major and biggest motivator at the workplace. Some of the motivation theory model also explains the importance of money as a major motivator factor such as Maslow's Needs Hierarchy Theory, ERG Theory, Equity Theory and etc.
Maslow's needs hierarchy theory
According to Maslow, the most basic needs on the needs hierarchy had to be satisfied before the next level of needs emerge (Mcshane, 2010). Maslow stated that individual needs are arranged in a hierarchy from the lower level to the higher level of needs. It classified individual needs into 5 levels which is physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualization. Money which is a basic needs for survival, as stated by Maslow, it is very important as money can get shelter, food, clothing, water and other necessaries of life to satisfy individual basic physical needs such as physiological and security needs. As a matter of fact, worker is motivated to work in the organization to receive economic rewards to meet his basic needs. Whilst, the organization helps an individual to satisfy their basic needs by providing good salaries, benefits and good working condition. Besides that, the most general theoretical explanation for money's importance is the fact that it is useful for obtaining many other things that we want and wish for because of its symbolic value (Davis, K. and Newstrom, J. W., 2002). Thus, money or pay did satisfy individual drives and needs. Company and organization such as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Tesco, Kellogg's, Siemens motivates its workers by providing these basic needs wherever they create job (McShane, 2010). Furthermore, money or pay is frequently used as a standard used for comparison for social status and personal accomplishment (Davis, K. and Newstrom, J. W., 2002). In addition, money or pay can help an individual to acquire a higher level on Maslow's motivational needs hierarchy, including social esteem and self-actualization (Davis, K. and Newstrom, J. W., 2002). For instance, money can carve the path towards social recognition, making it possible for early retirement, a good education for one's children as well as free time for enjoyment. For example, a manager motivate his worker by raises his worker's pay because the worker had done a good job. The worker felt he was respected and rewarded as well as more security and was highly pleased with this recognition (Davis, K. and Newstrom, J. W., 2002). Hence, money or pay did affect one's self-esteem as well as self-respect.
In ERG theory, needs affect an individual's behavior as described by Maslow. Alderfer's ERG theory reorganizes Maslow's five groups into three which is existence, relatedness, and growth (McShane, 2010). Existence needs are the same as physiological and safety needs as Maslow. Relatedness needs are the same as belongingness needs as Maslow. Growth needs are the same as self-esteem and self-actualization needs. Unlike Maslow, which only explained how people progress up the hierarchy, ERG theory also describes how people regress down the hierarchy when fail to fulfills a higher needs (McShane, 2010). In another word, Alderfer suggested that more than one needs may be operative at the same time. Likewise, assume that a nurse who is seeking a promotion because the promotion will raise her pay. This promotion will promote her to a head nurse position would help meeting the nurse's needs for growth as well. After a prolonged wait, she learned that she was dropped from further consideration. She becomes frustrated, disappointed, and concerned about her future. Her supervisor and her co-workers talk with her assuring her that other opportunities will occur and her value to other co-workers is immeasurable. After few days of feeling frustrated, she redirected her need for the promotion to the relatedness category and seems to enjoy her work and her colleagues. Furthermore, Alderfer also suggested that the failure to satisfy relatedness or growth needs will cause renewed interest in existence needs. For instance, this might increase the desire for more money or for better working condition. Likewise, money or pay which is the factor of existence needs. It drives people to go to work for survival. Individual at the existence level who is given the opportunity to earn additional $100 will be more motivated compare to someone earning $100,000 per year. This can be explained with McClelland's theory which low achiever view monetary reward as an end in itself while high achiever view monetary reward as symbol of success or achievement and feedback about job performance. In contrast, the importance of money or pay is indeed a strong motivator. It ensures an individual primary needs to be met as well as providing security and personal growth and development as the worker is assign to perform more responsibility on the job. Other than achievement, money can be use to buy affiliation and power. For example, people can use money to buy their way into expensive clubs as well as giving them the capacity to influence others such as through political contributions. Furthermore, money or pay is classified as a hygiene factors in Frederick Herzberg's motivator-hygiene theory. Herzberg suggested that manager first must improve the hygienic conditions of work before trying to increase motivation. Negative hygienic conditions distract employees because they are necessary for building a foundation on which to maintain a reasonable level of motivation in employees. Therefore, the role of money or pay must not be ignored.
According to Victor Vroom's Expectancy theory, the theory stated that work effort is directed toward behaviors that people believe will lead to desired outcomes. That is, people are motivated to achieve the goals with the highest expected payoff. For example, a person may be a high-performing employee because he believes that this will lead to a merit increase in pay. This means that an employee must want more pay or money which is valence, must believe that effort will be successful in producing desired performance which is expectancy, and must trust that the monetary reward will follow better performance which is instrumentality. Most employees do respond to money as a reward. For instance, a person may prefer a 10 percent merit increase rather than transfer to a new department. Thus, money often has high valence. Likewise, pay or money also plays a larger role in applicants' job choices. That is, a level of pay must be met before an individual will even consider accepting a job offer. Company that offer starting salary or pay below the market range will not even being considered by the applicant. In another word, money can attract employee as well as retaining the employee such as offering high salaries and increased variable pay.
In equity theory, the equity principle infers that people should be paid in proportion to their contribution. The theory posits that individuals evaluate the fairness of their pay by comparing their own ratio of inputs and outcomes to the input and output of other person such as close coworkers, workers in other companies, or the employee's past work history. In addition, the theory predicts that an individual who perceives his raise to be inequitable is likely to change his behavior in several ways like expressing dissatisfaction to his supervisor, working harder to get a bigger raise next year, working less to bring her inputs in line with his perceived outcomes, or even quit the job in disgust. Hence, money or pay level clearly becomes important as an outcomes perceived by the employees in exchange for their services. For instance, it will affect employee behaviors if it is cut. As such, employees are on high alert and sensitive for every time employers make pay changes. It reflects differences in how the employees are regarded or value by the employer. In another word, employees react strongly to changes in pay. An example of employee reaction to underpayment inequity occurred in a manufacturing plant that the company cut 15 percent pay of all employees because some important contracts were canceled. The affected employees reacted by doubling their normal theft rate by stealing tools and supplies from the company. Turnover rate also increased from 5 percent to 23 percent. In particular, underreward seems to produce motivational tension with negative consequences. Hence, pay was a symbolic scorecard to employee that they are overreward, equity or underreward.
Based on the above theory and facts, in emphasizing the importance of money as the biggest motivator, we are not saying that money is the only important motivator but money play a key role in motivating people especially among the low achiever. Indeed, it is clear that many other factors such as interesting work, participation in decision making, flexible working hour and etc are also important motivator to many people. However, in order for money to be the biggest motivator, pay or money has to be used in a way that would produce motivation such as incentives or bonuses that boost the morale of the workers by performing better performances. This is simply because money acts as a mechanism for rewarding and modifying behavior in industry. It is an extrinsic reward that encourages people to work harder, more energetically as well as motivate the employee to achieve higher level of performance. Furthermore, the effectiveness of money as a motivator depends on variety of individual and situational factors. Each individual has different perception, preferences, expectancy, and self-concept toward money. Thus, manager has to talk to their employees to understand and find out which needs or preferences a particular employee is seeking.
In conclusion, we strongly believe that money is indeed the biggest motivator in the workplace. Based on the points and statements above, we can clearly see that money is indeed the important factor that motivates people at the workplace. Money is regarded as a very high reward for the individuals that have worked hard for it. It is also regarded as the highest form of reward for employees. The higher the pay grade, the higher the recognition they receive from their employers as well as from the working mates. Finally, we conclude that money is indeed the most important factor that motivates individuals at the work place.
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