Motivating People At Work Commerce Essay

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In todays workplace more and more organisations are paying attention to motivate employees, giving staff a much wider range of motivations than even before by using various theories and approaches. Motivation, a good tool widely applied to organisetional management, 'We define motivation as the processes that account for an individual's intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal' (Robbins, 2009, p.144). Some people believe that motivation is offering proper financial rewards, good working environments and welfares. However, employees' needs are complex and a various of components can have a large impact on their job satisfactions and motivations. So this essay will focus on how to motivate employees in workplace. The goal of the present study is to evaluate two motivation theories selected by analysing the collected data. The first part of this essay is background about the two theories--Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Vroom's Expectancy Theory, and how i develop the questions to evaluate the theories. The rest of it is organised as follows. The second section focuses on the findings, presenting the findings that i collected from the questionnaires to see the results. The third section focuses on the link between findings and theories, interpreting results by comparing findings against the theories and using the theories to explain the findings. The fourth section concludes and evaluates the theories in pratise.


It is very important for organisations to know how to motivate employees. 'Effective employee motivation has long been one of management's most difficult and important duties' (Kajanova, 2008). Thus, the organisations are in search of theories can be applied to motivate employees, and how to use the theories to activate employees' motivation. This essay, typically, investigates one content theory and one process theory from motivation theories, including Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Vroom's Expectancy Theory. Firstly, content theories are centered on individual needs. The theories are need-based motivation which suggest that the primarily principle is to satisfy the needs of individual in workplace (Schermerhorn, 1998). In terms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory, Maslow proposed a motivation theory of individual hierarchy needs, identifying individual's needs into five distinct level from basic needs at the bottom of hierarchy to self-actualization needs at the top (DuBrin, 2008). The five distinct level are: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization(ibid). The main principles of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is that ' The needs at the bottom of hierarchy must be fulfilled before the needs higher up can be considered' (Gorman, 2004, p. 45). In other words, after individual fulfilled the bottom level, the higher levels can be more important to them. The bottom level needs should be satisfied first, before moved to the higher level of needs. According to this theory, physiological needs such as food, water and money are the basic needs that individual may consider primarily. The following needs for security, stability and protection will be considered after physiological needs have been satisfied. Furthermore, when someone satisfied by a need, it will not be motivated to him/her (Lauby, 2005).In other words, managers should motivate employees step by step according to the hierarchy of needs. However, the process theories interpret motivation in different aspects and propose approaches to activate and stimulate individual needs in order to improve motivation (Schermerhorn, 1998). The key point of Vroom's Expectancy Theory is based on the relationship among the individual's effort, performance and outcome. The theory addresses '……a person's beliefs regarding effort-performance relationships and the outcomes potentially associated with different levels of performance accomplishment ' (ibid p.71). In this case, the theory means that if people want to do something or interest in doing one thing, they will do want they can do and put more effort on it. There is a formula to describe the key relationships and calculate the motivation. There are three key element in the formula of motivation. 'Vroom posits that motivation (M), expectancy (E), instrumentality (I), and valence(V) are multiplicatively related to one another by equation: M = E Ã- I Ã- V ' (ibid p.71). Expectancy is the estimate of task performance; Staff use it to estimate the level of putting effort on tasks (Mukherjee, 2005). In addition, valence is the value which individual will consider whether it is worth to put effort to accomplish the task (Schermerhorn, 1998). So, according to this formula, for a high motivation to have positive impact, the multiplier expectancy, instrumentality and valence need to be as high as possible. On the contrary, if one of the multipliers reduces, that may led to decrease in motivational impact. In other words, motivational impact will be low if the multipliers are low.

A questionnaire is developed to explore the validity of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Vroom's Expectancy Theory. The first part of the questionnaire is question one to five, which are questions about different levels of hierarchy of needs to explore what kinds of motivational factors have strong impact on employees. There are five questions respect five different levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in workplace respectively. The rest of the questionnaire is applied to develop how personal goals drive staff to work efficiently. For maintain the standard of survey and accuracy, i asked ten people who have only one year work experience to fill in the questionnaires. I focus on one-year-experience employees and each of them works in different fields.

Key findings

According to the survey, several points of results are needed to be outlined. Firstly, most of the respondents considered the physiological needs--enough money and a proper work environment is extremely important. In the second place, job security, social needs and getting recognitions in work are not significant factors to motivate their work. However, more than a half of respondents think getting opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge are very important motivations. The rest part is respond to Vroom's Expectancy Theory. Half of people consider clear goals and job tasks have great impact on their work. On the contrary, only one people regards participation and acceptance in the goal-setting as a significant factor in work; Six of the respondents think that is not important for them. In addition, the majority of respondents believe personal goals in work and career are very significant motivations and the value of outcome to individual have impact on their work performance.


According to the data collected, we can evaluate the theories. Firstly, as can be seen from the findings, physiological needs are very important to employees. The physiological needs in workplace can simply describe as pay and work environment. According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, 'when these needs are satisfied other higher needs emerge, which dominate a person's behaviour'(Saiyadain, 2009, p.155) The respondents have graduated for one year, they thus consider physiological needs are very important to them. In addition, job security, relationships with colleagues and recognitions have chosen to be moderately important for them. These three levels of needs in workplace can be describe as safety needs, social needs and self-actualization in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the previous part is mentioned that these levels of needs (safety needs, social needs and self-actualization) are higher level needs; Because needs in the bottom level need to be satisfied, then higher level needs will become important. It can explain why respondents think higher level of needs(safety, social and self-actualization) are not that important compareing to physiological needs. Because they still need to satisfy their physiological needs before they can move to higher levels. On the contrary, the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge, which can be regard as self-esteem needs, are very important to most of the respondents. According to the background section, self-esteem needs is a higher level needs. Although respondents consider the bottom level needs--physiological needs are very important, they still think self-esteem needs have significant impacts on them. It can be pointed out that the respondents only have one year experience for work, so learning relevant work skills and knowledge are more important than social communication and job security.

In terms of the rest of the findings, respondents generally think clear work tasks and goals affect people's work. Furthermore, most of respondents think a reward in their work is a good motivation. From the point of Vroom's Expectancy Theory, the outcome of work associated with the effort and performance. In this case, respondents work in different fields, and they have various rewards systems as well as performance incentives. It can not be prove that the current job tasks have strong impact on their rewards. Secondly, most of respondents consider setting personal work goals are very important to them, but most of them are not going to take part in the goal-setting. It can be less of link between personal goals and organisations' goal in the their works. Moreover, respondents believe accomplishment of a task leads to the reward they expected, and this can activate their motivations. So, according to Vroom's Expectancy Theory, there is an intensive link between performance and outcomes. If employees know that they can get the outcomes they expected through their performance, they will put more effort on the performance.


Although the findings can be analysed by using the theories, there are still some limitations of these two motivation theories. Limitations of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can be explained as follows. Firstly, the Hierarchy of Needs Theory has been recognised widely, but there is little research and evidences to support this theory (Robbins, 2009).Secondly, some argue that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs did not consider individual different situations. For example, in previous findings, the respondents are new in their work career, and they think self-esteem is more important than safety needs. They feel the importance of needs is not simply from the bottom of hierarchy to the top. Because employees they may have different needs in different stages of work career. It can be another example that respondents think physiological needs are as important as self-esteem. So, individual difference should be involved when managers consider employees needs. Beyond this, Maslow simply identified types of needs; What managers need to do is satisfing employees with different needs, and that can lead to motivate people at work. In this case, individual's initiative is underestimated in this theory. Despite these limitations, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is presented basic scope of individual needs by identifying types of needs, and it is important information for organisations reference as well as for management practises. When it comes to Vroom's Expectancy Theory, it is a theory that presents the relationship among effort, performance and outcome. Clearly, according to the findings, what affects individual's motivation involves the effort, work performance and outcome. In Vroom's Expectancy Theory, individual will estimate their effort and outcome. If the value of outcome to individual is worth, employee will put effort on the task/goal. According to the findings, only one people think participation and acceptance in the goal-setting is very important, although most of respondents think their personal goals are very important. So it can be a limitation of the Expectancy Theory that personal value of reward is not always matches the organisation goal. If there is a gap between personal goal and the organisation goal, the employee will not get high motivational effect, and it may lead to low efficiency in work. Beyond this, when employees consider the effort they will put in the future, they may overestimate what they can do to achieve the task. As a result, they can not achieve the high performance as they expected, it can lead to demotivate in work performance.

Beyond the limitations, there are links between Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Vroom's Expectancy Theory. Firstly, both the theories, typically, focus on the individual's needs. They believe that people have needs and the desire for fulfilling the needs is the trigger of motivation. In other words, individual will do what they can do to fulfill their needs. So both processes of two motivation theories are achieve the goal and fulfill the needs. However, these theories based on exploring individual needs have different aspects. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory related to intrinsic motivation and it identified types of needs. The key approach to motivate employees is to fulfill the their needs. Organisations firstly, need to figure out employees' needs, and then satisfy those needs by using different approaches in order to gain high motivational effect. In terms of Vroom's Expectancy Theory, individual's needs are not divided into different parts. In this case, the individual's needs are related to goals and expected rewards. For example, if someone's need can be satisfied by a goal, and he has capability to achieve the goal, then he will be motivated to do. It is operable.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Vroom's Expectancy Theory are applied widely to management practise. According to the evaluation mentioned above, some approaches can be used to motivate employees in practise. Firstly, use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as the reference to identify employees needs, as well as consider individual different characteristics and situations such as different gender, employees from different cultures and so on. Organisations should provide a proper work environment and work facilities for employees in order to fulfill the basic needs. Beyond this, it is very important for organisations to setting employees goals and tasks. Employees should be allowed to participate in goal setting, and match their goals to the organisations'. Moreover, organisations can offer proper training and resources to support employees, giving them clear performance goals to direct (Schermerhorn, 1998). To identify relationship between effort-goal and confirm the achievement and rewards, makes employees believe they can achieve the target if they work hard. To motivation staff with what they want, so that organisations can gain high efficiency in return.

To sum up, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Vroom's Expectancy Theory, both are theories that applied to modern world. Moreover, they have important meaning to organisational management in practise. So it can be used to explain the findings. Although limitations of the theories remains, they are still very important for managers to figure out how to motivate their employees. The theories present a basic scope of individual's needs, managers thus need to explore the needs of employees and consider individual difference. The Expectancy Theory provide an approach to link effort, performance and reword. A process of that is analysing individual need's deeply before motivating.

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