Motivational Concepts And Its Organisational Implications Commerce Essay


This essay discusses the concept of motivation and its implications for the organisations. The author defines the theory of motivation and then reviews some of the theories (i.e. Maslow s Hierarchy of Needs, Expectancy Theory, McGregor s Theory X and Y , Hertzberg s Two-Factor Theory) that are significant to understand the human behaviour in the organisations. Further the essay provides arguments for the existing value of the concept of motivation for the managers and discusses the alternatives that are available for the managers to use the knowledge and develop strategies for increasing motivation at the workplace. At the end of the essay the author mentions limitations that still exist. Introduction: what is Motivation? The world was interested in building and studying the theories of motivation from the early 1950s, with the development of industrialisation and an appearance of mass manufacture. At the start, theories were aimed to increase the levels of production at the assembly lines and the employees were motivated by basic needs and did not possess any power. The processes were monotonous and a set of tangible factors drove the workers to perform. As the job design changed, new theories were built to support the concept of motivation. The studies of motivation mainly focused on what motivated people and how the employees were motivated. This led to the division of the theories in 2 formats: content and process theories. Before these theories will be discussed in this essay, the concept of motivation should be defined: Motivation is a process in which a person is triggered to work for the achievement of his own aims and goals. Person s determination to perform and his/her effort are designed to satisfy his/her needs, e.g. get tangible rewards (an extrinsic motivation), or alternatively, he/she is interested in the job itself and the tasks (an intrinsic motivation). Overview of theories of motivation:

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The motivation theories are significant in sociology as they give a rational explanation on five patterns of behaviour of people in the organisation, based on their needs, reinforcement, cognitions, job characteristics and feelings /emotions. (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2001) To discuss the value of the motivation theories in understanding the behaviour of the employees at the workplace, some of them should be described further. Content theories The main theories that are studied and can be used in the working environment are Maslow s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), McGregor s Theory X and Y and Herzberg s Two Factor theory (1968). According to the Maslow s Hierarchy of Needs, individuals are driven by five needs, which serve as a basis for their effort in work. Starting from the physiological needs, after the satisfaction takes place, the individuals move up the next levels of the hierarchy, which are safety, belongingness & love, esteem and self -actualisation needs. Therefore this theory suggested that people are motivated by basic to complicated needs. The theory is still used today, though it does not cover all the aspects of the concept. (Maslow, 1970) Theory X and Y suggests that there are two patterns of behaviour in the organisation. Theory X says that the employees are not willing to work and do not show any interest in the job. They are forced and controlled by the management who may offer remuneration or alternatively leave without it. Therefore this acts as a motivator for work. Theory Y suggests that the employees can control themselves and can be driven by their own goals and are responsible for their work and efforts. (McGregor, 1987) Herzberg s Two-Factor Theory suggests that various factors exist that can motivate employees, however, there are other factors, named hygiene which may dissatisfy the employees and in that case must be altered. The motivating and hygiene factors have different meanings in the organisation, the absence of one of these factors can break the balance of being motivated and satisfied at the same time. The motivating factors include recognition, tasks and success, alternatively the hygiene factors are job conditions, remuneration and company policy. (Robbins, 2001) Process theories

From the process theories, the focus of this essay will be on Expectancy Theory and Goal-Setting Theory. According to Robbins (2001), Vroom s Expectancy Theory, people s motivation is activated only if the energy spent on the work leads to a good performance and consequently,

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the performance leads to bonuses and rewards. Therefore, this theory aids to understand why some workers do not put much effort in their work, as they are de-motivated from the beginning, knowing that good performance is not likely to be achieved and/or rewarded. Accordingly, the performance rewards link has issues when the individuals do not see themselves capable of receiving rewards due to factors as incompetence or personal relations with the management and co-workers. When eventually the rewards are received, they can appear unattractive to the individuals thus cause frustration at the workplace. Goal Setting Theory developed by Locke (1968) suggests that the individuals are greater motivated when the goals are set by managers or by the individuals themselves when they are closely engaged in the processes at the workplace, rather than when the individuals do not see clearly what their efforts are directed at and what the management expects from them. Thus, the employees behaviour suggests that they like to be guided by the managers and they achieve greater results even if the work is complicated. Moreover, the theory suggests that a feedback should be provided for the work done, which makes the workers willing to do the job, as they appreciate being commented on their performance. (Robbins, 2001) Application of the theories to practice The existence of multiple motivation theories makes it difficult to find the ideal one that can be applied to the organisation. This is due to the limitations and irrelevance of some of them in the modern work environments. To derive the value of each of the theories, a contingency matrix is used by the managers as a guideline on which of the theories to apply at the workplace to enhance performance and provide job fulfillment. For example, the Expectancy theory applied in the organisation activates the employee for action, effort and can increase an employee turnover. One of the most applicable theories is Hackman and Oldham s (1980) theory that is a content theory, as it affects both effort and routine work, fulfillment, employee turnover and the reasons for frustration, as the theory is based on the job characteristics and encourages the managers to create interesting jobs at the workplace. (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2001)

Most of the motivation theories that are adapted in the organisations have to be altered to fit into the organizational context. They are used by managers for the assessment of motivation at the workplace and to find means of improving it by satisfying the needs of the employees or alternatively trigger them to work and perform. It is a process that changes with the time and new tendencies. Therefore it is essential to alter the job designs and introduce new benefits, e.g. flexible hours, possibility to work from home, regular skills assessments, informal

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communication, and to prevent a strict top-down communication between the manager and the colleagues. Value for managers

The studying of the theories of motivation bring a great value for managers as was discussed above, as the concept is used on practice to analyse people s behaviour, despite of existence of some pitfalls. The theories work on practice, when supported by contemporary theories, and they serve as a foundation for building strategies to increase motivation at the workplace. The old theories are a base for new theories; therefore their meaning is not lost. E.g. the contemporary theory developed by Ritchie and Martin divide the employees in high-need and low-need level individuals and assess their desire to be motivated by both tangible and intangible rewards, an interest, achievement, recognition, self-development, variety & change, creativity, social contacts, money, structure and others. This approach serves as a useful tool for the managers to assess performance in their organsiations nowadays. (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2003) And moreover, improve the motivation by introducing the rewards and recognition schemes. The employees may be rewarded either individually or as a part of the group. Individual rewards are limited by the skills that he person possesses and can be increased only if a person s productivity increases. Kerrin & Oliver, 2002, suggest that rewarding the group may have concerns with the theories of motivation but people engage in the processes, collaborate with their colleagues, set their goals in a competitive environment, have a potential for their creativity to be developed and all of this can serve as motivators and bring satisfaction from the job performed. The rewards should be then based on a both individual productivity and the performance of the group. Alternatively, managers are capable of designing the job for the employees and thus motivate them to work. According to theory of Hackman and Oldham (1980) described by Kreitner & Kinicki, 2001, the job must offer an application of different skills, the tasks must be engaging and important in the process, a substantial level of autonomy should be allowed and the feedback available. This will lead to a greater willingness to accept responsibilities and give a satisfaction from the job and result in a high motivation. Managers have an opportunity to analyse their style of control and behaviour using McGregor s Theory X and Theory Y approach and thus choose the way the work is facilitated at the workplace, either by strict control or collaboration and empowerment.

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Gradual development of the motivation concepts led the managers from the strict rules of the assembly line to the empowerment and allowance of an autonomy and creativity at the workplace, thus enhancing the performance of the organisation as a whole. Limitations However, the following limitations exist that cannot be avoided in the studies of the motivation theories:

? The development of negative behaviour in the organisation hostility, obedience and lack of innovation when every single individual is trying to achieve his own goals collectively to the goals of the organisation. The competition leads to hostility, de-motivated people do not have any potential to progress if they are not satisfied. Punishments as motivation to work leads to obedience and stagnation in the organisation

? It is a time-consuming process to understand what really motivates each individual at the workplace as the theories were initially developed for the assembly lines when motivation factors did not vary. The theories have to be altered and further developed to be applied in the organisations

? Motivation theories seem inapplicable as sometimes it is obvious that nowadays people are driven by tangible rewards, i.e. they are in a pursuit of wealth which makes all the theories irrelevant

Conclusion To conclude, the concept of motivation has a significant value in the sociology and working environment, as they were built, researched and developed since the industrialisation and early studies of individuals conduct. Human behaviour was analysed and recorded, the old theories were changed by new concepts with new variables and applications. Though many of both content and process theories have limitations, they remain as a significant area of study and are applied to the organisational cultures of many companies worldwide, which bring out the values and according to them develop their own styles of management.