The Antecedent Of Employee Motivation Commerce Essay

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Motivation is an important issue for all managers, by motivating employee, it can energize employees to be more hardworking and contribute to attain the goal of company, so, many companies establish the reward system in order to motivate their employees. If enterprises want to be successful, they should understand how to motivate their employee and this is the reason why I want to write the topic about motivation.

Motivation means the process that the efforts of a person are energized, directed, and sustained toward achieving a goal (Robbins & Coulter, 2012). When we can satisfy what employees need, want or goal, they can be motivated. Latham & Ernst (2006) indicate that individual differences among people, such as their need, personality, affect the ways that satisfy them. Therefore, the key message in this paper is that before motivating employee, manager should recognize the individual differences among employees, what their respective needs, goals or personality are, and then design different methods of motivation for different employees. If manager do not do that, they may not motivate their employee or just motivate small number of them. Kovach (1987) suggest that manager should consider various motivational models to realize the different needs of employees, because there is no motivational factor which can apply to all organizations due to individual differences.

In the following paragraphs, there will first discuss the real world problem, and then present Expectancy theory and Maslow hierarchy of needs theory and use these theories and some studies to support my idea.

Real World Problem

Lunenburg (2011) points out that some managers believe that using single reward can energize all employees, but it is incorrect concept that all employees desire the same things. Because each employee has their own needs, their personality also affects what can motivate them, for example, one employee may prefer good wage but the other is interesting work. Therefore, due to ignoring individual differences, they cannot motivate all employees. Besides, Simons and Enz (1995) say that employers tend to assume that they know what their employee want from the job, but this assumption leads them to make mistakes when trying to motivate the employees.

In fact, many surveys show that a lot of employers believe that money can motivate all employees, so their reward system only focuses on money. However, many real cases are that the employees give up the high wage and go to other company to work, the reason is that they can receive more power or freedom in other company. When only adopting the money as the method of motivation, the employees who do not need or prefer money will not be motivate, and the company will waste the resource. Thus, if the managers want to motivate all employees effectively, they need to recognize the individual differences, such as need, goal, characteristic and personality trait of the employees before motivate them.

Expectancy theory

First of all, the expectancy theory will be present and use to analyze why recognizing individual differences is the antecedent of employee motivation. Expectancy theory state that a person would like to act in certain way based on the expectation that the person can achieve the outcome that he wants after the act. There are three variables in this theory, which are expectancy, instrumentality and valence.

Expectancy is the belief that exerting a given amount of effort can result in attaining certain level of performance. Instrumentality is the belief that achieving a particular level of performance is instrumental to attain the desired result. Valence is the value that the individual places on the reward or consequence based on their goals, need.

Lunenburg (2011) indicates that according to expectancy theory, employees can be motivated if they believe that their strong effort will result in good performance and they can obtain the desired rewards due to the good performance, and the rewards can match their needs or goals

In the expectancy theory, we can see that the employee can be motivating, when they expect and believe that they can receive the rewards which they desire and achieve their goal finally, such as promotion in the organization or increasing salary, after exerting strong effort. Therefore, before the managers design the rewards in order to motivate their employees, they should recognize the goals and needs of each employees, because they are different. Financial reward can motivate employee who the goal is earning more money, but can’t motivate the employees that have other goal. One of the assumptions of this theory is that each employee wants different things from the company (Lunenburg, 2011), therefore, recognize individual difference is an important step before employee motivation. Darling, Arm and Gatlin (1997) even suggest let employee develop their own reward programs, because of the individual differences.

Also, different employees have different abilities, in the expectancy theory, the employees need to believe that their effort can lead to good performance, however, if the manager give the same work to all employees, some of them may be unable to handle the work, so they believe that they cannot have good performance in the work, despite trying their best, and they will not be motivated. Therefore, the manager should recognize the ability of each employee firstly, and give the suitable work to them. Therefore, recognizing individual differences is the antecedent of employee motivation.

Maslow hierarchy of needs theory

Maslow theory states that there are hierarchy of five needs which are physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization (Maslow, 1943). Physiological and safety needs belong to lower-level needs; social, esteem, and self-actualization belong to higher-level needs. The sequence of the needs hierarchy also is physiological, safety, love, esteem, and then self-actualization. Each level in the needs hierarchy need to be fulfilled substantially before the next need becomes dominant. For example, when physiological need is satisfied substantially, then the safety need will become dominant and so on. Also, the theory says that when a need is satisfied substantially, a person is no longer motivated to fulfill that need. In this theory, the employees can be motived if their needs are satisfied.

According to Maslow’s theory, manager can satisfy their employees need in order to motivate them, therefore manager should understand what need level that an individual is on in the hierarchy and focus on satisfying needs at that level (Robbins & Coulter, 2012). However, not all employees have the same need, some employees may have safety need, another may have love need. According to result of a study (Goebel & Brown 1981), older employees have greater safety need than the young employees. Therefore, in order to motivate all employees, managers should recognize the need of each employee, unless it is difficult to motivate all employees.

For instance, the need of each employee may be different, having security need, love need and esteem need. If managers do not recognize the need of each employee, they easily miss the need of some employees, this will result in some employees cannot be motivate. Another important thing is that if managers believe that increasing salary can motivate employees, but they do not know that the need of their employee belongs to hierarchy of self-actualization, on the one hand, the employees cannot be motivate, on the other hand, the company waste the money , because the increasing wage have no any advantage for the company. Kovach (1987) suggests that if a manager knows why each employee comes to work, stay with the organization, and then the manager can be able to ensure that all of employees can be motivated. Susan (2012) also suggests that manager should ask each employees what they want from work, by using this information, she think there are inexpensive opportunities that can create a motivational work environment. Therefore, recognizing individual differences should not be ignored before motivating employees.

Personality traits and motivation

In fact, each people have their own personality trait, it is one of the individual differences. Recognizing different personality trait of each employee is what managers need to do before motivating their employees, because it can affect which motivators can motivate the employees. According to five factor model of personality, there are big five personality traits, which are Openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The study (Judge & Ilies, 2002) shows that neuroticism and conscientiousness again the strongest correlations with expectancy motivation, while openness to experience and agreeableness gain weaker correlates of expectancy motivation. This study indicates that personality traits can affect what ways can effectively motivate employees. Therefore, if the managers want to motivate all employees, they need to understand the personality of each employee, the different of their personality firstly and then by analyzing the information, the managers can design different motivators which are suitable for each employee. Because of the extent that individuals differ in values, and personalities, their reactions to the types of reward should also differ (Pappas & Flaherty, 2006).

Also, the manager should recognize the different characteristics of each employee before motivating, such as who are lazy or like to work. There is a study (Churchill, Ford and Walker, 1979) about the salespeople, the study points out that personal characteristics affect the kinds of rewards that salesperson find most motivating, so the reward system of the company should be tailored to fit the needs of the people rather than copy a system used by other enterprises that may hire salesperson with different characteristics. The other study (Pappas & Flaherty, 2006) also indicates that recognize the characteristics of the individual salesperson are important when matching rewards. Not all salespersons are created to be equal. Some salespersons respond to fixed salary plans positively while others can respond to incentive positively. Therefore, recognizing individual differences is so important before motivating employees, because it can help to develop a reward system which is tailored to fit the needs of the employees.

Kim (2006) indicate that the main reason for managers to recognize individual differences before identifying motivational factors is to avoid the preconceived notions of employers that their motivators are the same as that of employees, and this think may lead managers to design such motivators that are only suited for managers. For instance, there is the research that has been mentioned in the paper (Kim,2006) showed that top motivators of employers were good salaries for over forty years, but employees select different factors over time, such as interesting work and full appreciation of work done. Therefore, it is undeniable that recognizing individual differences is the antecedent of employee motivation, the managers can avoid making some possible mistake for the employee motivation.