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Furthering Motivation in the Workforce

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Leadership
Wordcount: 3064 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Table of Contents

1.0    Introduction

2.0    Aim

3.0    Research Questions

3.1   Hertzberg two Factors

3.2   Adams Equity theory

3.3   Abraham Maslow (The hierarchy of needs)

3.4   David McClelland (Needs Theory)

3.5   Fredrick Taylor (scientific managing)

4.0   Discussion

5.0   Conclusion

6.0   References

1.0 Introduction

The term motivation originally stems from the Latin word "movere" which means to move. (EM, 2018) Your motivation level is what drives you to partake in an activity and it affects your desire to continue the activity. Motivation has been described as the psychological procedure that offers behaviour a purpose or direction (Stephen R. Covey’s, 2012); a tendency to perform in a purposive manner to attain specific needs (Buford, Bedeian, & Lindner, 1995);

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An individual’s performance at work can be affected by a number of factors (Character, manner, beliefs, motivation, and their mentality) Motivation is critical to employee productivity, quality of workmanship and speed of work.  If every individual was working to their full potential then organisational goals would be achieved sooner; however in the current world that we live in this is often not the case. Organisations initially focus on other objectives and lag behind which results in demotivated staff. An understanding of the basic human nature is imperative towards achieving effective employee motivation in the workplace and also for implementing effective management and leadership.

Leaders have a responsibility to monitor and motivate their workforce. Without a motivated working environment, organisations could struggle to meet their objectives. Successful Leadership is measured on their ability to be proficient towards motivating their employees. It is no secret that organisations find it extremely difficult to motivate their staff particularly when in unchanged working environments. It is imperative for leaders to comprehend the work effort motivation cycle which will enable them to prevent other organisations from tempting key workers away to more appealing and rewarding roles else were.

2.0 Aim

Motivation can be delineated in several ways. For this paper, motivation is operationally described as the forces within an individual that affect the direction, intensity, and perseverance of voluntary behaviour. Motivated employees are disposed to apply a particular level of effort (intensity) for a certain duration of time (perseverance) toward a particular objective. Mo, motivation within the workplace is one of the most imperative aspects of a corporation. The following report explains the motivation and examines needs and drives which is the initial point of motivation. It will also explore five major approaches that have led to our comprehension of motivation and those are; Maslow’s need – hierarchy theory, Herzberg’s two factor theory, Fredrick Taylor, Adam’s equity theory and David McClelland's needs. This paper also outlines the function of motivation and how important it is for an organisation to have a motivated work force. Furthermore, this study addresses a number of motivating factors responsible for employee motivation. What is the role of motivation? And why it is so significant for managers to be conscious of the various motivational theories and the way that these motivational theories could be implemented in a professional context to accomplish an organisation’s goals and objectives.

 3.0 Research Questions

3.1 Hertzberg two Factors

Frederick Irving Herzberg was born in Lynn, Massachusetts United States on April 18, 1923, until January 19, 2000. (Business and management, 2018) He was an American psychologist who applied his trade at Utah University. He became one of the most influential names in the business. (Business balls, 2018) His views regarding mental health' stemmed from his concept that 'mental health is the core issue of our times.'(Herzberg, 2000) He is recognised for his hygiene-motivation theory, which was publicised in the motivation to work in 1959. Herzberg mainly focused on the individual in the workplace but become popular with managers as he also highlighted the importance of management comprehension and expertise. (Hammond, 2010) His 'hygiene-motivation' or 'two-factor' theory stemmed from a study which involved over two hundred Pittsburgh engineers and accountants. Herzberg’s main aim was to separate employee's attitudes from their jobs, to determine what encouraged these attitudes, and the impact that they had on the individual and their motivation to work. (Mind tools, 2018)

 'Mental health is the core issue of our times.' (Herzberg, 2000)

This graph diagram provides evidence of the total percentages of factors ascending in Herzberg’s 1959 study of high and low attitude events between 200 accountants and engineers.

Figure 1 (Hammond, 2010) Herzberg’s two-Factor Principles, 1959

The main purpose of this diagram is to demonstrate how Herzberg's research indicated that specific factors actually motivate and that others tend to indicate dissatisfaction.

3.2 Adams Equity theory

Behavioural psychologist John Stacy Adams was born in Brussels in 1925. It was in 1963 that Adams presented his Equity Theory of employee motivation to the world, mainly addressing humanity’s tendency to compare itself with its peers. Adams Equity Theory was based on two main principles

  1. There needs to be a balance between our work inputs (effort) and outputs (reward).
  2. Workers need to feel fairly treated in comparison with their colleagues.

Adam’s Equity theory recognises that subtle and fluctuating factors influence an employee’s assessment and knowledge of their relationship between their work and their employer. In other words, Mr. Adam’s equity theory suggests that employees strive for equity amongst themselves and other workers. Equity is reached when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equivalent to other employee outcomes over inputs.

Figure 2 Evidence of Adams Equity Theory, 1963

3.3 Abraham Maslow (The hierarchy of needs)

Abraham Maslow was born in Brooklyn, the United States of America from 1908 until 1970. He was a psychologist who examined the lives and activities of people that were viewed as “successful and productive”. His two most notable contributions to psychology were his contributions to humanistic psychology and his development of the hierarchy of needs. (Joaquin, 2017)

The hierarchy of needs was based on Maslow’s belief that:

“The fundamental desires of human beings are similar despite the multitude of conscious desires” (Zalenski & Raspa, 2006).


This theory clarifies that we are motivated to gratify five basic needs. These needs are arranged in a hierarchy. We satisfy the lower needs initially. And as each need is accomplished we look to satisfy the next level need until all five needs are met. (

Figure 3 Evidence of Abraham Maslow’s (The hierarchy of needs)

3.4 David McClelland (Needs Theory)

David Clarence McClelland was an American psychologist born on May 1917. Who is recognised for his work motivation Need Theory which states that human behaviour is affected by three needs – Need for Power, Achievement and Affiliation. McClelland believed that most individuals possessed a combination of these characteristics. With some people exhibiting a robust bias to a particular motivational need, and this 'mix' of motivational needs consequently affecting their behaviour and working/management style.

Figure 4 Evidence of David McClelland Needs Theory

McClelland believed that certain people who have high achievement needs are more motivated by contending and challenging work. They seek promotional job opportunities and have a strong urge for feedback on their achievement. And that these individuals try to gain satisfaction by better performing. Greater attainment is linked to high performance. Individuals who are above average performers are generally highly motivated and they take liability for solving complex issues within the workplace. McClelland also believed that achievement-motivated individuals are commonly the ones who make things happen and achieve greater results because they set out to achieve their goals before the many varied interests and needs of people.


3.5 Fredrick Taylor (scientific managing) 

Born in Philadelphia, the United States in 1856 an American mechanical engineer by the name of Frederick Taylor published his concepts about scientific management in 1911, to urge industrial organisations to proceed to mass production. As one of the initial founders of the scientific management movement named Taylorism or Taylor’s Principal, Taylor aimed to utilise workers as efficiently as possible because people were viewed as an extension of the machinery. He would observe and study human labour and analyse the activities of workers on the work floor. This would then result in time and methodology studies, the start of Taylorism.

“A healthy management is based on the scientific management approach to work in which objective standards are set by means of time, method, motion and fatigue studies.” (Fredrick Taylor)

Figure 5 Evidence of Fredrick Taylor Scientific Managing, 1911

4.0 Discussion

Motivation theories deliver a vision into what motivates an employee to perform better. It assists managers by providing them with a tool to activate employees and helps them in understanding how the work force can be administered better.

There is a variety of motivational theories discussed in this essay which are all deemed as an important management skill, For example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory could be utilised by management to produce training programs that benefit the needs of their employees. A comprehension of Herzberg’s Dual Structure Theory could help managers to eradicate the issues that cause dissatisfaction in order to enhance motivation within the workplace, and then increase opportunities for employee attainment. Equally, an understanding of McClelland’s achievement needs highlights that workers who are over achievers are more motivated by contending and challenging work. The Equity Theory, on the other hand, can assist managers to avert problems occurring from inequity by ensuring that rewards are equitably distributed.

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It is imperative for managers’ to have a comprehensive understanding of the motivation theories, However; there is no clear or simple answer regarding how to motivate people, a comprehension of the motivation theories enables management to enhance not only the individual but also the organisational performance. The primary objective of organisations’ is to survive, sustain and grow which can be achieved when the employees and staff are contended.

Throughout the years there have been several studies that explored the development of management skills. A study was undertaken by Kini and Hobson back in 2002 which assessed the association between motivational theories and successful total quality initiatives. The researchers examined the effectiveness of the most distinguished motivational theories and found that they were ineffective in endorsing “organisational commitment to employee morale, training and performance recognition.” however, the results of the study suggested that “a combination of major elements in goal setting and expectancy theories were most likely to produce success in the implementation of total quality initiatives.”

5.0 Conclusion

Why is it so important for an organisation to have a motivated work force? There are numerous reasons associated with this question but the main answer would have to be survival. Every individual each has their own reasons for working. Some choose to work for their own personal accomplishment while others work as they are passionate of what they do. Therefore, the motives for working are as individual as the person.  We all work because we gain something valuable from work, which impacts morale, employee motivation, and standard of life.

It is imperative that managers comprehend what motivates employees within the framework of the duties they perform because motivated employees are important in our ever changing working environments. A Motivated work force will benefit organisations by enabling them to survive, sustain and grow be constructive and more competitive. Keeping an employee working to his/her full potential is the principle goal of employee motivation and therefore the fundamental objective of organisations. Employees are the greatest asset and no matter how efficient a technology or the equipment of organisations may be, it is no match for the effectiveness and efficiency of their employees.

6.0 References


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