Motivation can be defined as ‘the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal’ (Robbins, 2001). There has been a huge amount of research into motivation at work, including work done by famous theorists such as Maslow and McGregor. This essay however, is going to compare and contrast Herzberg’s two factor theory and Vroom’s Expectancy theory. Since research into motivation started it has been increasingly used by managers in the work place, so this essay also will go on to examine possible ways that these theories might be implemented by in the workplace.
Before looking at the differences between the two theories it is important to look at them briefly, individually. Herzberg’s Theory suggests that there are two factors that affect human behaviour and motivation at work; these are called hygiene and motivating factors (Buchanan). Hygiene factors are those that de-motivate staff if they are not in place, whereas motivators are those that are used to motivate staff. The five main attributes that Herzberg suggested were motivators are, ‘recognition, achievement, responsibility, advancement and the nature of work itself’ (Mumford). Hygiene factors include, supervision, salary, the work environment, company policies and relationships with colleagues (Fincham and Rhodes).
Vroom’s theory suggests that there is a link between ‘effort and reward’ (Fincham and Rhodes 208). His theory is based on ‘an employee’s perception of their job, ‘underlined against valence, instrumentality and expectancy’ (pg 208 Fincham and Rhodes). In other words, ‘Does my effort lead to performance and how probable is it that ‘valued rewards’ will result from this performance?’ (Fincham and Rhodes).
Fincham and Rhodes suggest that there are two types of theories concerning motivation of employees. There are content theories, which assume that people have the same needs and process theories, which suggest people are motivated by different things. Herzberg’s two factor theory is a content theory, while Vroom’s expectancy theory is a process theory. This is the source of many of differences between two theories. These differences, as well as others, will be looked at throughout this essay.
First of all, the similarities between the two theories concerning will be examined. The first similarity is that both of these theories suggest that motivators have to be in place for employees to be motivated. Similarly, both theories also agree on many of the factors that motivate staff, such as recognition put in any other examples here too as you have said they agree on many factors (Fincham and Rhodes). There are some further similarities when considering de-motivation. Both Vroom and Herzberg agree that there are factors, separate from those that cause motivation, which cause people to be de-motivated, although they are not the same. Herzberg uses hygiene factors to describe what de-motivates people at work. However, Vroom suggests that factors that cause de-motivation are outcomes that people want to avoid like stress (Vroom). Similarly, both agree that there is a point where there is no motivation and no de-motivation. In two factor theory this represents a point where there are no motivators in place, but hygiene factors have been fulfilled, while in expectancy theory this is where the reward offered is not valued by an employee. These are however, very basic similarities. The two theories tend to contrast in more ways than they are similar.
The first difference, which is important to understand, is that the two theories are based on different premise. Two factor theory is based on humanistic values. Herzberg viewed factors that motivated people as a ‘human urge to realize our own potential through continuous psychological growth’ (Fincham and Rhodes pg 199), while he viewed hygiene factors as a need to avoid pain based on ‘the primary drives we have as animals’ (Fincham and Rhodes pg199). However, expectancy theory is based on a cognitive thought process (Torrington and Hall). Vroom’s theory tries to explain why ‘individuals are motivated to perform at different levels’ (Buchanan). This causes a number of further differences between the two theories.
The underlying difference in the source of motivation results in a major contrast between these theories. Whilst Herzberg suggests that the motivators simply have to be in place to cause motivation (Torrington and Hall), because he views them as a way of fulfilling psychological growth, Vroom suggests that motivation is caused more by a person’s perception of the work and its possible rewards than the actual motivators (Sonnetag). This becomes clearer when looking more closely at the two theories theory. Two factor theory uses motivators as examples of what motivates employees. ‘Herzberg does not describe specific means in jobs that lead to satisfaction, but refers to processes’ (Torrington and Hall pg 425). On the other hand, Vroom states that three factors clearly influence how motivated an employee is. The first of these is, whether a person believes that his effort will lead to performance. An employee who believes that he will perform well will be more motivated to complete a task (Fincham and Rhodes). The second factor is instrumentality. This is where an employee determines how likely it is that performance is going to lead to the completion of a personal goal (Torrington and Hall). The third factor is where an employee puts a value on the reward at hand. These factors then determine how hard a person decides to work (Vroom). If they do not perceive the reward as equal to the effort required then they will be less motivated to work hard. It is clear that while Herzberg believed that when motivators are ‘manipulated in the design of jobs, then this will result in feeling of satisfaction for those doing the job’ (Torrington and Hall), expectancy theory is based on the perceptions of the employee, rather than the motivators put in place by management.
Herzberg’s two factor theory does not take into account individual differences (Torrington and Hall). Vroom however, makes it clear that individual differences can affect how motivated people will be to work. An example of this is when looking at the value of motivators. Herzberg suggests that motivators have the same value to all people. However, in expectancy theory the value of the motivators varies from person to person, while promotion might be sought by some, it is not by others. Promotion is only going to act as a motivator to those who want to be promoted. Vroom suggests that performance is also influenced by individual differences and is affected by a person’s view on the resources available, individual skill level and how much help they expect from supervisors (Vroom). For example, if a person believes he has the skills to complete a task competently, he will be motivated because he will believe that he will perform well (Torrington and Hall).These are concepts that Herzberg overlooks, because he assumes that by putting motivators in place people will be motivated. It is clear that, while Vroom believes that individual differences have an effect on motivation; Herzberg assumes that everyone is motivated in the same way.
The main difference, when considering the idea of de-motivation, is that Herzberg believed factors that motivate people are separate from those that de-motivate. This is the idea that motivators can only motivate, and lack of them cannot cause de-motivation, while hygiene factors can only cause de-motivation (Fincham and Rhodes). This is because Herzberg views motivators and hygiene factors as coming from separate origins. Vroom’s theory, because it is based on a thought process, contrasts with Herzberg’s opinion and suggests that not having motivators in the work place can cause de-motivation. Vroom makes it clear that de-motivation can be caused in jobs if employees do not believe that by putting in extra effort they will reach targets (Torrington and Hall). An example of this would be, if an employee expects a machine he is using to break down and feels that this will probably prevent him reaching his target, the employee is likely to be de-motivated and probably won’t aim to reach his target (Torrington and Hall). It is clear that Herzberg does not believe that a lack of motivators will cause de-motivation, while Vroom suggests that this is the primary cause of staff being de-motivated.
There are a number of other differences concerning de-motivation. The first of these is that Herzberg suggests that wages are a hygiene factor, so increasing wages cannot increase motivation. On the other hand, in expectancy theory money is one of the main motivating factors. Another difference is that while Herzberg suggests a wide range of hygiene factors that cause motivation in the work place, Vroom neglects to mention many factors that are not performance related that could cause de-motivation, such as relationships with other staff or working conditions.
After comparing these two theories, it is important to look at how managers can use them in the work place. When addressing Herzberg’s two factor theory, a manger can implement it by dealing with hygiene factors and motivators separately. When managers attempt to improve hygiene factors, it is important to look at relationships between employees and supervisors, and wages, because these have been suggested as influential hygiene factors (Herzberg). Training programmes can be used to improve the relationship between supervisors and other employees. In more monotonous jobs where motivators are hard to implement, the relationship between staff and supervisors has been seen as key in increasing morale. Pay is a factor that managers have to ensure is satisfactory, because it is regularly mentioned on morale surveys as what people most dislike about their jobs, which means that managers have to ensure wages are at a sufficient rate (Herzberg). To avoid dissatisfaction it is important to make sure that hygiene factors are satisfactory. The improvement of hygiene factors will not motivate staff, so it is also important to address motivators in the work place (Buchanan). Herzberg suggested a number of ways that jobs could be redesigned to include motivators. Managers can do this by giving staff tasks where they can be independent and have responsibility of their actions. Managers can implement motivators by ‘giving workers knowledge of, and responsibilities for, operations and improvements’ (Herzberg pg 117). More simple methods, like simply giving recognition to those who perform well, or setting challenging tasks so that a person can feel a sense of achievement can also be put in place (Buchanan). By re-designing jobs so that people are challenged, or giving recognition, motivation of employees is likely to improve. There are some jobs where it is hard to implement motivators, so it is important to improve both hygiene and motivators in the work place.
There are a number of ways that expectancy theory can be implemented in the work place. The first thing a manger can do is to designate jobs to those with the skills to complete them. When a person believes that they are competent at a job they will be more motivated to complete it (Vroom). Another method of ensuring that employees are motivated is by making sure that the rewards put in place are of value to employees. If an employee values recognition then it is important that this is put in place when an employee completes a task. ‘Employees have to perceive a link between effort and performance’ (Fincham and Rhodes pg210), this can be achieved by offer training for staff, which provides them with better skills, providing guidance and feedback, and giving staff support (Fincham and Rhodes). Expectancy theory has been used by managers in the past by implementing performance related reward schemes. The most common of these is performance related pay (Torrington and Hall), where employees receive higher pay for reaching targets. These can be very effective in motivating employees as long as targets are realistic and the reward in place is valued by staff. Overall there are a number of ways that employers can affect employees motivation using Vroom’s theory from making sure employees feel that they can perform to ensuring rewards reflect the wants of staff.
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