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Motivation Theory

Updated June 9, 2019

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Motivation Theory essay

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Organisational behaviour is described as A field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behaviour within organisations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organisations effectiveness. (Robbins and Millet and Cacioppe and Waters-Marsh, 1998, p.10).

An important area within organisational behaviour is motivation. Herzberg describes the main problem in business practice is, How do I get an employee to do what I want him to do (1991, p.13) Motivation is a word that is used to describe how eager a person is to complete a task. Motivation is the set of processes that arouse, direct and maintain human behaviour towards attaining a goal (Robbins et al., 1998, p.199). Robbins uses a rounded approach when explaining motivation as the willingness to exert high levels of effort towards organisational goals but conditioned by the efforts ability to satisfy some individual need. (Robbins et al., 1998, p.199).

Inkson and Kolb relate motivation to ability, environmental conditions and performance (1999). Highly motivated people with average abilities may succeed given supportive environments. Conversely, capable people in supportive environments may perform poorly if they lack motivation (Inkson and Kolb, 1999, p.319) Motivation interests me as I enjoy finding out about what factors are required for employees to achieve the desired goals that the business expects of them. Greater knowledge of how people are motivated will also help me personally as it will enable me to understand what drives me to wanting to achieve my goals.

Motivation is complex and there are many theories which explain how motivation can be brought out in people and as a result how employers can get the most out of their employees. Theories of motivation in business have passed through many stages, influencing and being influenced by the prevailing management ideologies and philosophies of each era. (Bowey, 2001) There are many differing views about how employees should be treated and tended too in order for them to achieve the desired goals. Herzberg believes that The only way to motivate the employee is to give him challenging work in which he can assume responsibility (1991, p.13). Other common ideas include incentive plans, job loading, increased hygiene support and making effective use of mentoring, which are also believed by different people to aid in increasing staff motivation.

Inkson and Kolb discuss the issue of expectancy theory, which is how an employee values the outcome of putting in a lot of effort in order to achieve a goal. Motivation declines when there is uncertainty of the lineages between performance and effort (Inkson and Kolb, 1999, p.327) Outcomes can include bonuses and or praise (extrinsic rewards) and feelings of accomplishment (intrinsic rewards). Herzberg doesnt believe in the giving of bonuses in order to increase productivity. Herzberg states that Hunger, a basic biological drive makes it necessary to earn money, and then money becomes a specific drive (Herzberg, 1991, p.16). This means that once employees start being rewarded with money they wont be able to work without it.

Another firm believer of this is Kohn who states, When reward systems fail dont blame the program, look at the promise behind it. (1993, p.54). Kohns article describes incentives, as only bringing temporary compliance and once the rewards run out people will revert back to their old behaviours. Serious issues with incentives also include employees telling their superiors that everything is under control when it isnt, just to save their bonus. Kohn then states that There are very few things that threaten an organisation as much as a hoard of incentive driven individuals trying to curry favour with the incentive dispenser (1993, p.56). As described by Robbins demotivation can also arise from getting given a smaller bonus than was expected.

The employee works hard in hope of getting a promotion but gets a pay increase instead. (1998, p.212). Herzberg discusses job loading as two different types, vertical and horizontal. Horizontal job loading is when employers restructure a persons job but in doing so dont create any change in the employees job satisfaction.

Examples of this include, challenging the employee by increasing the amount of production expected of him, adding another meaningless task to the existing one, rotating the assignments between the workers and removing the most difficult parts of the job in order to free the worker enabling him to achieve more of the easier job. Herzberg describes these as horizontal job loading as they dont result in any higher level of production but they merely move the worker to another stage on the same platform. Areas of Vertical job loading with their corresponding motivators, as suggested by Herzberg are shown in Appendix One. Robbins states that Jobs that are high on motivating potential must be on at least one of the three factors that lead to experienced purpose and they must be high on autonomy and feedback.

These three factors include, skill variety, task identity and task significance. This differs from Herzbergs idea as Herzberg is focused more on giving the workers more responsibility as a main factor in increasing motivation. In Youngs article she describes how Marks and Spencer promote the health of their workforce. Health is the base at the base of all our lives and I have learned to realise that it is a fundamental part of my employment policy. (March 23, 1995) Marks and Spencer spend over NZ$7.5 million on the healthcare of its employees.

This is not through any misguided belief that it is good for us, but a real foundation that our workforce, and therefore the company benefits from it. (Young, 1995). Herzberg however thinks that a companies money is better spent in job enrichment efforts, If only a small percentage of the time and money that is now devoted to hygiene, however, were given to job enrichment efforts, the return in human satisfaction and economic gain would be one of the largest dividends that the industry and society have ever reaped through their efforts at better personnel management. (Herzberg, 1991, p.22). Herzberg doesnt believe that increasing health benefits increases motivation.

The factors involved in producing job satisfaction (and motivation) are separate from the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction (Herzberg, 1991, p.16). This means that when people may be dissatisfied with the hygiene within the business, an increase in hygiene will lower there dissatisfaction but wont increase there satisfaction or their motivation. Appendix two shows a composite of the factors that are involved in causing job satisfaction or job dissatisfaction amongst employees (Herzberg, 1991, p.17) Companies have been using mentoring schemes since the early 1970s. Little states that these schemes were initially geared to easing young graduate entrants into the organisation and helping them develop within the organisation.

(1995, p.51). According to Little in the case of the workplace mentoring can be seen as context-specific. But as the student becomes more self directed in their own learning, they may look for a mentor who encourages them to be independent.. (1995, p.51). Although colleagues often receive no financial or status rewards for doing so in Manchester and Leads in the U.K., it is possible to gain academic credit for the successful completion of a mentor training program. By combining an experienced colleague with a new person to the business it will give them both motivation to succeed.

This is because the colleague is able to gain from a greater reputation in training a new recruit and the student is able to gain from learning and being paid to learn from an expert. Aspects of mentoring can also be reverted back to the section on job loading. Herzberg describes a test that was carried out where The achievers were performing less well before the six month period started and their performance service index continued to decline after the introduction of the motivators, evidently over their uncertainty of their newly granted responsibilities. In the third month however performance level improved and continued to increase. (Appendix Three) (1991, p.20). This means that when new motivational strategies are implicated they need to be given time to sink in as the staff needs to adjust to a new set of standards that they are not accustomed to.

Everyone has motivation; it is a matter of finding the persons switch so that their motivation can be instigated. I dont think that motivation strategies should be changed regularly. As the company experiment in Herzbergs article has shown, at first employees will be nervous as their expected output is unclear but once they have settled into the new requiem their performance levels will start to increase (Appendix Three). I dont believe in offering monetary rewards as bonuses, as monetary rewards only effect peoples work habits for a small amount of time.

These rewards not only cause the business to pay more in time, money and company resources but rewards can also cause employees to focus more on personal gains and less on company goals. One situation that a friend of mine has told of, is when he was working for a computer distributor in England. As a reward they would get a large monthly bonus for making a certain amount of sales each month. At the end of one of the months Paul received a complaint that involved a return. Because Paul didnt want to lose his bonus he refused the return and said that he couldnt help.

This not only lost the company a customer but gave them bad word of mouth and meant that they paid Paul a bonus he didnt deserve. I think that the best way to reward your employees is by providing them with certificates. These certificates should be hard to come by and represent advancement or persistence as it may be. These certificates would be useful as qualifications. I find that a big motivational factor for myself is the worry of not living up to other peoples expectations.

Pressure from peers drives me to seek my goals and reminds me of what I am aiming for so that I do my best. In the business world this can also be put into practice. By interviewing employees the business can determine what each employee wants out of their position. If an employee wants a particular job and they dont have any ambition to move on from that job then there is no point in advancing the difficulty of their tasks as this will only lower their motivation.

If a worker only wanted to use the job as a stepladder however then they should be allocated a mentor who can observe them and motivate them to succeed by ensuring that their goals are not forgotten. I believe in Herzbergs ideas about diminishing dissatisfaction not increasing motivation (Appendix One). This is because, although people may be dissatisfied with the hygiene within the business, an increase in hygiene will lower there dissatisfaction but wont increase there satisfaction or their motivation. Herzberg is a strong disbeliever in KITA having any effect on staff motivation. KITA includes traits such as, reducing time spent at work, spiralling wages, fringe benefits, human relations training, sensitivity training, communications training, increased two way communication, job participation and employee counselling (1991). KITA are personnel practices that were developed as attempts to instil motivation.

However motivation cannot be instilled it has to be brought out. The biggest thing that I have realised is that we cannot accept any simple model to explain human motivation as deriving from generally applicable needs, such as the need for money, or the need for achievement, or for interesting work, or for relationships at work. People have differing needs, both between and within organisations. Bibliography: Bibliography a)Robbins, S.P.

& Millet, B. & Cacioppe, R. & Waters-Marsh, T. (1998). Organisational Behaviour: Leading and Managing in Australia and New Zealand (2nd ed.).

Australia: Pearsons Education (p.199 – 273). b)Bowey, A.M. (2001). Motivation at Work: A key issue in remuneration. c)Inkson, K. & Kolb, D.

(1999). Management: Perspectives for New Zealand. (2nd ed.) New Zealand: Pearsons Education (p.317 335). d)Herzberg, F. (1991).

One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?: Harvard Business Review: business Classics: Fifteen Key Concepts For Managerial Success. (p.13 22) e)Young, S. (1995 March 23). Taking Care of Employees is the Route to Business Health: People Management: The magazine for professionals in personnel, training and development.

(p. 53) f)Little, B. (1995 February 23). Different Approaches to the Role of Work Place Mentoring: People Management: The magazine for professionals in personnel, training and development. (p.

51) g)Kohn, A. (1993 September – October). Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work: Harvard Business Review. (p.54 63) h)Myers, C. & McCutcheon, M.

(1995 April 20). Different Approaches to the Role of Work Place Mentoring: People Management: The magazine for professionals in personnel, training and development. (p. 32 – 34)

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