Equity Theory of Motivation

Topics: Output, Input, Measurement Pages: 7 (2485 words) Published: April 6, 2014
Equity Theory of Motivation
As the cliche goes, no man is an island. Everything man does is influenced by other men and his environment. Be it in school or at work, the reason why people persevere lies on the desire to achieve a certain goal. Hence, motivation is essential to keep the drive of doing things passionately and effectively. However, the enthusiasm to sustain the dream and keep the motivation alive can be tampered by life’s uncertainties. Given the unique characteristics that each student possess, the amount of effort exerted by an average student does not always equal the amount of effort exerted by an outlier in class, yet the results are the same or sometimes exceeded by the outlier. Perhaps there are instances when studying overnight and not studying at all yielded the same result. These situations affect the level of motivation a student harness when studying. The feeling of unfairness affects how he/she will prepare for the next exam. In the workplace setting, motivation is likewise an important factor to increase productivity. For example, an employee who worked overtime to get the job well done vis-a-vis an employee who slacked off and produced a mediocre output both received the same salary and the same praises from their boss. The hardworking employee might feel wronged upon seeing how his extra effort was overlooked. To give justice to the unfairness he feels, he opts to mimic the other employee, thus also producing a mediocre output. The equity theory of motivation, developed by workplace and behavioral psychologist John Stacey Adams in 1963, is grounded on the concept that employees tend to seek equity or balance in the amount of input they give to their job or relationship with their bosses, and the output they receive. The inputs referred in this theory include college degree, hard work, effort, committment, ability, adaptability, determination, flexibility, skill, loyalty, tolerance, enthusiasm, trust in superiors, support from colleages, personal sacrifice and the like. On the other hand, outputs come in the form of financial benefits like salary, bonuses, and perks, and also intangible benefits such as recognition from superiors, praises, responsibility, job security, good reputation, sense of achievement, personal growth and the like. When an employee's inputs outweigh his or her outputs, he or she becomes demotivated and unhappy. To achieve equity, the behavioral response is to balance out the input-output equation by asking for an increase in the output side, or simply diminishing his or her input. The state of equity lie on the perception of an employee in relation to another employee's input and output ratio, which shows that employee motivation is subjective nature. However, an employer or manager's role of keeping employees motivated should not be deterred by this notion. Instead, understanding the sources of employee dissatisfaction and demotivation can help managers address the issues surrounding the workplace to allow for a more productive and work-conducive environment. (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_96.htm)    

The equity theory is more commonly known as the social comparison theory or the inequity theory since an employee compares his input-output ratio with another employee's input-output ratio to determine equity, and an employee who feels inequity or unfairness reduces this through his behavior and attitude towards work. The “exchange relationship” between work and compensation in comparison with a colleage draws forth discernment of what is fair and unfair. To grasp the intuition behind the theory, four objects must be present which include the person, whose aim is to reduce whatever inequity feeling he or she has; the comparison to other, which pertains to the benchmark person from whom equity and inequity is determined; the inputs and the outputs. According to the theory, a person first compares inputs and outputs with a comparison other, then determines...
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