Evaluating Motivation Theories in Today’s World By Richie Crawford
The scope of the modern century has caused a rift in the way business is conducted. This isn’t to say that this rift cannot generate new, worthwhile ideas, but that it’s centered around a particular concept: rapidity. The fastest way for a message to reach another person is through an electronic circumstance, such as email, text, and so on. As businesses begin to include these services into their daily routine, expediting the way they do business and the way in which they need to conduct themselves, change occurs. These organizational changes, however, still must find precedent in how to motivate their workers and their efficiency through longstanding theories. This paper evaluates a number of theories that are still relatable to today’s world in order to better inform the question around how organization’s must manage and motivate their workers in a twenty-first century concern.
Evaluating Motivation Theories in Today’s World
In his 1984 publication, Organization Behaviour, Mrityunjoy Banerjee posits, “ . . . what specific things motivate people?" (72). In a world that is newly cemented into a technological evolution, the "game" of work has changed. It has become a less tangible process. When one used to wake and head to the office, their responsibilities often involved sitting at a desk, no computer, or, if there was a computer, it wasn't a conduit into the world of the Internet. Nowadays, most work is conducted almost exclusively in a digital form making computers the lifeblood of most operations. In fact, some people are even able to conduct their line of work from satellite places, such as the comforts of home, or a local coffee shop. The course of output has been altered, and the idea of, and demand for, a global market has widened, creating strikingly panoramic views of business and commerce. And, this is all thanks to only the last twenty years of online activity. However, one aspect of a workplace that hasn't needed to adapt to this trend in globalization and outsourcing, is the manner in which organizations motivate their workers and themselves. While so much of our day-to-day work life has been made over, there is still this concept of identifying "what specific things motivate people." What this tells us then, is that motivation doesn't truly live in a place one can grip. Instead, motivation has and always will exist in a place of theoretical space that informs the mindsets of a mass number of people. The discrepancies lie in which theory of motivation we elect to use in order to generate the
result we wish. Therein, these "specific things" are actually representations of persuasions and influences (Deci 1952). For example, say a brokerage firm offers a contest where the broker with the most weekly investments in a particular stock is rewarded with an iPad as a bonus. The object, while seems like a gleaming prize, results in a group of people chasing after a carrot on the end of a stick. Of course, only one broker can receive the carrot, but the brokerage firm in turn receives a carrot-worthy effort from all its workers, including the vast majority who had only reached the stick. This example is a platform for evaluating motivation theories and their relationship to the management of others. Abraham Maslow, in 1943, published a paper titled "A Theory of Human Motivation." It is probably the most often referred to discussion of workplace motivation, illuminating his concept of what he called "the hierarchy of needs." A concept he introduces in his paper with the blunt warning that, "The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand or fall . . . by the questions raised in this paper," (1943). Yet, before entering into a description of this hierarchy, it is important to examine an excerpt from the summary of his paper in order to understand how his diagram...
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