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1.0 Introduction

The employees within an organization are a key resource. They account for a significant role in achieving the objectives of the organization. The performance and achievement of employees, to a large extent, has a significant impact on the growth and efficiency within an organization. In order to ensure the employees to work consistently with the accomplishment of organizational goals, motivation then is the key in influencing the behavior and morale of employees.

Given the importance of employees’ motivation has increased considerably; this article aims to explore the motivation theories that have been proposed over the years. Specifically, two motivation theories are analyzed based on their validity. These two motivation theories are Equity Theory and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory. In addition, five motivation strategies that are successful in motivating employees are also studied, in order to verify the importance of employees’ motivation within an organization.

The next section offers the explanation of how employee motivation affects the accomplishment of an organization and the role of motivation in retaining critical employees. The subsequent sections respectively, describe the methodology and motivation theories. In addition to exploring the motivation theories, the validity of motivation theories is also studied. The final segment of the paper provides the strategies that are effectively motivating employees, followed by a conclusion.

2.0 Role of Motivation

The term motivation is derived from a Latin word, movere, meaning to move (Kretiner, 1998; cited by Ramlall, 2004). According to Certo and Certo (2006, p.382), motivation is defined as “the inner state that causes an individual to behave in a way that ensures the accomplishment of some goal”. In today’s highly competitive business environment, motivating employees is considered as an important aspect of improving the efficiency of organizations. This is justified by a survey named SITE Foundation’s 2002 Motivation for Excellence Survey, which was conducted by SITE Foundation. According to this survey, “more than 80 percent of the surveyed 2,000 workers saying that their quality of work is significantly enhanced when motivation is high” (Benitez and Casison, 2003). Besides that, organizations with motivated workforce also tend to achieve increasing organizational performance, such as generating higher profits. As stated by McMaster (2002), Taco Bell Corporation, a Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain based in Irvine, California, achieves double the sales in its stores, owing to its inspired workforce.

Apart from the abovementioned functions, motivation also serves as a tool of organizations in retaining their human capital, in order to accomplish higher organizational growth. In accordance to Fitz-enz (1997; cited in Ramlall, 2004), he stated that “the average company loses approximately $1 million with every 10 managerial and professional employees leaving the organization”. Since critical employees are more willing to exert high level of effort towards organizational goals when their individual needs are being satisfied, many organizations are likely to motivate their workforce by fulfilling the latter’s needs, anticipating that these employees would continue to perform their employment in the organizations. This idea is strongly supported by the study conducted by Collins and Allen (2006). According to Collins and Allen (2006), adequate motivation practices have negative relationship with employee turnover rate, in which indicates that there is lower percentage of employees leaving the organization when motivation strategies are implemented to inspire organization members.

The previous studies reviewed above, therefore, lead to a conclusion that employees’ motivation plays a major role in reaching organizational objectives. The following section discusses the methodology in examining the...
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