Motivation at Microsoft

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Motivation at Microsoft
Introduction:
As shown by their 4th position in the league of the best 50 places to work in the U.K*published in May 2010, Microsoft U.K limited is not only the main market leader in the computer software sector by successfully satisfying consumer’s needs with improved programmes or other products, they are also leaders in making their own people enjoy working for them. Economically speaking, a business has four main resources: Land, capital, entrepreneurship and labour (Marx 1843). It is the effective and efficient management of these four factors of production what enhances a successful business. Labour belongs to that group and clearly therefore, a company should be able to produce the most suitable working environment in order to create a highly-devoted and motivated workforce. Gordon Frazer once expressed, ‘’ Our success is built on hiring and retaining the best talent in the industry. We work hard to create an environment where people can do their best work.’’ Many other businesses also work to fulfil that statement however; they have not achieved the same positive feedback from the workforce as Microsoft has. Hence, the main aim of this essay is to investigate, identify and explain the possible reasons of why employees consider Microsoft a good place to work for, with the application of suitable well-known contact and process theories of Motivation. Application of motivational theories:

Motivation is usually defined as the forces within an individual that affect their will, in terms of persistence and intensity of fulfilling a task (Bratton et al, 2007). During the past few decades theorist have come up with different hypothesis about how employees’ motivation varies depending on factors of different nature. They can be classified in two main types of theories: Content and process theories, where motivation is based on a given set of needs and where the employee’s behaviour follows a path which may lead to motivation, respectively (Bratton et al, 2007). ‘’A great place to work for is one where you can trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with’’ (Levering, 1996). Microsoft Ltd tries day by day to become such a business with the application of certain theories as for instance, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, which is heavily based on the principle that the individual’s needs follow a continuum where hygiene factors, which are generally extrinsic factors affecting the job, have to be met in order to introduce motivators which will effectively, affect the employee’s desire to work.

Figure 1: Diagram representing Herzberg’s two factor theory (softducks.com) Microsoft aims to have a diverse and world-friendly culture (Microsoft.com), which induces a positive attitude towards working for the company. However, employees would not be motivated by this factor, it may just cause a lower workforce turnover as the workforce would feel proud of belonging to something more than just a business (Herzberg 1964); They may have the feeling they belong to a cause too, creating a business identity. A great advantage is that it causes a high demand for a job which allows the recruitment process to narrow down the applicants to highly-skilled and interesting. Furthermore, it may enhance team sprit among the workforce and hence the interpersonal skills, another hygiene factor commonly encouraged at Microsoft by group budgeting (Mc Connell 1996); where each group is allowed to make use of capital to organise events or activities which will encourage team work and social skills. It is important to feel comfortable in an environment, as comfort may well be the reason why the workforce goes to work every morning however, the factors that make them be productive and motivated are of different value to each individual and hence, more difficult to create in a business environment. Microsoft does not only aim to produce a social environment but, also aims to create...
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